“Every Thursday” is a contemporary archeology project that aims to document female materiality in daily life during the quarantine period imposed by the Italian government as a containment measure from the Covid-19 epidemic.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, a series of events have profoundly changed the lives of all people residing in Italy and abroad. The emergency has entered our homes, causing an important impact on our habits and on the organization of everyday life. Physical and social distancing measures have led to the resemantization of the borders of the domestic space, with an emphasis on the materiality of the barriers represented by the house walls themselves. In this scenario, the bodies’ freedom of action is limited and the daily routine finds new forms of expression, new paths and new subjects.
The project is based on the participant observation of a women focus group, heterogeneous by age, profession, and geographical distribution (in the various Italian regions). Data collection was started on March 12th, 2020, the beginning of the lockdown, to end on June 25th, 2020, after the lifting of many restrictive measures. The project brought together female voices by building a collective story of everyday life at the time of the pandemic. The participants contributed by filling out a weekly form in which they tell their activities, the materials and the emotions that dominate and mark their lockdowns, during a period of 16 weeks.
The information collected is being processed through a semantic annotation system that allows it to be interrogated, analyzed and displayed. The mapping of the human-non-human relationships within a new concept of border, forcibly relegated to the domestic space, brings out interesting information: on the value and role of objects and their agency; on the correlation and interconnection between object, physical and emotional sphere; on the many facets of materiality, their perception and the perception of gender.
“Every Thursday” is an archaeological project that provides many causes for theoretical and methodological reflection, posing new challenges on the reading and documentation of contemporary objects as a complex and fluid material trace of this time span. It is also an experiment of a collective narration that goes beyond the time-space boundaries of the lockdown experience, where everyday objects are able to tell stories about self-care, work, time spent with loved ones and personal memories.
What we are doing…
We collected a lot of data during the project, much more than we expected. Therefore, we are still working on their analysis and interpretation. We had to build dedicated thesauri to standardize the terms used by women to describe their activities and objects that characterized the daily and emotional materiality of those weeks. Some students from the Department of Civilization and Forms of Knowledge participated in this work carried out part of their internship in “Every Thursday”.
Other students were involved from the class “Video Editing” held by Lorenzo Garzella for the three-year degree course in Disciplines of Entertainment and Communication of the Department of Civilization and Forms of Knowledge of UNIPI. Under their teacher and Nicola Trabucco guide, they created three short videos using parts of the video interviews, realized online and without professional tools by the project curators, in July 2020. We decided to focus the videos on three main themes: (i) the idea of physical and emotional “Borders” during the lockdown period 2020; (ii) the management of the domestic “Space” in that period; (iii) the role of the “Objects” as the core of biographical materiality with meanings, values and memories, and how a lens to the archaeological reading of the lockdown 2020 experience. At the moment the videos are available only in Italian.