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Going Viral: Mobilizing AIDS Archives in Digital Cultures
A vital supplement to scholarship on North American AIDS activism during the 1980s and 1990s, Marika Cifor’s Viral Cultures: Activist Archiving in the Age of AIDS (University of Minnesota, 2022) is the first book to critically examine the archives that keep the history and work of AIDS activisms alive. AIDS archives hold a powerful, if underacknowledged, significance in contemporary viral media cultures. In this talk, Cifor examines how by digitally remediating and transmitting viral imagery, aesthetic practices, and political actions from AIDS archives online through vital nostalgia practices contemporary artists Jess Mac, Kia LaBeija, and Demian DinéYazhi’ are reckoning with the whitewashed dominant narratives of the AIDS past. The artists use AIDS records as catalysts in art-activist mobilizations of virality that navigate the tensions between a longing to understand AIDS activist histories and the urgency of generating action to challenge the injustices that undergird current crises. Their work demonstrates the power of a vital nostalgia approach: activist longings for a past time and a way of accessing and using AIDS archives that identifies, addresses, and repairs structural power inequities. Positioning vital nostalgia as both a critical faculty and a generative practice, Cifor examines the act of saving this activist past and reanimating it in the digital age.

Marika Cifor, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Information School and adjunct faculty in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington. She is a feminist scholar of archival studies and digital studies. Her research investigates how individuals and communities marginalized by gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, and HIV-status are represented and how they document and represent themselves in archives and digital cultures.

This event is presented by The ArQuives in collaboration with the Critical Digital Humanities Initiative (https://dhn.lamp4.utoronto.ca/).

Sep 23, 2021 04:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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