All scholars, activists, researchers, and artists of a certain age and inclination are burdened with a soon-to-be-obsolete but always-beloved, carefully tended but perhaps recently quieted, collection which most likely sits on an office shelf gaining dust: their VHS Archive. Not a personal collection, but a professional one of continuing or even growing value if not usability, this archive has been lovingly built and used, probably over decades, for teaching and research and in support of the movements and issues that have mattered most to the collector. The Brooklyn College graduate course in Film and Art, VHS Archives, models how to store, transfer, share, research, teach and make art from, and reactivate one such archive: 12 videotapes focusing on AIDS, gender, sexuality and bodies selected from Dr. Alexandra Juhasz’s 300+ scholarly collection of VHS tapes recently gifted to the Brooklyn College Library where they will be housed, and digitized, for further use for teaching and research.
Over a semester, the class will take the form of a student-generated, online, openly-available resource for teaching, learning, and activism about 12 tapes under consideration. In Juhasz's recent book, AIDS Crisis Revisitation: conversations on HIV, Media, and Memory, co-written with AIDS activist Theodore Kerr, we contemplate the liabilities of the up-to-now patrimonial stewardship of the AIDS media archive, and posit activist interventions to find, share, and learn from holdings more complex than the recently revisited experiences and legacies of gay white men. This class activates one portion of just such archive, ready to be enjoyed, used, and mined by women, people of color, students, scholars, activists, and others curious to attend to the histories and current realities of HIV—and VHS–in America.
Alexandra Juhasz is Chair of the Film Department, Brooklyn College. Recently, as a Professor of Media Studies at Pitzer College (1995-2016), she was the director of the Munroe Center for Social Inquiry (2014-2016), and led the Mellon funded Digital Humanities. While at Pitzer and at the Claremont Graduate University, she taught courses on media production, history and theory. She has a Ph.D. in Cinema Studies from NYU and has taught courses at NYU, Swarthmore College, Bryn Mawr College, Claremont Graduate University, and Pitzer College, on YouTube, media archives, activist media, documentary, and feminist film.
Jennifer McCoy's multimedia artworks examine the genres and conventions of filmmaking, memory and language. She works in collaboration with artist and NYU professor Kevin McCoy. They are known for creating video installation and sculpture. They were 2011 Guggenheim Foundation Fellows and 2005 Wired Rave Award winners. The McCoys' work has been widely exhibited in the United States and internationally; exhibitions include Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Pompidou Center (Paris), BFI (British Film Institute) Southbank (London), Hanover Kunstverein, The Beall Center (Irvine, Calif.), pkm Gallery (Beijing), The San Jose Museum of Art, and Palazzo della Papesse. Their work can be seen in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum and MUDAM in Luxembourg.
This open educational resource was created as part of the CUNY and SUNY 2017/18 CUNY OER Initiative 2017-2018. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NY State Legislature awarded CUNY and SUNY 8 million to develop, enhance and institutionalize new and ongoing open educational resources and pedagogy across both universities.
Special thanks to the CUNY Office of Academic Affairs, the CUNY Office of Library Services, Brooklyn College Administration and Professor Miriam Deutch, Coordinator, Brooklyn College Open Educational Resources Initiative.
Site design and formatting by Emily Fairey, Open Educational Resources Developer and Librarian.