Feature

11 August 2021

Women Twenty-First Century 

W21 is a participatory curatorial platform which probes 'what it means to be a woman in the 21st century?' Our project aims to subvert patriarchal archival structures and construct a living archive of the ways in which we represent processes of making art in relation to one's identity as a 21st century woman.

 

 

We use data feminist strategies to map feminist ideas in relationship to artistic, scientific, technological, and cultural practice. To do so, we circulate an annual questionnaire. The gathered responses of women-identifying practitioners and their stories of making are housed in an immersive transmedia archive. The interviews we conduct cross disciplinary borders, and those we interview are actively shaping their fields. Voices included in our archive include Tess Hatch (Venture capitalist, FORBES 30 under 30), Kay Watson (Head, Arts Technologies, Serpentine Galleries), MOTIFInstitute for Digital Culture (Forbes 30 under 30), Marianna Simnett (Berlin-based multidisciplinary artist working with film, installation, drawing, and sculpture), and Lito Kattou (Athens-based artist who works across sculpture and digital mediums and questions the posthuman), among others.

The stories gathered from our interviews become ‘active data’ that we then analyze to find shared thinking patterns, themes, and practices. These data points are drawn together to build out a navigable visual matrix that provides a visual cartography of interests as well as an interactive virtual space where one can trace connections between people and ideas across spheres of science, technology, and art. The posed questions, generated data, and shared narratives exist as archival material that is continuously activated through W21’s collaborative endeavors in transmedia storytelling.

 

In our soft launch period, W21 presented at several university research conferences, such as NECS (European Network for Cinema and Media Studies) at University of Palermo in June 2021, and AMPS (Architecture, Media, Politics, and Society) at University of Kent in June 2020. In the seven months since our official launch in January 2021, we have been selected to present at global art and technology initiatives such as ST+ARTS in Motion, an incubator program for innovative and socially impactful initiatives by the European Commission, launched under the Horizon 2020. In partnering with Agora Digital Art, a certified social enterprise empowering women and non-binary artists in new media arts, we hosted a series of online panel events centered on themes of feminism and disembodiment. In September 2021, we will also be a part of this year's edition of Ars Electronica, themed "A New Digital Deal." For the occasion, W21 will be one of the leading workshops where we will probe how archives can be deconstructed. We also plan to launch a podcast in Fall 2021 to bring our interviews with path-breaking practitioners to a more public forum.

 

Our collective has also grown since its inception. In order to keep up with the growth and demands of this project, our initial core team of three has now expanded to include three new collaborators in editor roles. As a collective of six, culturally diverse women with our own wide-ranging experiences with feminism, we aim to create an equilibrium of power in socio-cultural discourse through the platform W21 provides.

The minds behind W21

A compelling project co-founded by Courtauld alumna Valeria Facchin with Indrani Saha (MIT) and Delanie Linden (MIT), and with the collaboration of Maja Kolarz (Jagiellonian), Deepika Srivastava (RCA, V&A) and Courtauld student Margherita Dosi Delfini.