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RAI Film Seminar

Friday 29 April 2022 at 4.00-6.00pm (BST)

Anarchival Materiality in Archives

Speakers: Dr Kate Hennessy (Simon Fraser University) and Dr Trudi Lynn Smith (University of Victoria)


You can register for the Zoom event here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcvd-iqpjgvGdFwWvT4XI3Y8d8E0axBLa8o

In this talk, we present a series of video and photography-based research-creation artworks that have emerged through our collaborative exploration of anarchival materiality in archives. This work acknowledges and visualizes the agency of anarchival materiality, where the order and structure of human-made film archives and other fugitive collections are displaced by the lively anarchy of the materials themselves. Classification systems, spatial organization, and human responsibilities and actions are all fundamentally reshaped and determined by the uncooperative residents of archives, which vibrantly signal the transformative organic passing of time, unstable regimes of value and authority, and the collusion of natural processes in undermining the human desire for stability and persistence. From our explorations remediating degraded magenta film stock, to improvisational video work with photographic negatives, to documentation of fugitive paleontology collections and their stewards in northern British Columbia, Canada, we position our art-led practice as oriented towards an anthropology of the multimodal that is engaged with the materiality of ethnographic research, acknowledges the fugitivity of analog and digital collections, and includes speculative research-creation practices to communicate anthropological knowledge and theory.

Kate Hennessy and Trudi Lynn Smith are anthropologists and practising artists that have worked together as curators and collaborators since 2009 as a part of Ethnographic Terminalia, an international curatorial collective exhibiting and creating works at the intersection of art and anthropology. Hennessy is an associate professor at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology, where she leads the Making Culture Lab, an interdisciplinary research and production studio. Smith is an adjunct assistant professor in the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. Together they explore cultural practices of media, museums, and archives in the context of technoscience. Their art practice in video, photography, and text has engaged with entropy in diverse collections and the environmental, social, and political impacts of new digital memory infrastructures. Hennessy and Smith highlight collaboration and friendship as central to their work.



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