Video Pool Media Arts Centre in partnership with Archive/Counter-Archive are excited to present Everything is Permitted; Nothing is Possible a new program of works from the Video Pool collection curated by Madeline Bogoch. The program touches on issues of desire and labour under late capitalism through a collection of work that corresponds to a period of major shifts in all three, and with a focus on Queer and Feminist perspectives.
Statement from the curator
The title of the following program of films is named for a mistranslation I once heard attributed to French Marxist Michel Clouscard, in his critique of liberalism and free markets. While I haven’t been able to find a source for this citation, nor any conclusive context as to when and where it was printed, I misappropriate it here to invoke the enduring tension between capitalism, social liberty, and desire. The monopoly that consumer culture claims on pleasure conditions the belief that refusal is the only path beyond capitalism. By this logic, proponents of capitalism can neutralize dissent by appealing to the pleasure principle. Subjugating and manufacturing desire has proven an effective tool in naturalizing capitalisms’ inevitability, as filmmaker and writer William E. Jones claims,
“sexuality can be an agent of social control, as anyone can see by turning on a television. But it also has a utopian promise.”
The following program of films was selected to elicit the complex relationship between capitalism and desire both in terms of the libidinal capture of consumerism, and also the utopian potential Jones refers to. In the same interview, Jones very cautiously speaks of his nostalgia for a bygone era of queerness when “sex was still able to create a space for resistance and individual/collective agency.” Produced across a span of several decades, these films express varying attitudes towards the utopian potential of sexuality against the instrumentalization of desire in neoliberalism, and the politics of both labour and sex.
About the curator
Madeline Bogoch is a writer and programmer based in Treaty One territory/Winnipeg, MB whose work is focused primarily on experimental moving-image practices. She is the Manager of Media Collections at Video Pool Media Arts Centre, part of the programming committee for the Winnipeg Underground Film Festival (WUFF), and has additionally curated screenings with Vtape and Video Pool Media Arts Centre.