Cities by Night deals with the perception of danger from a female point of view, highlighting how this feeling is often rooted in cultural biases, ethnical prejudices and economical differences. It's a performance-based project resulting in a map of the observed city, where the areas perceived as dangerous are blackened with ink.
After doing the projectin Paris and than in Amsterdam, I brought the project to Bologna, whereinstead than having just one walker –as it happened before– I were finally able to have more the one.
Wanting to underlinethe central role plaid by the body and the physical experience of the space in drawing the new borders of this Bologna by Night, I presented the project within the context ofDanza Urbana Festival –a Urban Dance&Performance Festival that focuses on outdoor performances. In that context, thewomen were asked to do their exploration only and exclusively during the duration of the Festival, going out privately and separately at night, every night until the end of the event. In doing so, they did become the performers of the piece, yet: no one could really see them. In order to be effective, in fact, the exploration had to happen privately, each woman walking by herself with her own xeroxed map where she would take notes and write down the areas perceived as dangerous. The audience of the festival could follow them live on a website where –through an app– they dropped a pin on eacharea they felt dangerous.
Their chosen invisibility amplified and plaid with the historical invisibility of women in the public context (unless prostitutes), their absence in most decision making abouturban policies, andthe lack of (proper and effective) attention and solutions on women abuse. Having their bodies freed from the audience's gaze, the women reclaim their freedom.
Each day, I would send a report of my own exploration –few lines and a picture that described my intimate experience of the space.
After five days, at the end of the Festival, I collected all women's maps. Their notes will be transferred to the real maps of Bologna, where they will become several Bologna by Night, one for each participant, each of them reading the “data” of its creator -her name and age and ethnicity and level of acquaintance to the city.
A final exhibition showing them all, will allow a comparison that reveals how the creation of the enemy –our perception of danger– is rooted onto many cultural factors.