Remembering and Forgetting Le Nemesiache’s Archive
This thesis investigates ‘what is yet to come’ after the idiosyncratic work of the feminist collective Le Nemesiache from Naples.
I use archival traces and radical strategies of research to explore the collective’s evocation of a future determined by women’s imagination, as well as my own desire for fabulation triggered by the encounter with their archive. If, as Ann Cvetkovich affirmed, the archive can be considered as a memorial to the dead, a space enabling the practice of mourning for the possible loss of a history, what knowledge and ‘mourning’ practices can emerge from Le Nemesiache’s overlooked archive in the present?
Drawing on the work of feminist scholars (Donna Haraway, Maria Tamboukou, Lynne Huffer), theories of temporality and psychoanalysis (Jean Laplanche, Griselda Pollock) and theatricality (Rebecca Schneider, Samuel Weber), this thesis outlines a methodology for remembering and forgetting Le Nemesiache. It considers archival traces from the 1970s and 1980s as the collective formed their feminist practice and thinking over the two decades. In writing about their work I avoid the position of the objective researcher who can ‘represent’ and recolonise the archive matter. I propose a methodology which acknowledges the material, metaphorical and embodied effects of encountering an archive as a meaning-making tool in itself. I see the elements partaking in the encounter as co-producers of feminist epistemologies. My practice comprises a series of scripts which are staged in collaboration with performers.
My production can be read as a response to Le Nemesiache’s call to continue their legacy. It is not a continuation of their original work, but a way to address the shadows created by their archival traces on the present and potentially the future. My performances keep shifting Le Nemesiache’s promise, punctuating it with my own desire for fabulation and prophecy from the spaces of the present.