The Feminist Media Studio supports and critically engages the complexity of mediations of gendered and queer social life in the context of the unfinished histories of European and American empire, enslavement, and colonization. It supports collective and collaborative study, as well as activist, curatorial, and artistic engagements which draw from the political potency and aesthetic experimentation of feminist media practice. Such creative and critical aesthetic engagements are firmly located in the intersectional feminist politics of the contemporary moment, an age marked by the proliferation of new media that have radically reconstituted not only the character of visual culture but also its channels of transmission and circulation.
As a practice-based lab, the Studio provides space and equipment for media production, post-production and exhibition, encouraging experimentation across established genre conventions (media and conceptual art, independent and documentary cinema, public art and performance, web-based interventions, VR, installation, ‘quick and dirty’ media). Alongside the equipment, which Concordia University members may check out for research-creation projects, the Studio hosts workshops, skills-sharing meetings, presentations by artists, curatorial programming, and one-on-one or group-based technical support. The Production Studio may also be booked by members for short- and longer-term creative projects.
As a research lab, the Studio seeks to foster an ongoing dialogue in feminist media studies, broadly constituted. This dialogue is shaped by invited lecturers (in the past, these have included Lauren Berlant & Kathleen Stewart, James Clifford, Wendy Chun, Teresa de Lauretis, Allan deSouza, Bishnupriya Ghosh, Renée Green, Trinh T. Minh-ha, and Kalindi Vora), who have presented on their work and led small seminars and workshops with FMS members. It is also shaped by forums for collaborative study, including a brainstorming “Implosion Exercise,” reading groups, writing prompts, presentations of work-in-progress and critiques. We have also hosted important research projects and public programs, including the “World of Matter” exhibition and symposium, the “Trespassing Europe” Summer Institute, and frequent collaborations with the HTMlles Festival in Montreal.
Currently, the Feminist Media Studio has undertaken an in-process collaborative living archive entitled “Doing Feminism in the Pandemic,” an opportunity to exchange, process, and write and make from the contemporary emergency conjuncture (in its gendered, racialized, class-based and other dimensions). This project has involved listening to those working on the ground for social justice, responding to prompts and questions by invited speakers, and engaging the world with profound questions about the crisis (#thecrisiswasalreadyhere), about emergent models for just and equitable living (#emergentmodels), and the everyday experiences of the pandemic (#theeveryday).
The slash symbolizes a complex tangle of relations. It can both separate and join information (as for example in the pair his/hers), and thus bind terms together in potent and pernicious ways. It can also, however, exemplify the political work of defamiliarizing commonplace assumptions about gender (s/he). While the slash has at times represented a comma (“and”), it has slipped semiotically to represent largely a division mark (“or”). The hints of earlier attachments, however, are found in the slash’s function in connecting a string of terms. The slash can be found across the fields of poetry, arithmetic, programming, philosophy, census forms, currency, and date formats. More than this, the slash hints at something more abrupt: cut, whip, stroke, gash, slit. Any attempt at connection also entails the risk of separating, dividing, binding, razing. The Feminist Media Studio borrows from the polysemous quality of the slash to figure the Studio’s openness, its role as a platform for other actions—be they collaborative projects, unforeseen connections, events, workshops, displays of critical, creative and political work. It revels in the obscurity of the relation signified by the slash, even as it remains open to the committed and passionate activities of its members, activities which complete its chain of signifying elements.