The Women's Audio Archive is a collection of recordings of private conversations, seminars, talks, conferences, and public events that Polish-born, London based artist Marysia Lewandowska carefully compiled from 1985 to 1990. Over 200 hours of audio that began as a fictitious archive that provided an interface and a cover for approaching key female figures in the arts and talking to them at length. The ideas and concerns of the second wave of feminism run through these mostly informal recordings, underpinned by Marysia’s intuition and her desire “to write that history with them, and to find myself in the present.”
In 2009, Lewandowska was invited by Maria Lind, Director of the Centre for Curatorial Studies (Bard College, NY) at the time, to digitize the material and work with the collection in an effort of making it available online and decided to turn this private collection into an online public archive under a Creative Commons license. The process includes documenting the negotiations involved in bringing about this change of status, twenty years later.
SON(I)A talks to Marysia Lewandowska about the Women’s Audio Archive, about the crucial need to generate counter-narratives in totalitarian regimes, about networking before networks, about the boundaries between the private and the public, the negotiations generated by the shift from one sphere to another, the responsibilities of the archive, and the potential to generate conversation through art.
This podcast includes fragments from the Women’s Audio Archive and the voices of (in order of appearance): Marysia Lewandowska, Nourbese Philip, Nan Goldin, Nancy Spero, Allan Kaprow, Jo Spence, Lynne Tillman, Donald Judd, Maureen O. Paley, Susan Hiller, Lynne Tillman, Judy Chicago. The complete recordings are available at Women's Audio Archive.