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Interactive Map Renders Women’s Cultural Contributions to French Capital Visible

The evolving project highlights landmarks in Paris that were “financed, imagined or made by women”

The map currently features more than 130 entries divided into five categories (Courtesy of the Parisian Matrimony)
smithsonian.com

In the 1980s, Italian architect Gaetana Aulenti transformed the Gare d’Orsay train station into the Musée d’Orsay, one of Paris’ most popular attractions.

The converted art museum, located at 1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, is now a stop on a new street map of cultural hotspots that aims to highlight women’s contributions to the capital city, French daily Le Monde reports.

The interactive initiative, dubbed Le Matrimoine Parisien, or the Parisian Matrimony, features five kinds of free-access landmarks: architectural structures, pictorial works, sculptures, workshops, and places of art and culture. Seven Master’s students from Paris’ École du Louvre came up with the initiative, which offers an evolving vision of Paris’ overlooked female cultural figures. The ultimate aim is to provide an exhaustive list of locations “financed, imagined or made by women,” according to Culturebox.

Ideally, each entry will include location, photographs, historical background and external links providing visitors with more information, but as a click-through of the map’s more than 130 markers shows, the cataloguing is still a work in progress.

Most of the spots highlighted on the map were added by the authors behind the campaign: Blanche Cardoner, Emma Dechorgnat, Sirine Dutot, Martin Louette, Raphaëlle Reynaud, Lou Desance and Delphine Bourdon, who conceived the project during a class seminar on digital culture tools.

“This [initiative] allows us to combine our interest in the history of art, the main disciplinary field, and our feminist sensibility,” Bourdon tells Elodie Falco of French daily Le Figaro. “It is based on the observation that women artists were little mentioned and not well-known against their male counterparts.”

Since the map went live in early January, the authors have opened it up to the public, encouraging people to submit new additions. Aside from the previously stated requirement of free accessibility, there are few restrictions placed on entries: Culturebox notes that places cited range from renowned monuments to graffiti, social housing, student residences and even the ophthalmology department of a Parisian hospital. Some entries date to the 19th or 20th centuries, while others have only emerged in recent years.

The idea, Bourdon tells Radio France Internationale, is “to be as exhaustive as possible.” Obscure sites such as the Necker Hospital Infant Surgery Unit stand alongside slightly better-known ones, including the studio of artist Dora Maar, who is often only known for being the muse of Pablo Picasso, and Louise Bourgeois’ 1996 “Welcoming Hands,” an installation in the city’s famed Tuileries Garden.

As the initiative grows, the team has plans to start making walking tours based on the map, as well as partner with organizations dedicated to safeguarding women’s rights. Dutot, one of the seven authors, explains in an interview with Le Figaro, “We want to raise awareness that all space belongs to women as well."

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