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Marta Cavicchioni, a Roman artist and activist and a childfree woman herself, recounts her personal and professional journey based on the responsibility to trigger and take care, through her art, of questions, possibilities, and new paths to conceive – socially and politically – as a community.

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Ecco la trascrizione completa del video:

MARTA: «I’m Marta Cavicchioni, I was invited to exhibit my works in this virtual space opened by Lunàdigas.
So, I structured this exhibition which you will see on display in the virtual space.
What can I say about me and my work? And what connected to lunàdigas?
So, I call myself an activist, I am an activist crossing the spaces, actually,
without ever stopping.
I arrived by bicycle, maybe that’s the movement, that distinguishes me as an activist.
A few years ago, let’s say, I chose at some point my path, as a woman, not to have children.
It was actually a choice which belongs also to my past. Since I was a child, I couldn’t much understand this need of having your own biological children. And there we plunge in the social concept which belongs to me, on which I also structure my art. Which is not even mine, it’s something different. I think it’s an act of love and affection towards other people. So, it has actually a lot to do with the metaphor of motherhood, but as affection given to something or someone without getting something in return.
Anyway, socially, in my opinion, we don’t have affective structures now, here, in this context, that could at least understand me.
My idea of growth, of a person, because I can’t even divide people by age groups.
And young people too, in my opinion they are people that have their own subjectivity, who should be socialized within a broader context.
Over time, I am giving shape to a kind of different tribe, not linked to genetics and this contributes to the choice not to have children.
I don’t need to have a child that carries my genetic traits, I don’t need to reproduce that. What I need and that I feel, probably, is to build communities.
That’s my way to be in the world, to try and leave that kind of mark.
Not for myself, I don’t care, I may not live to see it, but so as not to let others live through that pain.
I felt a lot of pain in having to rethink the affections, because it’s not easy.
The quality and quantity of affections surrounding us it’s not easy at all. Independent from the concept of family, which is a social structure created to structure society. It’s not something innate in us. Affective roles are something internalised because you are born with them, it’s imposed on you in some way. It’s the only way, you trust them, as you trust other people because you think they’re giving you the best they have. So, you create anyway a whole series of imagery that when you clash with it because you don’t feel this love, I think there is there so much pain to deal with, searching for other things in the world.
And art has served me for this, it was my salvation.
I started imagining something else, compared to what I was going through. And I feel this is kind of my inclination. I think all people should be able to have,
that is, the possibility of imagining something different from what they experience in the environment where they are born.
You are not necessarily lucky enough to be born surrounded by love, or in a context that critically gives you the ability to understand what’s there, what you hear.
In my opinion this is a work that for example now, politically, I’m also a political activist, I think we need to change also politically how we approach action. And we need structures that include us, that can comprehend all the people that question these dynamics.
Then I never know if I’m clear, because there are things that I can’t understand, how they work. And from there I questioned myself, and that helped me. Why do I suffer within these… within these structures, this way of doing things? That helped me a lot. And that moves even all my research, but not just my research.

I’m not just a childfree woman, I am a woman who chooses to ride a bicycle because it is the vehicle I feel closest, in a society and in a city as hostile as Rome.
Therefore, somehow we’ll pay for these choices. Somehow, lunàdigas also gives a… It offers us a window, let’s say, for our own personal experience affected
when you make a choice which does not reflect the social norms, right?
There’s always something attacking you, because you can’t and you must not question them. It’s not attacking you personally, but what you stand for.
And that’s exactly why for me images are very powerful, it’s what you represent when you clash with something.
When even just with your body you stand for something different, this sometimes triggers violence, being women. That thing about having an uterus, of having to procreate, having to act in a certain way, not being able to show anger when we’re angry. I mean, all of this is much more complex.
I mean… It’s not just about one choice, I believe it’s a greater complexity that opens up a different perspective, which is exactly what you do with art.
So, we have this creativity.
Not just us women, also people who don’t have a uterus, or people who don’t want to use it, or people who can’t use it to procreate.
For me, it’s crucial that we feel this thing.

I have many sisters, maybe of whom I don’t know personally. In the sense that… Every time I read a text, every time I follow a path, even of people who are not very close to my environment, to my territory, or that I will never meet in person. Also because I am shy and I can’t even introduce myself, in these situations. I am a shy artist who then does wild things, out of the blue, like all shy people.
So, there are the sisters, many people I learn from, I am inspired by, taking on their paths.
There’s Marcella Corsi who’s an economist, the first woman to enter the board of international economists. She sheds light for me on something unknown to me,
the economic part, but also the paths of struggles that I didn’t experience myself. So, on self-awareness, how was it done. She tells me a lot, she’s somehow a strong sister.
Then there others as well. There’s my Argentine sister, Romina Tassinari, who is another lunàdiga artist. We’ve met talking about the subject of witches and therefore understand why they were burned, why we like to reclaim fire, and if we like it as artists to work on the fire that burned us, and how many steps we need to take to take it back, without denying, let’s say, who used it on our bodies. We reflect a lot upon these things.
I’m talking about people who are still alive and people I have relationships with. But there’s also bell hooks, whom I came across through the paths of activism.
There are so many female writers and also male writers I’ve met, so I don’t know, I mean. There are so many…. I think there are many affectionate connections. Every time I find out something brought by another person for me that’s an act of affection. That’s how I see it.

