“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Ferrini (b. Florence, 1984), is continuing to work from a distance on the project ART WORKS! European Cultures of Resistance and Liberation for the Cubo Garutti/ Piccolo Museion together with a group of young people involved in the initiative. The theme of their research is the concept of “resistance” today. This project includes a series of exhibitions at the Cubo with works from the collection.
Where are you at the moment? And what is your experience of this situation?
I’m in London, where I’ve been working at home for a few weeks, even if lockdown measures have only recently been implemented by the British government. Up until now this period has been full of contradictions, with moments of peace, sisterhood and optimism alternating with real frustration, anxiety and alienation. I find it very difficult to maintain my concentration, but I am acutely aware that it is a very small price to pay at a time that is causing terrible suffering and requires huge commitment from so many people. I would say that this is a crucial period for understanding the privileges we have and take for granted.
Can you give us a picture, some thoughts or say a few words – involving your art or not – about this period we are going through?
Right this week, when I was working virtually on the project ART WORKS! European Cultures of Resistance and Liberation at Museion, I had the opportunity and pleasure of reflecting on what ‘resistance’ means at this particular time, with the group of young people involved in the project. How do you resist during a lockdown? We talked about the need for radical care practices and the mental effort that this situation requires. An ideal quotation for these thoughts and at this time is by Audre Lorde: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” This phrase should, clearly, be understood in the more general context of cultural activism and the writer’s radical black feminism and not as a way of shutting out other human beings. It is a strategy of survival at the base of a militant, cohesive and resistant attitude.
Can you recommend any books, articles, activities or music?
In line with Audre Lorde’s quotation, I would say that this is the right time for (re)discovering and putting into practice feminist strategies of collectivity, teaching and care, as well as remembering the systemic oppression that is at the base of our society and global system. From the heart of crisis-stricken Europe, it is unfortunately very easy to focus on our own problems and forget the injustice and violence that Europe has always produced – and which are currently increasing. I think it is crucial to think in an intersectional way about the impact this crisis is having and will have on people that are already oppressed and marginalized. A good starting point, I would say, is the collection “Future: il domani narrato dalle voci di oggi” edited by Igiaba Scego (https://www.effequ.it/future/). Reading the testimonies and perspectives on the future written by eleven highly talented Afro-Italian writers is, I think, fundamental at a time when we are all making an effort to imagine a future radically transformed by this state of emergency.