Data, Heresy, and Censorship
Artist Talk with Elisa Giardina Papa (UC Berkeley/Tufts University)
//November 4th, 2022
//4:00-5:30 PM EST
About the event: In this talk, Elisa Giardina Papa will present her ongoing artistic investigation into hidden datasets and forgotten archives. She will discuss the aesthetic and political implications of recovering censored and forbidden histories via data and archival documents while screening fragments of three different time-based works: Archive Fever (2011-), a real-time web browser performance which explores data confession and intimacy; When the Towel Drops (2015), a 35 mm film installation that confronts the censored representation of female and queer bodies/desires by retrieving and revealing hundreds of film scenes removed from publicly screened cinema in Italy; and lastly, “U Scantu”: A Disorderly Tale (2022), a video and ceramic installation currently on view at the 59th Venice Biennale, which rescues the myth of the "donne di fora" from the archive of the trials for heresy perpetrated by the Spanish Inquisition in Sicily during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Elisa Giardina Papa’s work investigates gender, sexuality, and labor in relation to neoliberal capitalism and the borders of the Global South. Her most recent body of work documents how past and present forms of capitalism have progressively extracted all capacities for labor and living—including sleep, affect, and emotions—and instead draws attention to everything in our lives, embodiments, and desires that remains radically unruly, untranslatable, and un-computable.
Her work has been exhibited and screened at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (The Milk of Dreams), The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA’s Modern Mondays), the Whitney Museum (Sunrise/Sunset Commission), Seoul Mediacity Biennale 2018, XVI Quadriennale di Roma, Rhizome (Download Commission), Flaherty NYC, UnionDocs, and ICA Milano, among others. She has given lectures at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women (Brown University), the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies (McGill University), the Global Emergent Media Lab (Concordia University), and the Center for Digital Cultures (Leuphana University of Lüneburg), among others.
Giardina Papa received an MFA from RISD, and she is currently pursuing a PhD in film and media studies at the University of California Berkeley. She lives and works in New York and Sant’Ignazio, Sicily.
Giardina Papa is also a founding member of the artist collective Radha May. Together with Ugandan artist Bathsheba Okwenje and Indian artist Nupur Mathur, they develop performances and art installations that reveal forgotten archives, hidden histories, and peripheral sites, exploring their relation to gender, sexuality, and colonialism.