Living (in) the Archives of Radical Feminism

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B-side / Back Office Feminism / Transcription Marathon

supported by Pro Helvetia

embroidered breath of a bordered garden, One gee in fog, Geneva, 2018
République Géniale, Kunst Museum, Bern, 2018
With a Installation by Laure Marville, Sonnenstube & Morel, Lugano, 2019
Camping Sauvage, Auto & Frauenpavillon, St.Gallen, 2020
3. FATart Fair, Women* in arts, Neue Hallen für Kunst von Frauen*, Schaffhausen, 2020,
Archiv für Frauen, St. Gallen, 2021, Summerschool, Topic, Geneva 2021

Text Erzsi Kukorelly

These archives consist of a series of tapes recorded between 1971 and 1972 by small groups of Italian radical feminists, while exercising together the practice of autocoscienza (similar to consciousness-raising). This will be the first time anyone listens to these tapes outside the self-contained cluster of Rivolta Femminile, and—as they happened to be recorded in non-mixed collective frameworks at the time—it is crucial to us that this operation occurs today in women-only collective environments.
In light of these considerations, a number of women have been invited to join the working group and participate in the marathon. The transcription team will be composed of women from different backgrounds: students, activists, separatists, scholars, artists, curators, teachers, as well as women working in non-executive administrative positions. The encounter of this heterogeneous ensemble generates a transversal and intersectional feminist working team, which embraces a roaming approach by intervening, in turn, within a series of institutional and para-institutional contexts.
At the core of this project lies the implementation of two distinct positions. The first—which we call back-office, or b-side feminism—strives to make visible a form of labor that often goes unseen and that is traditionally done by women, be it in commercial, corporate or cultural domains. By exposing the work of transcription in a public setting, we aim at re-valuing labor that is frequently dis- or under-valued.
The second position is that of participatory science, a practice that is gaining recognition in the hard sciences, but hasn’t had much exposure in the humanities and artistic research so far. The collaborative approach comes in the procedure of transcription as a disruptive element, as archive material is usually transcribed by one or a handful of people working in isolation. By bringing this process into the exhibition space and turning this latter into a space of production, we aim not only to make invisible work visible, but also to re-energise the process of knowledge production and transmission, powered by the joint action of a feminine collective subject.
We call it a marathon because in this collaborative transcription process, time and endurance will be of the essence.

B-side / Back Office Feminism / Transcription Marathon / 1st LEG

embroidered breath of a bordered garden, curated by Camilla Paolino

Version 24 Hours Loop, 11h – 11h, 18 – 19.10
One gee in fog, Geneva, 2018

An exhibition by Sarah Margnetti & Nastasia Meyrat, with a text by Ghalas Charara and a selection of publications by éditions Métagraphes, hosting the first leg of the research project b-side feminism. a transcription marathon, conceived by Angela Marzullo, with an intervention by the podcast Crépidules and Carolina Topini, and a set of micro-conferences by Irene Zampieron, Marta Revuelta and Alessandra Cencin.


Transcription work performed by

Alessandra Cencin, Angela Marzullo, Giada Olivotto, Camilla Paolino, Alice Riva, Carolina Topini

Micro-conference, Irene Zampieron, with Maglia e Uncinetto: Enchaining and the power of language

Luisa Muraro’s Maglia e uncinetto (Milan, Feltrinelli, 1981) is a linguistic and activist text that explores and suggests practices of liberation based on the subversive potential of language. Irene Zampieron will approach the key concepts of metaphor and metonymy, at the basis of the generative axes of language according to the linguist ROMAN Jakobson’s theory, which Muraro takes up to develop HER own theoretical and feminist proposal. This presentation will attempt to grasp the emancipatory meaning of a linguistic practice that privileges metonymy over metaphor, subjectivity over absolutes, the sail over the boat, in order to propose a critique of the symbolic power of patriarchy through the structures of language. The presentation will conclude with a participatory workshop that Irene Zampieron calls a « metonymy exercise », which consists in the creation of imaginaries from the sensation women have of their own bodies.

Micro-conference, Alessandra Cencin, with Knowledge about the clitoris: a collective expert production (1970-1981)

Thanks to an American self-help manual, New View of a Woman’s Body (Federation of Feminist Women’s Health Centers, 1981), Alessandra Cencin proposes to discover a stage of knowledge production on the clitoris situated in the feminist mobilizations of the 1970s. Challenging dominant medical knowledge, a group of American activists worked for ten years to produce a chapter of their teaching manual on this female organ. Between anatomy, physiology, representations of women and their sexuality, the approach of these feminists gives us the opportunity to engage with the meaning and relevance of developing another way to “do science.”

