Thursday, December 9, 2010

Oct 18 2010: Pop Fem Lecture: Contagious Feeling, Collective Forgetting: The Affective Archive of Second Wave Feminist Media Activism in Canada

Dr. Marusya Bociurkiw
Review of event:
In the years 1972 to 1990, across Canada and around the world, media collectives with utopian names like Reelfeelings, Groupe Intervention Video and Women Alive tried to realize a McLuhanesque vision of a global feminist village. In Canada, they/we created dozens of social issue documentaries and television series’ via community cable TV, producing an ephemeral archive of a vibrant era of political and social change. In this auto-ethnographic project which combines scholarly research and a video essay, I critique the standard Habermassian public sphere formulation of this era and attempt to account for affect. What are the passionate sites feeling that accompanied the enactment of the work and which surely surround its forgetting? Thirty-five years since the forming of the first women’s video collective in Canada, the primary record of this work – the videos themselves – is rapidly disintegrating, and with it, a piece of the intersecting histories of Canadian broadcasting, media art and the second-wave women’s movement. Indeed, there are almost no secondary texts that document or analyze this period. It’s no exaggeration to say that this represents a significant gap in historical memory on several levels: the forgetting of a moment when technology, public broadcasting, and feminist activism merged. This, then, is an archive without archivists, an era without a publicist, a history without a memory. As a participant in this history (I founded Emma Productions), I am attempting to narrativize this history in a way that acknowledges the absence or deterioration of a visual artifact, contending instead with ghosts, feelings, traces of memory and videotape, losses and gains. I am also interested in the dialogue and tension that may occur between historical forms of media activism and current digital platforms for feminist activism. Link to a report on the talk by Dr. Bociurkiw: