This article examines the legacy of issues of representation in the International Experimental Media Congress held in Toronto in April of 2010, twenty years after the contentious 1989 International Experimental Film Congress. On the surface, the two events embraced the same stated mission, to examine the “current state of experimental film and media on an international” scale. A number of explicit changes occurred between 1989 and 2010 regarding the material conditions of experimental media — physical, structural, institutional, and economic. The more recent congress examined the effects on experimental media wrought by the proliferation of digital technologies, the deterioration of media formats, the migration of the moving image into the museum, the experimental community's greater sense of itself as international, and shifts in the kinds of institutions and informal structures that support experimental art practices. However, one surprising continuity emerged in discussion at the 2010 congress: namely, the still fraught question of what constitutes adequate representation of minority voices. Despite the widespread tendency to assume that identity politics and representation are no longer important nor operative in contemporary academic discourse, the 2010 congress showed that long-dormant, but still-prickly, questions of inclusion, participation, and voice remain active — particularly in the still economically marginalized field of experimental media.
Research Article|December 01 2012