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Launch Event

Queer London Research Forum

Launch Event

Queerness, the Digital Archive and London

with Christa Holka (artist/photographer) and Sam McBean (LSE)

For our launch event we are pleased to welcome the artist/photographer Christa Holka and Sam McBean from the Gender Institute, LSE, who will be discussing the intersections between queerness, the digital archive and London, which they both interrogate in their work.

Katherine M. Graham and Simon Avery will open the event with some remarks about the development and future of the Forum overall, and the main discussion will be followed by a wine reception in the foyer.

The discussion between the two participants will be prefaced by a short presentation from each. Holka’s will aim “to show how the different aspects of my work come together to form not only my personal (mostly online) archive but also contribute to a larger record of a certain queer time and place in London. This broad survey of my work also proposes new possibilities for the queer archive as we have known it and explores what these possibilities could mean”. McBean will then “consider Facebook as comprising a photographic archive of one version of ‘queer London’. Through exploring Facebook as an affective site, I consider how contemporary online archives might remediate ‘older’ queer archives. In this, I suggest they both promise contemporary subjects the opportunity to ‘feel historical’ as well as challenge the temporal coherence of contemporary ‘queer London’”.

Christa Holka is an American artist who lives and works in London. Her work focuses on documenting and archiving the communities in which she exists. From portraits of friends and peers, to images of her everyday life and the high-energy club nights she and her friends frequent, to directed cinematic narratives, to film and television stills, Holka’s work contributes to a living record of a particular time and place while exploring personal narrative, memory, identity, self-representation and art practice.

Christa has exhibited work in galleries in the U.S., London, Berlin and Athens. Her work has also been featured on’s Art:21 blog. She has also given artist talks about her work at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, the Tate Modern, London and at Union Docs in Brooklyn, New York.

Sam McBean is a Visiting Fellow at the LSE Gender Institute and a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Westminster. Her research is broadly interested in queer and feminist literary, media and cultural theory and questions of temporality. Her current project takes a queer feminist approach to new media and digital sites (such as Facebook, YouTube, and Tumblr), focusing in particular on the affective temporalities of these media platforms. She has work published and forthcoming in the journals Feminist Review, Camera Obscura, Feminist Theory, Journal of Lesbian Studies and Sexualities.

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