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Working Papers Series: Lola Rémy | Zoom, Dec 5

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Join us for another online iteration of the Archive/Counter-Archive Working Papers Series, which brings together PhD students from different universities to hear about exciting academic research in the area of archival studies. Our next speaker is Lola Rémy, who is a post-doctoral researcher at McGill University. Lola's talk will be followed by a Q&A with the audience, moderated by our student organizers, Emily Barton and Elina Lex.

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Women’s Affective Labour in Experimental Film Archives: At the Margins of the North American Avant-Garde

Often underfunded and understaffed, experimental film archives require a great investment from their directors and staff members, often rooted in their personal connection to the artists whose works they preserve. Indeed, many wives, daughters, and personal assistants of experimental filmmakers became de facto archivists of their works when they passed, taking on the roles of archive directors and estate holders. Lola's research interrogates the boundaries of their affective labour rooted in kinship and care, which often blurs the spaces of home and work.

Women edited and acted in films, applied to funding, managed households, collected, and assembled archives, which organised the posterity of experimental filmmakers from the margins. However, experimental film archives conceal the labour that enabled them to come to light. They present a history of geniuses and authors, one that is gendered and incomplete. Indeed, the entangling of affective, domestic, and creative labour led to the devaluing of women’s contributions to experimental cinema. This Working Paper reflects on how a methodology of oral history can centre these archival margins. The practice of listening, as a feminist tactic, enables me to provide a corrective lens on avant-garde film history, traditionally marked by mostly male authors. Lola's presentation highlights women’s life stories, the entanglement of their creative and administrative archival work, and the strategies that they develop to mitigate the precarity of small archives.

Speaker Biography

Lola Remy is an FRQSC postdoctoral fellow at McGill University, Montreal. She completed her PhD at Concordia University in the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. Her postdoctoral project is an oral history that recentres women’s affective and gendered labour in experimental film archives. Her work on archives as sites of cultural encounters, racial and gendered violence, and reappropriation by communities and artists has appeared or is forthcoming in NECSUS European Journal of Media Studies, Frames Cinema Journal, Journal of Film and Video, and Synoptique, An Online Journal of Film and Moving Image Studies.