A labour of love

part of Chronic Desire/ Sete Cronică, 2023, Timișoara

How much of women’s labour in agricultural societies continues to be invisibilized because it is defined from the perspective of love and care, as a gendered duty and responsibility? How does their labour suffer from being placed in opposition to the intellectual labour performed by both women and men of the affluent classes? To what extent does their relationship with the land they cultivate for subsistence purposes continue to designate a manifestation of patriarchal oppression, but also a possibility for an emancipatory subjectivity to be asserted?

A labor of love addresses women’s labor in the rural societies during post-communist transition and their contribution to the process of social reproduction, as well as how the status of their labour was transformed by the integration of capitalist economic ideologies. By trying to situate a personal and local geo-historical context, the project links domestic and agricultural labour, elaborating upon women’s subordinate position as family members and laborers.

This installation attempts to deconstruct both the idyllic image and that of underdevelopment and regression that public discourse and neoliberal elite project onto the agricultural rural world. The process of reducing it to a homogeneous world, stuck in an imaginary time of the past, obfuscates the power relation between the urban and the rural environment, and conditions the right to contemporaneity of the agricultural world.

The 4-channel sound piece accompanying the textiles is developed in collaboration with sound artists Chlorys and Sofia Zadar, and it delineates a transnational and local political context, mixing poetical and theoretical regimes, both in Romanian and English. The 3 cardboard objects depict topographical shapes pertaining to the geography where the some of the cloths, fabrics and textiles were collected.

Part of the textile materials used in the installation belonged to: Victoria Bucur, Elena Bucur, Stelica Săvulescu, Stanca Săvulescu, Ana Cocorăscu, Mioara Ciorîcă, Loria Bucur.