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 into the Musée d’Orsay. It is one of Paris’ most popular attractions.
The converted art museum located at 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, is now a stop on a new street map of cultural hotspots. According to the French daily Le Monde, the map aims to highlight women’s contributions to the capital city.
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, pictorial works, sculptures and workshops. It also includes places of art and culture.
Seven Master’s students from Paris’ École du Louvre came up with the initiative that 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.
Ideally, each entry will include location, photographs and 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. These include Blanche Cardoner, Emma Dechorgnat, Sirine Dutot, 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,” 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.”
Since the map went live in early January, the authors have opened it up to the public, encouraging people to submit new additions. Aside from the previously stated requirement of free accessibility, there are few restrictions placed on entries. Culturebox notes that places cited range from renowned monuments to graffiti, social housing, student residences and even the ophthalmology department of a Parisian hospital. Some entries date to the 19th or 20th centuries, while 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, including 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, as well as partner with organizations dedicated to safeguarding women’s rights. Dutot, one of the seven authors, explains in an interview with Le Figaro, “We want to raise awareness that all space belongs to women as well."