ALEXANDRA JUHASZ, “MY VHS AIDS ARCHIVES: CONFESSIONS FROM THE FIELD OF QUEER FEMINIST MEDIA PRAXIS”

Coordinates: Saturday, November 17 at 4:15pm (EV 6.720)

Committed media praxis is a doing as much as it is a knowing. Queerness is a manner of being as much as it is a politics, theory, or set of modish objects. Queer cinema might have institutional anthologies and canons, but for me it needs stranger sites that honor how the work gets done. In my talk, I will I attempt not just to explain but also enact the labour of committed media praxis within queer cinema, in two acts. Part 1 will be a partial and personal map of my queer feminist media praxis, as just one participant within a beloved community who together invented, and then perhaps also consolidated, queer cinema (studies). Part 2 will be a discussion of where that got me to of late, VHS Archives, a multi-sited many-yeared project that returns to these easily-lost beginnings albeit by way of experimental pedagogy, web-based archival engagement, and committed activist interventions into contemporary AIDS activism and media. If one makes queer community, or collectives, videos, collaborations, or even classes as one’s media work, the associated lived delights of these actions can also create new problems and also possibilities for data (and other) loss. The VHS Archives Project allows me to attend, not with equivocation or apology, but rather with keen attention and even delight, on our community’s small and/or lost/or even never-made archives, on why things weren’t collected, on who didn’t or couldn’t save us, on how that makes us fee,l and what we can do about that now.

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