Debout! Feminist Activism and the Moving Image

31 May 2014, 11am – 7pm
Queen Mary, University of London

This symposium is co-organised by Ros Murray (Queen Mary, University of London) and Electra Productions and will celebrate the work of the Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir with screenings of work from their collection, selected by the centre’s director Nicole Fernández Ferrer.

The event will explore the legacies and relevance of feminist theory, film and video activism in European contexts: from 1970s participatory video to more recent cinematic work; and from activist documentary to experimental film through the work of Simone de Beauvoir, Chantal Akerman, Agnès Varda, Annabel Nicholson, Sally Potter, Alina Marazzi, Carry Gorney, Carole Roussopoulos and Delphine Seyrig, amongst others.

Speakers include George Clark (Tate), Nicole Fernández Ferrer (Centre Audiovisuel Simone de Beauvoir), Kate Ince (University of Birmingham), Laura Guy (Inheritance Projects), Lucy Reynolds (Central St. Martins), Ursula Tidd (University of Manchester), Marina Vishmidt (Cinenova), Ed Webb-Ingall (Filmmaker and writer), Emma Wilson (University of Cambridge).

“The Rhythm that Laughs You”: Women having fun unwork Valerie Solanas’ SCUM Manifesto for video

This paper considers the themes set out by Valerie Solanas in her SCUM Manifesto in relation to Carole Roussopoulos and Delphine Seyrig’s video of the same name, S.C.U.M. Manifesto (1976). Using the frame of reproduction provided by Solanas’ text, as well as the strategies employed by the video makers, I focus on this citation of SCUM at the intersection of feminist politics and video making in France in the 1970s. Figuring rhythm as one way in which repetition becomes legible, my discussion attempts to understand the reproductive impulse at work in this video and how it is registered by and through the feminist politics of the two video makers. Focussing on the productive tensions that arise between the thesis set out by Solanas in SCUM and the performance of her words to camera, this paper argues that the work is less an adoption of Solanas’ ideas than an attempt on behalf of Roussopoulos and Seyrig to inscribe radicality into video through its own reproductive potential.

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