Experimental Film/Video & History at The Berks

22 - 25 May 2014
Robarts Library, Media Commons, University of Toronto 130 St. George Street, Toronto, ON

Curated by Sharlene Bamboat and Ponni Arasu

Screening and Q&A with curators: 23 May 2014, 2:30pm at Robarts Library

SAVAC is proud to co-present a programme of experimental film and video works, which will be screened continuously throughout the 16th annual Berkshire Conference on the History of Women. This selection of films is based on the principle of exploring the different ways in which the two forms and disciplinary methods of experimental film/video and history interact with one another. In keeping with the themes of gender and women’s history, the program will include short experimental films that begin to address the following questions:

  • How and when does experimental films/video adopt a historical perspective?
  • How does an interaction with history alter the contours of experimental film/video; and similarly, how does experimental film/video realign, recreate and challenge the contours of history itself?
  • What is the texture of this interaction in terms of aesthetic and content?
  • How, then, do we use experimental film in classrooms and as a way of unpacking the questions that are often at the forefront of those working in gender history: that of linear temporality; layered sociality; the hegemony of hierarchies; the potential of dissent; the disaggregation of bodies and peoples in history; and the historical reimagining of stories that seek to scratch the surface of these hegemonic disaggregation and dichotomies, those often taken as default in history writing?
  • What can historians learn from experimental film/video in performing this imagination?
  • What can experimental film/video learn from a nuanced and rigorous historical approach?

This curation of films seeks to address the types of disaggregation described above through an exploration of experimental film/video and history as methods, aesthetics and forms of representation. In addressing film/video as pedagogic tool, we also ask: which kind of films/videos can be used in a history classroom and which cannot, and why?

58 mins. (In order)

1. The Story of Milk & Honey (Basma AlSharif, 10 min, 2010)
2.  Village Silenced (Deborah Stratman, 7 min, 2012)
3. A Ess Fe Arbüse’zieropp: Dee Dijcht’konst Fonn Enn’waundra Weadbüak’moaken (Kandis Friessen 5 min, 2011)
4. Measuring (Nahed Mansour, 3 min, 2009) – VTAPE
5. ALLO PERFORMANCE! (Mirha-Soleil Ross & Mark Karbusicky, 13 min, 2002)
6. Her Sugar Is (Dana Claxton, 2 min, 2009)
7. Demonstration of Indianness #31 (Adam Garnet Jones, 3 min, 2009)
8. Intermittent Delight (Akosua Adoma Owusu, 4 min, 2007)
9. Vigilance  (Shawna Dempsey and Lori Millan, 3 min, 2014, Super8mm/sound)
10. Postcard to an Unknown Soldier (Wayne Yung, 4 min, 2004)

Curator Bios

Ponni Arasu is a Tamil queer, feminist, activist, researcher and organizer of feminist film festivals. She is an actor and theatre practitioner. She is also a doctoral candidate in the Department of History, University of Toronto.

Sharlene Bamboat is a Toronto-based artist, working predominantly in film, video and performance. Shaped by a queer framework, her work calls into question narratives of diaspora, citizenship and nation-building. Through a re-examination of history, Bamboat elicits tongue-in-cheek performative videos and installations to question our contemporary moment marked by colonialism and neoliberalism. She is currently the Artistic Director at SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre).

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