Micro-conference, Marta Revuelta, with Female typography, a presentation of the B-side project

The very first woman to add her name as a printer to the colophon or to complete the printing of a book was Anna Rügerin, with a work published in 1484 in the imperial city of Augsburg, in the south of Germany. Even today, typography remains a particularly male-dominated field despite the strong presence of women in the field of type design. This significant imbalance is reflected in the minority representation of women at type design conferences. In an attempt to bridge the gender gap and trigger a modification in the representation of women in the industry, several research networks and platforms have emerged in recent years, such as Alphabettes or Typequality, which bring together the many qualified female type designers and their creations. With the Beside* project, we stand in solidarity with these initiatives by including the work of all women in contemporary typography. This idea initially emerged during the Affidamento / Rivolta Femminile seminar in November 2017 led by Angela Marzullo within the work.master at HEAD-Geneva. The choice of typeface for the book How to Take Care of Radical Feminism (Geneva, HEAD-Geneva, 2018) published following the seminar, was the Picara typeface by the Geneva typographer Sandra Carrera. From then on, a positioning, an identity, as well as a graphic system were adopted, in order to use only fonts designed by women to support their work and give them visibility.
* The B-side project is conceived by Revuelta and Angela Marzullo as a showcase for the work and research on lettering, typography and type design done exclusively by women typographers.

Micro-conference, Radio Crépidules & Carolina Topini, with a discussion about Lina Mangiacapre (1946-2002)

The independent Geneva radio station Crépidules will take part in the Mettere al Mondo il Mondo exhibition project by broadcasting a podcast based on an interview with the Italian philosopher Carolina Topini, a doctoral student at the Institute of Gender Studies of the University of Geneva. The interview will take the form of a discussion about Lina Mangiacapre (1946-2002), a radical figure of Neapolitan feminism, and author of a vast artistic production as a painter, writer, playwright, film director and promoter of a women’s film festival. In homage to Nemesis, a goddess of Greek mythology symbolising anger and vengeance, she founded the feminist group Le Nemesiache in 1970, with which she carried out provocative and performative actions.



République Géniale, curated by Camilla Paolino

Version the office hours, 10h to 12h and from 13:30h to 17h, 30.10 – 4.11
Kunst Museum, Bern, 2018

In continuity with the setup tested during the first leg of the marathon, the work of transcription will be interrupted only at given moments, when it will be punctuated by a set of micro-conferences and performances.

Transcription work performed by

Perla Ciommi, Angela Marzullo, Lucie Marzullo, Stella Marzullo, Noemi Pfister, Rosangela Gramoni Giada Olivotto, Camilla Paolino, Alice Riva, Giulia Ficco, Maya Cantori, Erzsi, Angela Kuratli, Vanessa Lecci

Performance by Angela Marzullo, Makita’s affidamento show

This performance has been conceived by Angela Marzullo on the basis of a text written over one year, during the so-called “affidamento period”. It is a text in the form of a feminist diary of 50 pages, which focuses on the meetings and encounters made around Rivolta femminile’s unpublished audio archives at the moment when they were entrusted to the artist. The text reflects upon the concepts of mother tongue and translation, and addresses the difficulties encountered by the artist in adapting to a new sexist linguistic structure (French), without mastering the tools that would allow her to denounce her unease.

Micro-conference by Dóra Kapusta, surtitles: a distinct aesthetic element in theater?

For several years, the term “post-dramatic theater” has been making the rounds. New aesthetic forms have transformed the stage into a space that requires different forms of mediation. At the same time, the conditions of theater productions have changed generating new jobs in the international theater scene. In her diploma thesis in 2006, Dora Kapusta analyzed the role of surtitles in theater and examined the various possibilities of staging them as a distinct theatrical element. As a professional translator she sets about dissecting the history of language transmission in theater, film and opera. By analyzing some exemplary theater productions from the last years, supplemented with interviews with directors such as Jérôme Deschamps, Matthias Hartmann or Niklaus Helbling, dramaturges and translators, she presents a detailed and wide-ranging view into the current use of surtitles in theater and the possibilities of staging them in a dramaturgical or aesthetic way. At the same time, the «surtitler» has taken on a pivotal role in today’s multilingual theater world as she/he mediates between director, dramaturge and set designer.

Performance by Alizé Rose-May Monod, We take up space

The Manifeste de Lignes Entrecroisées (A. Monod, 2017, Editions Clinamen, Genève) is an artistic-political manifesto, which was translated into Arabic and English. It is variously explored, in posters, in the video WE TAKE UP SPACE (2017, 28 min, loop) and in a reading-performance.

Micro-conference by Erzsi Kukorelly Leverington, Writing like women talking: transcription without breakage

Erzsi Kukorelly’s presentation looks at the challenges and specificities of texts generated at the cusp of orality and literacy as artistic/literary and political praxis. How can oral texts be transcribed and translated without violating their essence of hesitation, repetition, interruption, muffledness, polyphony?

Micro-conference by Anna Marcus, Thoughts on in_and exclusion?

This is an extract from MANYFLUIDS, a manifesto by Anna Marcus and Alizé Rose-May Monod. Questions and reflections about in- and exclusion, and how to create safer spaces. Anna Marcus, has been part of the Frauen*raum Bern for almost 10 years. Her activist and artistic work is about bodies, desires, processes, spaces, collectives and exchanges, from an intersectional queer feminist perspective. One of her ongoing projects is INCLUSION, an art piece for more inclusive non-binary bathrooms in art and culture institutions, in collaboration with Alizé Rose-May Monod.



