For this edition, the activities of the media archaeology section will revolve around the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on activism and radical medical ecologies (Goddard). More specifically our primary focus will be the interrelationships between digital (Lieuvrow, Pickard) and archival activism (Flinn) regarding the COVID pandemic. In fact, although we experienced several limitations in our social lives during the last months, making us feel like our existence was frozen, many social struggles had been fought or arose for the first time. One way or the other, these struggles took place in a highly mediated environment: digital media became crucial to organize strikes, providing essential information to those who were marching in the streets. At the same time, the digital environment presented itself as a place populated by fake news and media manipulations.
In the Media Archaeology section of the school, thus, we will investigate this double edge, comparing new practices of media contention to old ones – for instance, the use of video technologies between the Eighties and the Nineties (see Alexandra Juhasz’s works) – and focusing on those new archives that have been created during the activities of digital activism. We will try to pinpoint elements of innovation and consistency, and, drawing on them, to highlight the role of media technologies in our social and political lives.
In my committed queer media praxis, I attempt to demonstrate how a theory-rich, community-based, outcomes-oriented, applied and adaptive research and production method—medium agnostic—modified to approach specific projects that matter to queers (and their kin), can produce things (websites, videos, chapters, actions, art, writing, classes) that save and can be saved, including when done right or well, what matters most: our queer lives and loves. In this talk, I will give an overview of this kind of medical media archeology, my own committed queer media praxis, by way of at least seven fakes, in as many forms, over 25 years leading to a 2020 podcast, book of poetry (My Phone Lies to Me), and other related forms of radical pandemic media literacy during COVID-19.
Alexandra Juhasz is Distinguished Professor of Film at Brooklyn College, CUNY. She is a core faculty member in the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Certificate Program at the CUNY Graduate Center. Juhasz writes about and makes feminist, queer, fake, and AIDS documentary. Her current work is on online feminist pedagogy, YouTube, and other more radical uses of digital media and their archives. Her work as media artist, curator, and writer engages with linked social justice commitments, including AIDS, black queer and lesbian media, feminist and queer/trans film, and activist archives and collectives.