Panel 7: Spreading and repurposing images

2 December 2012, NAB 314, 13.30-15.00 || Chaired by Noémie Oxley

Marketing into Value Generation, and/or Affective Revolution

Ya-Feng Mon, Goldsmiths College

In ‘Value and Affect’, Antonio Negri contends that ‘labor finds its value in affect, if affect is defined as the “power to act”’. The contention is put forward against the backdrop of late capitalist subsumption, where late capitalist economy absorbs all aspects of life, insomuch as the productive force of labor is now not only exploited within the process of industrial production but extensively within the processes of social reproduction. With both production and reproduction at capital’s disposal, all human actions constitute real stakes in the current economic system.

One way to understand the ‘value’ in affect/action is hence to identify it with economic value, that is, the profit, or capital’s reproduction. But Negri’s theory is meant to ‘free’ the significance of affect from any possible reduction by economic calculation. He argues instead that affect enjoys an uncontainability by either late capitalist monetary regime or any objective-specific ‘use’ scheme. Furthermore, Negri concludes, this irreducible value plants the seeds of ‘revolutionary reconstruction’.

Analyzing the practice of 21st century Taiwan film marketing, this paper discusses a late capitalist industry’s struggle for value production. Heavily internet-featuring, 21st century Taiwan film marketing has thus far presented an industry’s arduous journey into capital reproduction. Affect-infused, the practice witnesses the capability of labor/action to create values that are dubiously capital-(un)friendly. Mundanity-bound, it also provides a window into a further twisted vision of affect-based social revolution.

My conclusion is twofold. Firstly, in capital’s highly intricate relation to labor/affect, much of its pursued productivity cannot avoid the threat of hindrance from affect’s uncontainability. By itself, uncontainable affect could also lead up to capital’s unproductivity, or capital’s un-reproductivity. Secondly, affect-based revolution against late capitalism is a possibility whose materialization requires no less surmounting of affective uncontainability. Affect retains the ultimate quality of ambiguity. However it might thus obstruct the progress of capital reproduction, it could do that of anti-capitalist insurrection.

Ya-Feng Mon is PhD candidate at the Department of Media and Communications in Goldsmiths College, University of London, where she researches industry-audience experiential engagement by probing the relevance of cinema and the internet as prominent technological mechanisms that have informed both film production and film consumption. Her works have been presented in various academic conferences. ‘Tragic But Brave’, her critical essay on the documentary films by British filmmaker Kim Longinotto, is published in The Book on Women-made Moving Images (Ed. Taiwan Women’s Film Association. Taipei: Bookman Books) in 2006.

Active Archives use cases


An active archive is a decentralized archive which is not only open for reading but also for re-appropriation, comment, divergences, transformations.
AA is a long-term research project that manifestly promotes distribution, re-use, linking and alteration of archive material in a networked context as a preservation method.

This presentation integrates examples of how Active Archives tools are used by cultural associations and institutions, highlighting different ways in which it cross-connects and expands video and audio images.

Constant is a non-profit association, an interdisciplinary arts-lab based and active in Brussels since 1997. It works in-between media and art and is interested in the culture and ethics of the World Wide Web. The artistic practice of Constant is inspired by the way that technological infrastructures, data-exchange and software determine our daily life. Free software, copyright alternatives and (cyber)feminism are important threads running through the activities of Constant.

Exhibiting politically sensitive stories in Northern Ireland: the Prisons Memory Archive

Laura Aguiar, Queen's University Belfast

This presentation discusses possible ways of exhibiting politically sensitive stories from Northern Ireland’s contested past. Between 2006 and 2007, the Prisons Memory Archive (PMA) took 175 participants, including former prisoners, prison staff, teachers, chaplains, visitors, solicitors and welfare workers back to the Maze/Long Kesh Prison and Armagh Gaol to share the memory of the time spent there during the Northern Irish Troubles.

The PMA adopted non-interventionist interviewing techniques: instead of a pre-determined set of questions, the PMA let the prison site stimulate participants’ memory while they walked and talked. Furthermore, it utilised a key element to establish trust between filmmaker and participants: the sharing of ownership, which gives the participants the right to veto as well as to participate in the processes of editing and exhibiting their stories. A third feature is inclusivity: the archive holds stories from different sides within the prisons, from prisoners to Prison Officers, from men to women. The combination of these three protocols has proved to be important when dealing with politically sensitive stories in a post-conflict context.

While we seek funding to create an interactive digital archive of all the PMA recordings, we have started bringing some of the stories to the public through documentary screenings and screen installations. In 2011, the 30min film 'Unseen Women: Stories from Armagh Gaol' with stories from a prison officer, two Open University tutors, one loyalist prisoner and three republican prisoners, has been shown in both formats. We are currently editing another linear documentary about the women’s experience as visitors, teachers, etc. in the Maze/Long Kesh prison, which held male prisoners. This will be ready in Spring 2013 and we are currently seeking new ways of exhibiting it.

Laura Aguiar is a PhD candidate in Film Studies at Queen’s University Belfast. She holds a BA in Journalism from Fumec University, Brazil, and a Master in Media and Communication from Stockholm University, Sweden. Her current practice-based research focus on collaborative film editing and screening of stories of the women’s experiences in the Maze/Long Kesh prison in Northern Ireland. Laura has also worked as a freelance journalist in Brazil and Sweden.