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(Un)Monuments of the Everyday. Marking the Journey from Home to Work through the Experience of Venitian Weaving Factory’s Workers

conference contribution
posted on 2023-09-01, 15:23 authored by Elena Cologni
How does an investigation of women’s attachment to workplaces uncover instances of care, and indeed uncare, within power relations and place? Can we consider interventions in public space as forms of (un)monuments celebrating hidden or invisible experiences of place in the everyday? Taking inspiration from an image of the public space in Venice in the Barbara Hepworth Archive, in the ongoing project ‘The Body of/at Work’ (premiered at the Italian Pavilion, 17a Mostra di Architettura, la Biennale di Venezia, 2021) these questions were investigated through the dialogic ‘caring-with’ (Cologni, 2020) methodology, including conversations and situated interventions in the form of ‘experiential exercises’ with the use of dialogic sculptures. The attachment to place (Seamon, 1979) is central to the development of one’s own identity, and it develops in relation to others. In this context, the routes that one regularly takes in the city, the city ballets (Seamon, 1979), are one of the contributing factors (Cologni 2016/20) in this process. “People encounter the world as they move and rest, dwell and journey” (Seamon, 1979, 139), and this is bound up in social memory, and embodied knowledge (Degnen 2015). The project developed stages in relation to specific contexts. It started in dialogue with the workers from the Venetian Bevilacqua weaving company. They discussed how they relate to places in the city on their daily routes to, and back from, work, as well as within the place of work. The archive research in the Venice City Council libraries revealed areas in the city where places of women paid and unpaid labour (Federici 1973) once stood, most of these were and still are public spaces, where these jobs used to be undertaken. These uncover a dynamic of ever-shifting threshold (Vanore, 2021) in the caring/uncaring power dynamics in private and public space. The performative ‘experiential exercises’, carried out in pairs, mark these locations as (un)monuments to the everyday


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Representing Pasts – Visioning Futures

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Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

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