PLASMA Presents: Metanoia: Aids, Women, Incarceration and Video Activism.
Organized and Facilitated by DMS Assistant Professor Margaret Rhee
A selection of videos curated by Katherine Cheairs and Alexandra Juhasz as part of the exhibition Metanoia: Transformation Through AIDS Archives and Activism, this screening focuses upon the stories, activism and struggles of women, particularly Black women and women of color, who organized and become activists around injustices facing incarcerated women. At the heart of these videos is a deeply feminist commitment to freedom and a linked understanding that those on the inside are part of life on the outside, even if structural and penal forces work to deny them these connections. Questions of faith, race, gender, sexuality, what-could-be and the weight of systemic violence on all people permeate the work.
Spanning several generations within the AIDS activist and related video movements, these videos honor the past and present of organizing work—its legacies, leaders and lessons—and offer insights into how activism of the not-so-distant past continues to inform contemporary movement work around incarceration. The videos also represent with power, beauty and eloquence, the transformative power of AIDS, activism and archives for women of color, prisoners and their allies.
Featuring the following films: I’m You, You’re Me: Women Surviving Prison, Living with AIDS (Catherine Saalfield-Gund and Debra Levine, 1992): 28 mins; Blind Eye to Justice, Directed and Edited by Carol Leigh. Produced by Cynthia Chandler (Women’s Positive Legal Action Network/ Justice NOW), 1998: 35 mins; Digital Stories, (From the Center/ Margaret Rhee, Isela Ford, and Allyse Gray, 2011): 15 mins.
“Kat” Cheairs is a filmmaker, educator, curator, activist and community artist. Ms. Cheairs is a co-curator of Metanoia: Transformation Through AIDS Archives and Activism, an archival exhibition focusing on the contributions of Black women, transwomen of color, and women of color HIV/AIDS activists from the early 1990s to the present. Kat is a member of the What Would An HIV Doula Do?Collective and currently serves on the Visual AIDS Archive Committee. Ms Cheairs is the producer and director of the documentary, Ending Silence, Shame & Stigma: HIV/AIDS in the African American Family, which has been sold to numerous colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. Kat’s new project in development, In This House, is a video installation exploring HIV/AIDS narratives through the Black body.
Kat has appeared and presented on panels at the Tribeca Film Institute, BAM, Pratt Institute, The New School, New York University, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Aperture Foundation, and UnionDocs. Ms. Cheairs holds a Master of Fine Arts in Film and Television Production from the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Tufts University. Ms. Cheairs designs and oversees the implementation of free, high quality art education programs for youth and adults as the Director of Education at Howl! Happening: An Arturo Vega Project, a non-profit art gallery dedicated to preserving the artistic legacy of the East Village and Lower East Side. Kat was born in Buffalo, NY, grew up in Atlanta, GA and now lives in Harlem, NY.
Dr. Alexandra Juhasz is a Distinguished Professor of Film at Brooklyn College, CUNY. She makes and studies committed media practices that contribute to political change and individual and community growth. She is the author of AIDS TV: Identity, Community and Alternative Video (Duke University Press, 1995); Women of Vision: Histories in Feminist Film and Video (University of Minnesota Press, 2001); F is for Phony: Fake Documentary and Truth’s Undoing, co-edited with Jesse Lerner (Minnesota, 2005); Learning from YouTube(MIT Press, 2011: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/learning-youtube); co-edited with Alisa Lebow, The Blackwell Companion on Contemporary Documentary(2015); with Yvonne Welbon, Sisters in the Life: 25 Years of African-American Lesbian Filmmaking(Duke University Press, 2018); with Jih-Fei Cheng and Nishant Shahani AIDS and the Distribution of Crises(Duke 2020); with Nishant Shah, FAKE!(Melos Press, 2020); and My Phone Lies to Me: Fake News Poetry Workshops as Radical Digital Media Literacy(Brooklyn: The Operating System, 2020). Dr. Juhasz is the producer of educational videotapes on feminist issues from AIDS to teen pregnancy as well as the feature fake documentaries The Watermelon Woman (Cheryl Dunye, 1997) and The Owls (Dunye, 2010). Her current work is on and about feminist Internet culture including fake news (http://scalar.me/100hardtruths) and Fake News Poetry Workshops (fakenews-poetry.org), YouTube (aljean.wordpress.com), and feminist pedagogy and community (feministonlinespaces.comand ev-ent-anglement.com). With Anne Balsamo, she was founding co-facilitator of the network, FemTechNet: femtechnet.org.
On Tuesday, March 10, Dr. Alexandra Juhasz will also present "My Phone Lies to Me: Fake News Poetry Workshops as Radical Digital Media Literacy Given the fact of Fake News" from 10-11:30am in CFA 112.