One of our artists, Guilia Mangione, let us into her process:
“For my project Oleana I decided to work with analog film photography. The process is a bit lengthy but, in my opinion, totally worthy. In my working flow I alternate digital and analogue techniques to reach the final print. After the rolls of film have been developed by the photo lab, I usually go to the darkroom to make some contact sheets. On these prints I can see small reproductions of the entire negative on one sheet of photosensitive paper. Through these, I make a rough selection of the images I think are more interesting or better framed, and mark them. After that I move to the digital lab and I scan the images I selected in high resolution in order to see them in large size on my computer screen. After making the very final selection, I go back to the darkroom and print only the one image from one shooting session that I think looks best.”
NSU’s Archive is a treasure trove of impressions – unexpected photos, books, leaflets, costumes and documents. If only we could have had Guilia’s process throughout the years of our history: a slow, considered look at the flickering pieces of the past, making it possible to delicately select the most powerful piece to keep in the collection.
Archivists: How on earth do you choose what stays and what goes?
I initially imagined the writers in Future Echoes to respond to texts and materials from the archives of NSU written by women on any subject. However few of the complete texts I found in NSU’s archive, were edited or written by women.
The parts of NSU’s archive that I got access to, did not contain many complete texts whatsoever. I was also able to search a selection only (more about the somewhat complex access to it here). The material consisted of a multitude of preliminary records: schedules, calls, drafts, notes, newspaper cuttings, informal notes or minutes from lectures or discussions. This probably reflects NSU as an environment for developing new thought, a description that in my own experience is still valid and valuable.
But my impression of a general lack of female authors was strengthened by one of the publications I did find through the Danish National Library’s department in Viborg: Kvindeundertrykkelsens specifikke karakter under kapitalismen, edited by ph.d. candidate Signe Arnfred and student of literature Karen Syberg, at the time affiliated to the universities of Roskilde and Copenhagen respectively. Its content is divided in five sections named Family, Labour market, Classes, Sexuality and Culture, preceded by a short chapter on methodology and containing writings on these subjects by around 15 female scholars. It was published in NSU’s series of writings, January 1973. Its first 1500 copies allegedly sold out.
Like much social science, parts of this book appear dated in a contemporary environment. I propose it to the writers in Future Echoes as an inspirational springboard for sharing related thoughts and texts.