Professor Janine Marchessault (Cinema and Media Studies, York University)
Co-sponsored by the School for Studies in Art and Culture
Followed by a reception in the History Lounge (433 Paterson Hall)
Expo 67 was a spectacular showcase of avant garde audio-visual technology and multi-screen film. One might expect that its cinematic legacy would have been lovingly preserved for posterity. Instead, only some of its films have been properly archived. Many more were misplaced and forgotten, and while some have recently been recovered, others seem to have been lost forever.
This lecture explores the possibility that the Expo zeitgeist was at odds with the archival impulse. Immediacy and simultaneity defined Expo’s mediatic displays, creating an ever-unfolding total environment infused with what has been described as the ‘enduring ephemeral’ (Chun, 2008). Does an event with an ahistorical sensibility somehow pre-empt preservation for posterity?
Recent anarchival artistic projects and films about the utopian Expo moment play on this possibility. Space Fiction & the Archives (film and installation Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen 2012) and By the Time we got to Expo (Philip Hoffman/Eva Kolcze 2015) are works of dynamic excavation that undermine any attempt to stabilize public memory of Expo 67.