Artist Chiara Bersani and curator and producer Giulia Traversi reflect on the theory and practice of care.
Chiara and Giulia have been working and travelling together for almost ten years. During that period of making and presenting art, care work – compensating for and supporting each other – has become a major part of what they do. It has shaped how they do what they do, as well as how they think about it.
As a disabled woman born and raised in Italy, Chiara describes the informal networks of care that have been with her throughout her childhood and adult life. Both the help she has needed, as well as the assistance she has given. She also describes the dismay, sorrow and anger at discovering that after many years of “looking for informal care networks” in order to work, “other people in other parts of Europe had welfare and were doing the same things [she] was doing, but with a paid person to accompany them”.
Discourses around care – the championing of alliances and kinships, as well as strategies of collective support and mutual aid – have been given significant theoretical depth by intersectional feminist and more-than-human thinkers such as Donna Haraway, María Puig de la Bellacasa and Joan Tronto, for example. More-than-human discourses emphasise notions of interdependency and the mutuality of care, and they also challenge imperialist, patriarchal and capitalist framings of care. Chiara and Giulia ask, however, when the theory turns into practice, does it really work? Where does care end and where does care begin? What happens when that caring relationship is monetised?
Drawing upon and responding to more-than-human and intersectional feminist accounts of care, and exploring the formal and informal economies and spontaneous networks of such work, Chiara and Giulia will open up a discussion on the many questions their joint care work has raised.
Chiara Bersani is an Italian performer and author active in the field of performing arts, research theatre and contemporary dance. As an interpreter and as a director/choreographer, she moves through different languages and visions. Her works, presented in international circuits, are born as creations in dialogue with spaces of different nature and are mainly aimed at a ‘neighbor’ to the scene.
While still at university, Giulia Traversi specialised in theatre criticism by working as an editor for the Italian Atti and Sipari magazine. In 2014, they were an organiser and promoter at the NID Italian dance platform and from 2015 to 2017, they worked at the promotion and communication office of the Teatro Nazionale della Toscana. In 2017, they directed their first festival at the Teatro di Via Verdi in Vicopisano and they also created the Festival La torre Starta, a queer festival in Pisa. They now work as a manager and curator of the performer and choreographer Chiara Bersani.
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