Lecture & Screening
Rachel O’Reilly, Dutch Art Institute

Thursday, November 3, 2016
4–6 PM

Discursive & Curatorial Productions Initiative
Structural & Materials Engineering 149
The Visual Cultures of Work research group
Co-sponsored by the Critical Gender Studies Program
University of California, San Diego

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.

Rachel O’Reilly is a poet, critic, independent curator and researcher whose work explores relationships between art and situated cultural practice, media and psychoanalysis, aesthetic philosophy, and political economy. Since 2015, she has been a Seminar Leader and Theory Tutor in the “How to Do Things with Theory” program at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem, The Netherlands. From 2013-14, she was in residence at the Jan van Eyck Academie, where she initiated The Gas Imaginary, a ongoing artistic research project which explores the speculative linguistics and dispossessive install of “unconventional extraction” investments in settler colonial space. From 2004-2008, she was a curator of film, video, and new media at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, including the Fifth Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art. She has a Master in Media and Culture from the University of Amsterdam. Her work has been published by Cambridge Scholars Press, MIT Press, Postcolonial Studies, and in museum exhibition catalogues.

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.