Interactive map shines a spotlight on women's cultural contributions in Paris
Gaetana Aulenti is an Italian architect. In the 1980s, she transformed the Gare d’Orsay train station. She turned it into the Musée d’Orsay. It is one of Paris’ most popular attractions.
The converted art museum is located at 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur. It is now a stop on a new street map of cultural hotspots. The map aims to highlight women’s contributions to the capital city. That's according to the French daily Le Monde.
The initiative is interactive and is dubbed Le Matrimoine Parisien. That means the Parisian Matrimony. It features five kinds of free-access landmarks. These include architectural structures and pictorial works. It includes sculptures and workshops. And it includes places of art and culture.
Seven Master’s students from Paris’ École du Louvre came up with the initiative. It offers an evolving vision of Paris’ overlooked female cultural figures. The ultimate aim is to provide an exhaustive list of locations “financed, imagined or made by women.” That's according to Culturebox.
The goal is for each entry to include a location and photographs. It will also include a historical background. External links will provide visitors with more information. A click-through of the map shows more than 130 markers. But the cataloguing is still a work in progress.
Most of the spots highlighted on the map were added by the authors behind the campaign. The authors include Blanche Cardoner and Emma Dechorgnat. Sirine Dutot and Martin Louette. Raphaëlle Reynaud, Lou Desance and Delphine Bourdon. They conceived the project during a class seminar on digital culture tools.
“This [initiative] allows us to combine our interest in the history of art, the main disciplinary field, and our feminist sensibility.” That's what Bourdon told Elodie Falco of French daily Le Figaro. “It is based on the observation that women artists were little mentioned. They are not well-known against their male counterparts.”
The map went live in early January. The authors have opened it up to the public. They are encouraging people to submit new additions. There are few restrictions placed on entries. One restriction is the requirement of free accessibility. Culturebox notes that places cited range from renowned monuments to graffiti, social housing and student residences. Even the ophthalmology department of a Parisian hospital is included. Some entries date to the 19th or 20th centuries. Others have only emerged in recent years.
The idea, Bourdon tells Radio France Internationale, is “to be as exhaustive as possible.” Obscure sites such as the Necker Hospital Infant Surgery Unit stand alongside slightly better-known ones. This includes the studio of artist Dora Maar, who is often only known for being the muse of Pablo Picasso. Another is Louise Bourgeois’ 1996 “Welcoming Hands,” an installation in the city’s famed Tuileries Garden.
As the initiative grows, the team has plans to start making walking tours based on the map. They also want to partner with organizations dedicated to safeguarding women’s rights. Dutot is one of the seven authors. She explains in an interview with Le Figaro, “We want to raise awareness that all space belongs to women as well."