A Post-Pandemic Revolution
by Bettina Siegele
Published in V International Congress Architecture and Gender Action! Feminisms and the spatialization of resistances: Book of Abstracts, coordinated and reviewed by Patrícia Santos Pedrosa, Clara Oliveira, Eliana Sousa, Santos, Lia Gil Antunes, Luísa Paiva, João Sequeira, Maria Helena Souto, (Lisboa, CIEG-ISCSP/Universidade de Lisboa, 2021), p. 33. ISBN: 978-989-646-149-2
While the pandemic is still going on, first countries and communes are announcing and revealing first monuments commemorating the pandemic. The planned memorial and its public tender in the Austrian province of Styria shows in many aspects one thing above all: the marginalisation of women in this time. All three shortlisted artists are (unsurprisingly) male, dealing with topics such as forgetting and loneliness (see Schedlmayer, 2020) while ignoring at the same time one major thing that accompanied Covid-19: Once again, women find themselves trapped in the domestic space as they did in the 1950s.
It was mainly women who took care of the housework and the homeschooling of children, next to their regular work schedule during the lockdown. Like in Alvin Toffler´s problematic vision of the future described by Jan Zimmermann: “(…) allow married secretaries caring for small children at home to continue to work. Computers at home could allow women, that is, to do not one, but two jobs in their cosy, rose-covered, picket-fenced, white frame, electronic bungalow” (Zimmermann, 1981, 358).
The contribution to the conference seeks to find ways out of this current situation. It seeks to find ways to liberate women from reproductive labour and to trigger a post-pandemic domestic revolution. A revolution like the material feminists did 100 years ago. Material feminists did not define architecture as something that enables social change, but as a tool that can either support or prevent it. They wished to transform women´s sphere all together to reach social and economic justice (see Hayden, 1996). A point that due to the pandemic, has become a priority on feminist´s agendas worldwide again.
Hayden, Dolores (1996).Grand Domestic Revolution: History of Feminist Designs for American Homes, Neighbourhoods and Cities.MIT Press.
Schedlmayer, Nina (2020). Coronavirus-Denkmäler: Wir sind die Gelackmeierten. Artemisia. Kunst und Feminismus.https://artemisia.blog/2020/09/23/coronavirus-denkmaeler-wir-sind-die-gelackmeierten/
Zimmermann, Jan (1981). Technology and the Future of Women: Haven´t we met somewhere before?. Women´s Studies International Quarterly, 4(3), 355-367.