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Academia, Academia — Updates

January 13th, 2013 § 1 comment

Hi!

Standing with Art Giants, 2009, digital print, 30” x 22,5”

So many things happening. I missed the vernissage for the Red On The Walls exhibition in November 2012 because I ended up at the hospital & didn’t get to see my work hanging up in the Segal Centre among wine glasses & cheese in people’s mouths. This upcoming semester, I am presenting at a sound symposium at Concordia, the FSAC (Film Studies Association of Canada) Graduate Conference (again!) & presenting a demo of my documentary, microfemininewarfare at the HASTAC Conference in April (which means I gotta get that shit together!). In the meantime, I am also going down to NYC to document Mileece at MoMA next month! Gotta keep it local to save that grant money…

Sound and Dissent Symposium on Friday, February 1

Title: The nocturnal sounds of 2012 Quebec Student Strike: experiencing protest as a plurality of resistances

Abstract: The night marches of the 2012 Quebec Student Strike are a crucial feature of the movement’s sonic legacy. In particular, I refer to my own first hand experiences during the night protests in order to develop a means of articulating the plurality of resistances at play. By drawing upon Whitehead’s terms occurrence and event I contrast two different ways of thinking of resistance. If we think of resistance in the plural —as resistance already applying to an arrangement of related occurrences rather than as a dichotomy between a resistance (i.e., the student movement) and an establishment— then we move towards ways of thinking the sounds of protest in their reshaping of the city as event. This paper argues that the city as event is a site of multiple resistances that take place through sets of occurrences that emerge iteratively. These occurrences include the sounds of protest; forms of sonic crowd dispersal; unwilling listeners such as denizens and tourists; as well as sounds absorbed by architecture and animal life. By pluralizing the resistances at play, I build upon recent scholarship on the positive affects of the casseroles and develop an account of how these nocturnal sounds rearrange the city as event.

Works Cited
Whitehead, Alfred. Adventures in Ideas. New York: Macmillan, 1933.

 

Film Studies Association of Canada Graduate Colloquium: Transitions and Translations: New Approaches to the Moving Image

Hosted by Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University

Montréal, Québec, March 1-2, 2013

Paper title:  Creating Space(s): Reading interactive documentary as an experimental feminist practice

Abstract:  Interactive cinema consists of moving images on a screen, which must be temporally and spatially manipulated by the viewer. As widely known, narratives unfold across both time and space; in an interactive film, the audience has the ability to control this unfolding in time and space. This paper will present the saliency of using new filmmaking methods to highlight the need for innovative modes of presenting women’s narratives. Specifically, the genre of interactive documentary, and its capacity for new types of feminist story-telling will be explored. Drawing on various K-films, including my own K-documentary on female electronic music artists, I unpack the potentials of database-driven documentaries. K-films are interactive, non-linear films driven by a database of source material and editorial constraints (that establish the relationships between source scenes) put forward by the filmmaker. They are produced using the Canadian-German co-developed open source software Korsakow.

My paper situates the practices of interactive documentary filmmaking within feminist experimental film practices, a mode of production that challenges masculinist avant-garde aesthetic dogmas “by juxtaposing narrativity and non-narrativity, deploying narrative pleasure alongside narrative disruption, providing viewers with identification as well as critical distance” (Petrolle and Wexman, 2005: 3).

The development of new cinematic technologies, such as the K-film, have the potential to provide (new) spaces of articulation aligned with the feminist ethos of partial, fragmented perspectives (Haraway, 1991). Experimental feminist filmmakers are often united “in their intensive use of associative and disjunctive rather then linear editing” (Blaetz, 2007: 13). As such, I read interactive documentary as an intervention that re-articulates much of the theorization of feminist experimental film practices such as those of Trinh T. Minh-ha and Midi Onodera.

I argue that allowing these technologies, such as Korsakow software, to “do their thing” makes everyone (user, creator, etc.) complicit in the fragmentation of women’s stories. In turn, an iterative self-reflexive process of looking is foregrounded. My use of the interactive medium format does not stem from a reductive utopian vision that new technologies can break down traditional modes of communication but from an exploration in broadening discourses about female subjectivity. The interactive medium can be a fruitful mode of storytelling when it acknowledges, through content and/or style, the discursive ideologies that obfuscate embedded forms of power and oppression.

