Anna: Describe Nuove Frontiere del Benessere dell’Ecosistema Vaginale.
Raimondo: It is a mapping of significant places for cis, trans, queer, intersex women in their cities in different countries (Rome, Valparaiso, S. Cruz de Tenerife, Marrakech, Brussels, etc.). It resorts to an oral approach to explore our spatial and symbolic positions through these questions: how does public space remind us of our gender positions?
What are the strategies for emancipating us from it? Which are the most significant places in the city and why? The project was born in 2017 from the assumption that geography is male chauvinistic and has generated cities that don’t welcome different subjectivities other than the master subject (the white man, heterosexual and bourgeois) in the same way.
Therefore, if in traditional geography the perspective and the epistemological separation between subject and object, implied by the gaze, represented an aspect of the problem in urban analysis, I rather proposed to rethink public spaces through what I define listening to gender, as an embodied and situated means to collect stories and reflections to redefine cities.
A.: How do you formalize this research?
R.: I create a sound composition based on the interviews and the soundscapes of the evoked places that converge into a collection of vinyl LPs, accompanied by silkscreen printed maps created with the graphic designer Marzia Dalfini. I associate a site-specific formalization for each stage.
In Rome, where the project was born in 2017 and curated by Lucrezia Cippitelli at Ex Elettrofonica, I had proposed a multichannel sound installation. Interacting with the soft shapes of the gallery, the audience was immersed in a beam of pink light, evoking the entrance into a uterine dimension.
A.: And the title?
R.: My brother sent me a photo of him while he was attending a gynecological conference with this title. Reading it, I thought about the frontiers of our bodies in the public space, about the notion of well-being which should be a right of citizenship. And about the vaginal ecosystem that I associate with a coexistence of feminisms, of biological and symbolic vaginas. As ATN founder Loredana Rossi says, pointing to her brain: “My vagina is here!”.
Anna and Raimondo: Our father and our brothers are gynecologists. We are intersectional, decolonial and transfeminist artists and feminists.
(Born in Italy in 1981. She lives in Brussels.)
The work by Anna Raimondo activates meeting and exchange devices along a journey into social diversity, to create possible areas of interaction.
The artist uses voice and listening as platforms for collaboration and as means of identity diffraction. The method of investigation is flexible and varied and turns art into a place for the exchange of human material that is formalized in actions, performances, photographs, sound and video installations. The work also has a playful and ironic aspect, both in the actions in the urban space and in the plastic creations.
Nuove Frontiere del Benessere dell’Ecosistema Vaginale is the audio work presented at Galleria Nazionale in Rome, a collage of live recorded female voices that make up a sexed fresco on the experience of being a woman in a contemporary urban space.
“Walking in heels on Rome cobblestones makes you feel perpetually on the verge of falling, you feel you cannot dominate the territory, you can’t be sure.”
“Whenever I park the car at night, before opening the safety locks and getting out, I look closely at the rearview mirrors to check that everything is safe around me.”
“As I walk down the street, I keep my fists closed, in the pockets of my jacket, and I’m always ready to dart away, in case some strange situation suddenly appears.”
“But you are a feminist. Say that!”
“Good girls, if you wear your skirts too short, then you know that you risk.”
These are all fragments of conversations that have accompanied the life of a woman since childhood and which we recognize immediately. They could be our own experiences. They could all have been experienced by the same person at different times in her life.
It doesn’t change much: we’ve all heard sentences or found ourselves in similar situations, regardless of our sexual orientation.
We all walk cautiously at night returning home, we have feared for our safety, we have felt uncomfortable or guilty, we have put on the mask of the tough or quickened our step in a moment of tension.
The urban and human space that surrounds us is not indifferent to the genre we wear.
The voices of this heterogeneous group of women accompany the people enjoying this work on a virtual walk through a series of places in the capital, making them understand the relationship between their experience as women and the city in which they live.
Listening to their voices, we relive, recognize and feel part of a shared and unanimous experience, which is the experience of women in a system of spaces and human relationships regulated on the sexualization of the female body.
Roma by Anna RaimondoLa Galleria Nazionale
Anna Raimondo and Paola Ugolini
M. Le Doeuff in G. Rose (ed.), Feminism and Geography. The Limits of Geographical Knowledge (New York: Polity Press, 1993), p. 4.
D. Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs and Women (New York: Routledge, 1991).
ATN, Acronym for Associazione Trans Napoli.