A Hat and a Bicycle

Welfare Capitalism and the Female Working Body

ph:  Omaggio al Cappello 1857-1957

Fellowship at Het Nieuwe Instituut - Rotterdam, 2018

Dutch Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale - Venice 2018
A Hat and a Bicycle starts from the story of Borsalino, Italy’s oldest hat maker. The company was known for hiring a largely female workforce in a time whe this was a rarity. The workers, known as borsaline, were made to feel grateful for the mere fact of having a job, and were discouraged from unionizing. They could emancipate themselves from patriarchal family structures – only to enter the equally patriarchal system of the factory.

The project draws from feminist critique and performance studies to research the movement and physicality of female workers; it also locates the work of the important modern architect Ignazio Gardella – usually judged on its formal qualities alone – in the context of gendered industrial production. 

Based on an index of gestures and actions assembled from archival research and interviews, A Hat and a Bicycle is a performance that uses the body as a dispositif to produce images of history, exposing its relation within architectural space mediated by gender and power.

ph:  Elisa Giuliano

A performance by: Elisa Giuliano
Choreography: Elisa Giuliano and Gabriele Valerio
Performers: Elisa Giuliano and Gabriele Valerio
Costume designer: Chiara C. Siravo
Vocal coach: Francesco Caldarola

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