Further, this type of film form is more about story-revealing than storytelling and allows the non-linear unfolding nature of documentation to be apparent. Through interacting with the documentary, the user/spectator is effectively creating a narrative based on the component parts and consequently is also a producer in the re-creation of the content. This type of collaborative, yet complicit staging is indicative of the feminist practices I outline.

Keywords: interactive cinema, experimental documentary, feminist film-making, K-films

Bibliography:

Blaetz, Robin. 2007. Women’s experimental cinema: critical frameworks. Durham: Duke University Press.

Haraway, Donna Jeanne. 1991. Simians, cyborgs, and women: the reinvention of nature. New York: Routledge.

Le Grice, Malcolm. 2001. Experimental cinema in the digital age. London: BFI Pub.

Minh-Ha, Trinh T. 1990. “Documentary Is/Not a Name.” October 52 (Spring): 77-98.

Petrolle, Jean, and Virginia Wright Wexman. 2005. Women and experimental filmmaking. Urbana: University of Illinois.

Ryan, Marie-Laure. 2009. “From Narrative Games to Playable Stories: Toward a Poetics of Interactive Narrative.” StoryWorlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies 1(1): 43-59.

HASTAC Decennial Conference 2013 — The Storm of Progress: New Horizons

April 25-28, 2013 York University, Toronto, Canada

microfemininewarfare (2013) is an interactive database documentary that investigates female electronic dance music (EDM) artists. The purpose of the documentary is to feature the contributions of women as composers, to show how they came to be composers and to reveal the tactics used to approach significant issues of gender in the EDM community. The documentary profiles the contributions of Alicia Bauer (performing as Alley Cat), Chantal Passamonte (Mira Calix), Christine Clements (Vaccine), Indra Khera (Mantra), Libby Floyd (The Doubtful Guest), Mileece Petre (Mileece), Sabina Plamenova (Subeena/Alis) and Bérangère Maximin. The interactive K-film documentary, comprising over thirty parts that tell a collective story, shows some of the tactics these women use to approach significant issues around gender. In presenting a group of subjects, I displace the dominant reading of EDM as a phallocentric practice of individual DJ-virtuosity and talent that is observed by researchers such as Essl (2003), Friz (2004), Farrugia (2010) and Kirn (2011). I acknowledge the women’s multi-faceted contributions and practices in the community by asking them what tools they are using, how they learned the techniques they employ, where their tools are located (such as the home, the studio or someone else’s house) and what they like or dislike about the technologies they use (Rodgers 2010: 8).

K-films are interactive, non-linear films driven by a database of source material and editorial constraints (that establish the relationships between source scenes) put forward by the filmmaker. They are produced using the open source flash-based software known as Korsakow. microfemininewarfare has dozens of clips but the order in which the user plays them is relatively free within a thematic spider web. The user can either move through these clips thematically or, interchangeably, move through clips of a single artist. As there is no linear “play” function, the user participates by clicking through the vignettes; otherwise, the documentary will not continue. Allowing the Korsakow software to “do its thing” makes everyone (user, creator, etc.) complicit in the fragmentation of the women’s stories—a key component aligned with my feminist ethics. The interactive medium can be a fruitful mode of storytelling when it acknowledges, through content and/or style, the discursive ideologies that obfuscate embedded forms of power and oppression (often the same ones the women in the documentary face). As such, presenting this documentary is aligned with HASTAC’s enthusiasm for new storytelling technologies and their potential for feminist narratives.

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§ One Response to Academia, Academia — Updates

  • […] nocturnal sound moves of the Quebec Student Strike” that came out of a paper “The Nocturnal Sounds of 2012 Quebec Student Strike: Experiencing Protest as a Plurality of Resistanc…“ I presented at the Sound & Dissent symposium at Concordia 1 February 2013. I’m […]

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