With an Installation by Laure Marville, curated by Giada Olivotto

Version 24 Hours Loop, 11h to 11h, 22 – 23 .03
Sonnenstube & Morel, Lugano, 2019

The fourth ‘marathon’ at̀ the Sonnenstube and the Morel, which will take place in March 2019 in a “24-hour loop” format. It was part of an exhibition project, conceived in collaboration with the Sonnenstube curatorial team, and with an installation by Laure Marville. The focus of this version was the experience of the separatist feminist dormitory.

Transcription work performed by

Laura Solari, Margherita Albisetti, Giulia Gonzato, Lucie Marzullo, Angela Marzullo, Stella Marzullo, Noemi Pfister, Camilla Paolino, Leni Kall



Camping Sauvage, curated by Angela Kuratli & Anna Beck-Wörner

Version 12-hour working shifts, 10h to 22h, 19 – 22. 8
Auto & Frauenpavillon, St.Gallen, 2020

We use museums and art spaces (in this issue the Auto and the Women’s Pavilion) to exercise the transmission and development of feminist empowerment practices: self-education, self-construction, self-defence, self-financing, self-production, self-naming. We live there, we cook, we wash, we work, we dance, we sleep. We think, we talk, we establish thought processes for our activism and artistic practice. We appropriate these spaces and create an expanded, living, participatory archive. We take up works and practices that have been frozen by their institutionalisation and sacralisation. In doing so, we challenge the separation of art and life and enter a field of multiplicity and subversion.
For the days at Auto and the Women’s Pavilion, we dedicated ourselves to the cassette archive of the Rivolta Femminile movement (1970, Rome) and transcribed texts of this movement and embroidered excerpts of these texts.
In addition to these two activities, the focus was on the exchange and discussion of contemporary feminist artistic positions. It was be five days of writing, embroidering, laughing, exchanging, discussing and chatting – and new connections and networks will emerge. All interested women were invited: artists, academics, carers, public intellectuals, sex workers, students, workers of all kinds, women’s collectives and women on their personal political emancipation journey.
Everyone was welcome to participate according to their own strengths, abilities and capacities during these days. In addition, we were very happy to invite other women for these days! On Saturday, the Women’s Pavilion opened its doors to all interested parties.

Transcription work performed by

Angela Marzullo, Larissa Foletta, Angela Kuratli, Marina Widmer, Gessica Zinni

Embroidery work performed by

Caroline Palla, Lucia Moure, Efa Mühethaler, Anna Beck-Wörner, Paula Fricke, Lika Nüssli, Angelika Nüssli, Birgit Widmer, Nora Rekade, Patricia Holder, Vanja Bösch, Claudia Wälchli, Carmen Pfister

Micro-conference by Larissa Foletta, 13.12.19, Le visioni di santa lucia

The title of the exhibition is a coincidence: the opening date coincides with the feast of Saint Lucy, a Syracuse Saint relevant in the Christian tradition. A martyr, Saint Lucy is often depicted with a saucer containing her eyes, frequently also with a palm tree; her image is striking. The particular story of this saint introduces us to both present and future situations connected with the experience of the artists presented in the exhibition. The common thread that binds the five artists on display– Katia Bassanini, Fiorenza Bassetti, Angela Marzullo, KimBo, Carlotta Storelli–is their belonging, some more directly than others, to the Italian-speaking world in Switzerland and to themes raised in the works that deal with and explore the role and condition of women and the relationship between genders.



3. FATart Fair, Women* in arts, curated by Pauline Della Bianca

Version 8-hours opening times for shops,14h to 22h, 11. – 13.09.
Neue Hallen für Kunst von Frauen*, Schaffhausen, 2020

Transcription work performed by

Carlotta Storelli, Noemi Pfister, Angela Marzullo

Micro-conference by Noemi Pfister, Self–portrait

Here Noemi asks us the question of the status of women’s self-portraiture in painting and sculpture. Noemi offers us a morphing version of her self-portrait: between her own face and the face of the sea cow, to which she feels a real link.
The self-portrait is fixed between two transparent plexiglass sheets, borrowing in aesthetics from the work of Carla Arccardi.



Version 8-hours opening times for shops,14h to 22h, 1. – 31.07.
Topic, Geneva 2021

During the summerschool, we worked as a small group of women, to find a form that echoed the participatory practices of the b-side feminism project. Documentation was based upon photographs from the different transcription marathons. We worked with tracing paper and a light table, thus learning a new technique that enabled us all to discover our own aesthetics drawing strokes in the series of drawings, enabling the most varied expressions possible.

Drawing work performed by

Susana Lauer Betrân, Pauline Mach, Stella Marzullo, Lucie Luce Marzullo, Angela Marzullo