2021 – A3: Under the Shadow of Empire

Under the Shadow of Empire: Minor Archives and Radical Media Distribution of the Americas before the Internet
Susan Lord (Queen’s University)

This panel will present preliminary research. USEM makes its unique contribution by investigating how media moved throughout the Americas between 1960 and 1990 and how that movement contributed to counter-publics during decades of tremendous state violence, new social movements and solidarity, and Indigenous sovereignty and Black liberation movements. Correlative to the print traffic/media distribution is the development of minor archives that became repositories of media and nodes in distribution networks. Based in the understanding that minor archives are very much tied to community and cultural memory, and that the movement of media is about the expansion of that memory and its activations, we see this project as a contribution to the theory and practice of the living archive. The history of counter-publics, solidarity and radical friendships, and other intersecting, justice-seeking activities in the cultural sector is especially pressing today and for the coming generations’ anti-racist, decolonial, and anti-imperialist work in archives, programming, digital humanities and activism. Each panelist will present preliminary research on a case study node in the network.

Curating Atmosphere
Tamara de Szegheo Lang (Queen’s University)

In this presentation, I forward a definition of queer curating that stresses the importance of collaboration, community-involvement, critical engagement, and attention to affect. Applying this to community-based archival spaces, I argue that curators within these contexts work to create affective atmospheres that allow for nuanced relationships between visitor and queer histories. I do so through analysis of the video collage work of Aleesa Cohene and the 2016 exhibition, “Tape Condition: degraded,” at Canada’s LGBTQ archives, The Arquives.

Diasporic Archives of Cuban Cinema: Vulnerable Journeys
Zaira Zarza (Université de Montréal)

This presentation discusses the vulnerable journeys of Cuban diasporic film archives and the relevance of archival work for film programming as a practice of research-creation. In doing so, it describes the current state and potential future of the archival project Roots and Routes: Cuban Cinemas of the Diaspora and its involvement with the partnership project Under the Shadow of Empire: Minor Archives and Radical Media Distribution in the Americas (USEM). Understanding diasporic archives as counteractives, I suggest an initial proposal for the display of references of Roots and Routes in the form of a technological platform that facilitates non-linearity and interactivity and allows remediation through participatory curation. The experience of working with solidarity organizations and networks of activism provided by USEM will be fundamental in the construction of an ever-growing space for the affective archives of Cuban migrant filmmakers.