VALERIA FACCHIN is a curator and researcher. With a focus on visual studies, biology and AI, her work explores the relationship between bodies, technologies and future ecosystems. Valeria’s research questions are: “How can the concept of disembodiment, the neutralisation of genders, be countered and reimagined as productive within the virtual realm?”
While considered as assemblages of computational processes, Valeria compares virtual environments as permeable membranes between worlds. By acting as a layered extension of the physical realm, they could be compared to mini-ecosystems – functional arenas, such as the mesocosms, enclosed and essentially self-sufficient experimental controlled environments. Valeria’s body of work tries to acknowledge their ecomimetic and mesocosmic properties as a way to erode the divisions between the real and the virtual: in other words, through virtual environments, we experience a multitude of universes, n-possibilities. This could be explained through the quantum theory of the multiverse which implies that alongside our world lie a possibly infinite number of other worlds, and to which ours has some connection. Valeria believes that, by bringing the nonhuman world into equal prominence with the human, the synthetic worlds of virtuality should be considered not merely as an extension of reality, but as an independent, yet interconnected ecosystem. She holds an MA in History of Art from Ca' Foscari University and an MA in Curatorial Museum Studies from Courtauld Institute of Art. She is currently working as Project Manager & Assistant Curator at Fiorucci Art Trust, London. Before that, she held curatorial positions, among others, at Somerset House, Science Museum and La Biennale. Valeria regularly speaks at panels and conferences about the impact of technology in contemporary art practice and she has served as a founding young trustee of Science Gallery Venice.
DELANIE JOY LINDEN is a doctoral student at MIT researching eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art and science. She is curious about how, in the Enlightenment, art became a science through its increasing adoption of laboratory-like and medical techniques. Within these processes, Linden questions art's complicity in the creation, justification, and perpetuation of colonization and race. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan, where she doubled majored in neuroscience and history of art, and an MA from SMU, where she studied the history of early modern French art.
INDRANI SAHA Indrani Saha is a PhD candidate in the History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture program at MIT. She studies modern art of the United States with a particular interest in histories of abstraction as they intersect with theories of mind, histories of spirituality, and reception theory. In her research, she asks: How do art objects serve as dis/orientation devices? What are the political, artistic, spiritual, and subjective stakes when disorientation induces becoming? Saha explores these questions in further detail in a wild dissertation-in-progress about women curators/modern art promoters engaged in an effort to operationalize radically abstract modern art to spiritualize and (dis)orient the American public in the early twentieth-century. Saha holds a BA in Cognitive Aesthetics from Duke where she was a Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellow. Her distinction thesis examined how perceptual disruption and disorientation alter social interaction in Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Chromosaturation. She has worked with the Nasher Museum as a curatorial intern and student curator.
MARGHERITA DOSI DELFINI Margherita Dosi Delfini is a Master’s student at The Courtauld Institute of Art, London. She is enrolled in the course ‘Curating the Art Museum’, which investigates both the history and contemporaneity of curatorial practice. While gaining experience in art galleries, she graduated in History of Art from the Courtauld, with a thesis on how the spaces we inhabit today may be visualized as transparent, yet broken, labyrinths. Margherita has a deep interest for semiotics, ideas on interconnectedness and space, and specifically for rhizomatic networks (Deleuze&Guattari). Margherita co-leads the Architecture Society at the Courtauld; she is passionate about architecture and views the discipline as one potentially weaving together many different kinds of knowledge from geography, biology, philosophy, to envision a future mined by climate emergency. How will we live together collectively in a post-Anthropocene future? She is drawn to exploring the posthuman in order to recognise the biological, rhizomatic web we share with the nonhuman. She is fascinated by tidalectics, a theory by Kamau Brathwaite according to which the ebb and flow of oceans and seas offers a view of human life predicated on relationality and unfixed boundaries: this represents a fruitful subversion of the entrenched, historical taxonomies that have structured our systems of thought. Margherita thinks the fluidity of water encapsulates the very theme of embodiment: to allow for relationality and for receptiveness to ‘external’ matter, is to embody that very flux and fluidity of selfhood, ultimately debunking any duality between mind and body. Likewise, Margherita is drawn to sound and other senses in interdisciplinary artworks and installations, for they convey embodiment of (visually) absent bodies. Margherita perceives curatorial practice as one which is sensitive to these social, interpersonal and ecological relations, and aspires to contribute to it with an inter-disciplinary approach.
MAJA KOLARZ Maja Kolarz is majoring in Art History with specialization in Curating at Uniwersytet Jagielloński Krakow, Poland. She is an independent curator and a project employee with a couple years of experience working in art galleries, museums and cultural institutions She also worked for art festivals such as Krakow Photomonth Festival and Międzynarodowe Centrum Kultury, KRAKERS. While doing an apprenticeship at Landskrona Foto in Sweden as Assistant Curator and Archivist, Maja had an opportunity to explore Swedish and Danish art scene. Since 2020 she is co-hosting a lecture at Jagiellonian University called “Experiments in a museum space” where together with other two lecturers they discuss where the boundaries of museums are and what curators and artists can actually do to challenge them.
As her master's thesis explores a subject of immersive and experiential art, Maja is interested in the intersection of art, technology and perception psychology. She believes that VR and AR works trigger us to look at ourselves in a new way – both at our “psyche” and our "soma". According to somaesthetics, our bodies enable us to perceive everything we are experiencing within the realm of the world. This means that embodiment and bodily perception are crucial to reach complete understanding. Maja questions what does it actually mean to perceive the virtual realm through our body? Is it possible to reach better understanding with each other through the virtual world?
DEEPIKA SRIVASTOVA Deepika Srivastava is a graduate of the MA History of Design programme of The Royal College of Art and the Victoria & Albert Museum. She is now working at the National Institute of Design in India. Her work lies at the intersection of arts and culture program development, design journalism, and fiction writing. Working in arts and culture program development, she is constantly thinking about - how the intersection of tech and culture can engage new audiences and make the arts accessible? As a design journalist, she is keen to write about design through the lens of a social scientist, and focus on presenting design as a relationship between people, communities, societies, and societal structures. As a writer of fiction, she hopes to reflect on how people navigate their everyday life through social issues.
For Deepika, this year’s theme of disembodiment of W21 relates to her experience of dealing with and overcoming PCOS during her adolescence (in Grade 6 at the age of 11). PCOS is a hormonal disorder which leads to perceived physical deformities such as excess hair growth on face (medically known as hirsutism), weight gain, acne, stunted height, rough hair. It also comes with depression and brain fog, which are chemically induced, and also a result of the body shaming and subsequent low self-esteem one goes through. “The whole experience instilled a sense of shame in each and every cell of my body, making me doubt everything about myself, making me unable to receive any positivity and success that came my way. I felt like a worthless piece of junk dying to be discarded, once and forever. My body became a burden which I was unable to bear, and to free myself of it, I hid myself behind as many books as I could find. Disembodiment (the feeling of existing without my body and physical form) through reading gave me freedom to live the unlived, which gave me the courage to face the real world. As I am learning to embody myself again, disembodiment feels like a much-needed exercise to remind me of my existence beyond the physical.”
W21 is an open-source data feminist project that has received contributions from all around the world. If you are interested in knowing more, running a workshop, or simply getting in touch, please contact us.