Feminist Cinemas of Extraction lecture at UCSD

I was invited to the Visual Cultures of Work research group in the Discursive and Curatorial Production Initiative of the Department of Visual Arts at UC San Diego, to present this lecture ‘Feminist Cinemas of Extraction – Reading Divestment through the Historicity of Labor’

Thursday, November 3, 2016
4–6 PM


‘Mining has stood out as an exemplary industry through which labor and labor struggle has been historically imagined, imaged, and understood. Nevertheless, the formal conventions of radical labor film inherited from Soviet cinemas of the 1920s—in placing trope-like emphasis on machinic automation and the patriarchal ‘family’ wage—have tended to contract viewers into materially very limited and highly gendered readings of extractive politics. Feminist practices of art, film, and activism have long since grappled with this problem on an aesthetic level in accordance with the industry’s own revolutions of production. Rachel O’Reilly’s talk will address the intersection of unwaged, feminist sociality and labor cinema’s attention to the theory of value. Focusing on feminist experiments in cinematic form found in Sophie Bissonnette, Martin Duckworth, and Joyce Rock’s 1980 film Une Histoire de Femme—which tracks the work of Franco/Anglophone women in their support and organization of the historic 1978 International Nickel Company of Canada (INCO) strikes that took place in Sudbury, Ontario—O’Reilly will rethink the relationship between aesthetic politics, contractual form, and labor within present day settler colonial conditions with regard to its relevance for our own cultural work’.

The Visual Cultures of Work research group in the DCP Initiative in the Department of Visual Arts at UC San Diego examines cross-disciplinary ideas and influences—ranging from art history, film and media studies, the history of science, literature, feminist theory, and political history—in the economy of work within modern and contemporary visual culture. This event is co-sponsored by Critical Gender Studies at UC San Diego.

On Neutrality

Performance Lecture – On Neutrality. Between Non-Aligned Movement(s) and Neoliberal Curatorial Economies

Jelena, Vlidi and I were invited to Savvy Contemporary, by the wonderful curators Brigitta Isabella and Renan Laru-an as part of their exhibition ‘From Bandung to Berlin: If all of the moons aligned’. This was the second adapted performance lecture of On Neutrality: Between Non-Aligned Movement(s) and Neoliberal Curatorial Economies.


As part of ‘From Bandung to Berlin: If all of the moons aligned’
At Savvy Contemporary, Berlin-Wedding on October 22, 2016

The lecture-performance On Neutrality deals with the juxtapolitical concept of ‘neutrality’ or ‘neutralisation’ in terms of its use in political and aesthetical position-taking within different ‘international relations,’ especially as a response to discrepancies of power. In contrast to the moral minimalist concept of neutrality as it is mobilized in liberal governmentalities, historically and today, across art and politics, the project considers the rich variegated recent history of situated, politicised forms of political neutrality concepts, which stemmed from the active positioning of non-aligned and ‘third world countries’ gaining independence during the Cold War era and re-claiming neutrality as a politics of de-colonisation, independence, peace and non-alignment with the powerful world empires of the time… This politicised history of neutrality concepts will be juxtaposed with the waves of depoliticising neutrality, including curatorial neutralisations of politics, which, aided and abetted by the humanitarian rhetorics of contemporary art, persist in attenuating institutional anxiety and agonistic possibilities of production in contexts of re-colonisation by multinational corporations.

The project On Neutrality was first presented by Jelena Vesić and Rachel O ’Reilly at Museum of History of Yugoslavia, Belgrade in 2014 as part of the research and exhibition Travelling Communiqué. The lecture coincides with the launch of the book by Jerić, O’Reilly and Vesić titled: On Neutrality, The letter from Melos, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, 2016 (Edition: Non Aligned Modernity; English and Serbian language)