Performance in the Universitat's libraries to make gender inequality visible in the academic field

  • Press Office
  • November 25th, 2020
Foto de l'acció en la Biblioteca del Campus d'Ontinyent. foto: David Mascarell
Picture of the performance in the Ontinyent Campus's Library. Photograph: David Mascarell

María Vidagañ and Amparo Alonso-Sanz, artists, teachers and researchers, have put on the performance 'peso del conocimiento' ('the weight of knowledge') at the Universitat. The display aims to denounce that the scientific knowledge has been traditionally spread by men, whereas women make their way with difficulty in the publications' field. The function took place on the 26th and 27th of November in the libraries of the academic institution.

Specifically, on the 26th of November it was carried out at 8:30 am in the Historical Library; at 10:30 am in the Historical Medical Library; at 12:30 pm in Botanical Garden Library; and at 16:30 pm at the "Eduard Boscà" Library of Sciences. On the 27th of November, the performance took place at 8:30 am in the "Joan Reglà" Library of Humanities; at 10:30 am in the "Pelegrí Casanova" Library of Health Sciences; at 12:30 pm in the "Joan Lluis Vives" Library of Psychology and Sport; at 4 pm in the "Gregori Maians" Library of Social Sciences; and at 6 pm in the "María Moliner" Library of Education. 

The performance entails re-classifying 50 books selected at random from the shelves of each library by basing on a new criterion: the sex of its author. This classification is done in three columns on the floor: one for those written by men, another column for those written by women and the third one for joint authorship's works. The show ends by registering the height and the weight of the three piles of books. 

The aim is to make visible the overwhelming majority of books in libraries written by men in comparison with those written by women, with all the implications that this has for the construction of the collective thought.

The result is a series of sculptural installations made up of three columns, a kind of three-dimensional bar graph, photographed for its later exhibition and to produce postcards, which are intended to be broadcast on the web, on social networks and on the television screens of libraries, among others, since the action is ephemeral and the books are returned to their traditional order at the end.

The artistic activity, planned to be carried out in the 10 libraries of the Universitat de València in order to make visible the gender inequality that continue existing in the academic field, began to be performed last 19 November in the Ontinyent Campus's Library. 

The performance is part of the I+D project "Sensibilización en igualdad de género y diversidad sexual mediante intervenciones artísticas en contextos universitarios" ("Raising awareness on gender equality and sexual diversity through artistic interventions in university contexts"), which has been financed by the Conselleria de Innovación, Universidades, Ciencia y Sociedad Digital ([Valencian] Department of Innovation, Universities, Science and Digital Society). Several artivist actions will be carried out throughout 2020 and 2021 at the three participating universities: Universitat de València, Universitat Politècnica de València and Miguel Hernández University of Elche.