What will we leave, and to whom and in what way can we leave what we’ve done or what we care the most about? For example, Bruno, to whom will I leave it if something happens to me, right?
And in what form, how to build this thing when you don’t have people directly connected, recognised by the social structure to whom you will entrust these things. But sometimes also for a matter of affection, you’re happy that a son or daughter will have things you care about.
That’s a good question, I often… Surely, we have to build something, going back to the idea of small tribes. I think I would like that all the things I produced could create a chance for other people. So I don’t know, rather than keeping them, I would say sell all my works hoping they will be bought at a high price to give the opportunity to another person to do a path of activism that supports other women, other marginalised people.
Someone who would dare to question even more in depth, pushing even further to try to get deep inside of us, and to be able to express for who we are.
Something that theoretically should be very simple, but that instead it is very complex. It would be even outside a whole series of structures, because anyway… However, let’s say on this we still have such thick layers that we have to work a lot on it. That’s one thing. I would like to leave opportunities, and I don’t know to whom. Maybe I don’t need know to whom, directly, but I’d like to leave some opportunities.
I don’t make art for myself, on the contrary, every time I set out to make art I need a moment in which I cleanse myself of my tensions. Totally, I don’t want to put them there. I mean, those are mine. I want to keep instead all the insights I have, even living in tensions. And that stuff is something that I can share, because they are perspectives and we can come together. It’s kind of like… I discover something I didn’t know and no one had given it to me. And I would like, with as much I can do with my work, I’d like to give it to other people as well, saying there is this possibility.

For example, regarding what I was saying before, about young people, so the kids, we have never ever really considered how much, what we call education,
is sometimes a form of violence and an imposition. This was also written by bell hooks. I mean, we’re not… We are now asking for a sentimental education, but who are we asking it to? To a structure, a school which anyway no longer has funds, so the people who work there find it hard to carry out projects outside school hours, outside their institutional role.
But the structure itself does not understand that we need to listen to, actually, more than educating.
As for myself, not being a woman with children, I love young people, because they still have that ability to play which I need. When I can play, in any situation. Whenever I can, apart from having this political approach, also very serious, also very oppositional, but as soon as I can I feel the need to play.
I’d like to go to the playground, to play with the other children.
Even if they’re not mine, without being looked down on for it.
I was a babysitter for a period of my life. That was a channel where I could fit in, because socially I could go and play with the kids as I was looking at them. I was actually playing with them. I’ve been babysitting some kids as a young woman who taught me so many things. Really a lot. Because we must listen to them, there’s a whole range of emotions, emotionality is already there.
We are born with this ability to create relationships, affection, all that part is there, we have to listen to it. Maybe we have to help it come out, if anything with words and increase them asking ourselves too, first of all, what they mean.

Regarding my work, at some point I had the chance to be able to make a choice.
It was after the age of 35, between 35 and 38 years old I had the opportunity to choose and trying to make art, as before I wasn’t in the position to. So…
at one point I made something, this work allowed me to say “OK, I can do this.”
“This is the right time.” I can stop doing other things and try to do this kind of work which clearly it’s a passion of mine that has always been with me.
However, doing it at a work level, even just the fact of dedicating the whole day to it, means being able to trigger research processes completely different than doing it occasionally.
What I’m seeing so much, for a person like me, who doesn’t easily conform, who often says no. Like children in life, let’s say, someone who often says no. It is very difficult, because being recognised… from the outside, it often means having fame, this being in the spotlight. I don’t care bout that, for example. I’m not interested in fame. I would be interested in doing a territorial social work, I don’t think you need great people. It’s always that thing about being a leader, you know? You don’t need great people to tell us how to think.
What we need is to do this path together, otherwise there will always be some people behind and someone guiding you, expecting someone to do it for us.
There’s always this thing about delegating, as with school, with education. Instead,I think little by little we need to reclaim a number of things.
At work level, I struggle a lot, because dealing with regular people and not people with huge incomes, my work follows this flow. I’d use an income meter.
Not asking, “How much can you spend?” It is a very difficult thing, because there are many people who are actually not poor, but they perceive themselves as such. On the other hand, there are many who are on the brink of poverty but who still wish to think that an image inside their house could give them a new perspective they can enjoy.
So, there’s this situation. Then, the situation with the administrative structures, the State itself, that for cultural calls for bids they now request bank guarantees. As if those making art and culture, after presenting a whole structured project, they will just leave.
There is no room for the caring. If you win a call for bid, it happened to me,
if you win a call and someone gets sick, someone who was part of that project, you don’t have time to wait for that person to get better. Or there’s a great demand for free culture. And as I believe that people involved in activism
should have an income, and that we should create a different economic structure,
the same goes for culture, otherwise only the culture of those who can emerge and work will come out.
We will never listen to the margins and it was great for me to listen to people more marginalised than myself, because they gave me the chance to address other layers that I hadn’t considered.
And in my opinion, this is a loss for all.

We are here at Lucha y Siesta, in the courtyard, here behind my back you can see the secular shrines that we have made during a course which took place during Bande de femmes, a Festival of feminist illustration, organised by Tuba, the women’s bookshop. So, works made by many different people who participated in this course.
Why are we here? Because this place is under attack, it is the women’s house, and more. It is the home of a whole territory which welcomes people who are on a path to come out from violent situations, but where activities and cultural events are organised both for the local population and for people coming from outside. So, the space belongs to all. A space that has always been welcoming and open to be crossed, and that we now see at risk.
The people who until now cared for this space free of charge and in a totally loving way should return it to make it available for a bid. Going back to the situation around the calls in place, with these bids we are losing a series of very profound paths which are already on the way that we can’t afford.
Especially now, where we’re seeing violence increasing because we are questioning the structure of patriarchy. So, there’s a series of even stronger reactions with regard to our speaking out.
Now more than ever, we can’t afford it and this is an open space.»

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