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💥 Silvia Federici & Wages for Houswork in Riet Wijnen's Sixteen Conversations on Abstraction: (table / table) 💥
💥 Silvia Federici & Wages for Houswork in Riet Wijnen's Sixteen Conversations on Abstraction: (table / table) 💥
💥 Silvia Federici & Wages for Houswork in Riet Wijnen's Sixteen Conversations on Abstraction: (table / table) 💥
💥 Silvia Federici & Wages for Houswork in Riet Wijnen's Sixteen Conversations on Abstraction: (table / table) 💥
💥 Silvia Federici & Wages for Houswork in Riet Wijnen's Sixteen Conversations on Abstraction: (table / table) 💥

💥 Silvia Federici & Wages for Houswork in Riet Wijnen's Sixteen Conversations on Abstraction: (table / table) 💥

Silvia Federici is one of the characters in Riet Wijnen’s fictional conversation Conversation Four: First Person Moving, in which she takes the role of mouthpiece for the Wages for Housework Campaign. A particular strand of the feminist movement, the New York committee was part of a wider international campaign throughout the 1970s and had significant impact on feminist politics in the US and abroad. The Wages for Housework campaigns raised consciousness about the importance of housework—generally unrecognized and invisible labour—in capitalist society.

Silvia Federici is one of the characters in Riet Wijnen’s fictional conversation Conversation Four: First Person Moving, in which she takes the role of mouthpiece for the Wages for Housework Campaign. A particular strand of the feminist movement, the New York committee was part of a wider international campaign throughout the 1970s and had significant impact on feminist politics in the US and abroad. The Wages for Housework campaigns raised consciousness about the importance of housework—generally unrecognized and invisible labour—in capitalist society.

In the exhibition Sixteen Conversations on Abstraction (table / table) which opened last Saturday, 12 February, in Milan, Riet Wijnen hosts the archival material collected through the New York Wages for Housework committee by Silvia Federici and donated to MayDay Rooms in London. The solo-show presents Wijnen’s work from the cycle Sixteen Conversations on Abstraction in which she explores the narrative potential of the notion abstraction through language, historical constructs and perception in the form of table sculptures, wood prints, photograms, text and type-design.
A new work was added to the cycle Sixteen Conversations on Abstraction in the form of a bespoke drawer and table piece, to house the archive box with documents, pamphlets, fliers, zines and reports from the 1970s, generously on loan from MayDay Rooms, London and available to the visitors for the duration of the exhibition in Italy, until 19 March.

The archive of Silvia Federici, hosted within the cycle of work by Riet Wijnen, is the outcome of the collective effort to place the “housework question” on the agenda, making it visible in the streets and in the media. It is a collection of material that was produced and distributed, of new concepts and ideas that were formulated and brought into circulation, of actions that were planned by the women involved in the campaign.

This archive, as a guest in the exhibition Sixteen Conversations on Abstraction (table / table) as such is not the work, rather it is the remanence—the magnetic load—that came out of the actual collective movement and work that was the campaign itself. It is an attempt to host a work which is a movement that took place in the past; to host is to create a reciprocal practice, an attempt at finding mutual grounds through sharing time and space collectively.

The drawer also hosts research material for an upcoming publication, a children’s book that will tell the story of the campaigns, in three languages. With the idea to share the material for future generations, as Federici states “I hope […] it may be of use to a new generation of feminists who still confront many of the problems that inspired the original WFH campaign.”

Riet Wijnen adds “The demand made in the 1970s is still not fulfilled, nor is the underlying problem solved. The archive is big as it is built by multiple bodies over many years, this makes it almost impossible to be fully embodied by one person. For true [collective] transformation an engagement with, or study of, the material is needed so that one can build a (personal) relation to the Wages for Housework campaigns and unravel its relevance for the present; which then might sprout actions. It is this that has brought us to host the archive as a whole, in a study setting.”

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