Public lecture: 'Exhaustion and Agency – Decolonizing Cinematic Necropolitics' by Paula Albuquerque

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Monday 16 May, 19:30 | Netherlands Film Academy (Cinema on the 2nd floor)

We invite you to join our public lecture Exhaustion and Agency – Decolonizing Cinematic Necropolitics by Paula Albuquerque on the 16th of May at 19:30. RSVP via this link

Surveillance is key to the attention economy, creating assets that capitalise on exhaustion. Bodies as self-extractive media support a self-replicating ecology in a cinematic mode of existence, where both human and non-human wither under maximized visibility. Besides working with archives which are 24/7 in-the-making, harboring footage of contemporary forms of surveillance including CCTV, webcams, armed drones and deepfake, I also engage with traditional film archives at present.  

A retroactive analysis finds roots of proto-surveillance in early documentary practices portraying colonized living environments. Taking a decolonial and anarchival positioning, my practice seeks to unearth the mechanisms subjectifing bodies under the guise of medical and religious propaganda. These have been determinant for creating gender and race stereotypes of those native to exploited occupied territories during European colonialism.  

As method, I rely on transmedial artistic research by engaging in the making of film-based artwork with past and present precarious imagery comprising visual surveillance media footage that unveils stereotype-inducing ghosts inherent to the machine, but also testifies to modes of resistance emerging from intergenerational experience – where cataclysms similar to the Anthropocene have been a reality for the past five centuries. Post-human theory is here considered as a medium, entangled and embedded in the production of pre-linguistic epistemic objects.  

Experimentation with establishing continuities between past and present archival footage, is in my present work a vehicle for unlocking and materializing a reclaimed agency and the haunting desire required to shift from the present control-based mode of production to emancipated living beyond burnout.  

Portuguese artist and scholar living in Amsterdam with artwork shown in solo exhibitions at Nieuw Dakota Gallery (2020), Bradwolff Projects Gallery (2018), former Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam (2016), International Film Festival Rotterdam (2016) and Sheffield DOC|Fest (2020).  

Published the books Enter the Ghost - Haunted Media Ecologies (solo exhibition project book, 2020) and The Webcam as an Emerging Cinematic Medium (Amsterdam University Press, 2018).  

Regularly presents at conferences, i.e. Media in Transition, MIT, and Visible Evidence, School of Cinematic Arts, Los Angeles and is affiliated with the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the University of Amsterdam.  

Caption of the Picture:  
The Symbol of the Thing in the Thing Itself 
Three-Screen Video Installation – 15’ video loop – Amsterdam 
3 Large Flat Screens on Floor Stands, Earth, Wallpaper, 2 Books 
Performers: Fernanda Romann, Mariana Lanari, Tania Camara 
Deepface Lab Models trained by Joost Koster 
Presented at: 
Enter the Ghost – Haunted Media Ecologies 
Solo Exhibition:
Nieuw Dakota, Amsterdam, 2020