When The Towel Drops

With artist collective Radha May, of which I am a founding member

(for specific project iterations click images below)

When The Towel Drops is an ongoing research-based art project by the artist collective Radha May. The project investigates the censored representation of women, femininity and sexuality in cinema and the internet.

Presented here is volume one of the project, titled When The Towel Drops Vol 1 | Italy.  The project compiles and reveals hundreds of archival documents and film scenes that were removed from publicly screened cinema in Italy during the 1950s and 1960s. These documents and scenes were housed in the Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna, Italy. Most of the scenes had never been viewed publicly prior to this project. Scenes that were used in the project were clips that were cut out of films such as Zabriskie Point and La Notte by Michelangelo Antonioni and Brink of Life by Ingmar Bergman.

As a body of work, When The Towel Drops Vol 1 | Italy is a documentation of the institutional regimentation of the female body and desire. It contemplates questions of hidden histories and hidden narratives and the fears that underpin gestures of concealment and censorship. The project not only asks us to consider how far removed our contemporary ideas of female sexuality are from those of 60 years ago, but to also consider what it means to circulate into public domain and memory that which was once hidden. 

Radha May created three iterations of the project – a 35mm film installation, a digital video installation and a performance. 

Exhibitions: Institute of Contemporary Art, Milan (2019); Festival della Peste!  Il Lazzaretto, Milan, Italy (2019); Spring Break Art Show, NY, USA (2018), Union Docs, NY, USA (2017),  Fabrica Del Vapore, Milan, Italy (2016), Granoff Center for the performing arts, Brown University, Providence, USA (2015), Gallery 250 Varet, NY, USA (2015).

Documentation of the  various iterations can be viewed by clicking the images below.

When The Towel Drops Vol 1 | Italy was made possible by the support of MiBACT - Direzione Generale per il Cinema, Italy; Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna, Italy; Fondazione Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia – Cineteca Nazionale, Italy; Italia Taglia, Italy; Creative Arts Council, Brown University; Italian Studies Department, Brown University; Granoff Center for the Arts, Brown University, Department of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University, Forbes Foundation and Studio Azzuro.

Radha May is: Nupur Mathur, Elisa Giardina Papa and Bathsheba Okwenje

Using Format