Strange Objects: The Ateliers Varan and the Archives of the 1983 Bolivian Miners’ Super 8 Workshop
w/ Miguel Errazu (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
Co-sponsored by the GEM Lab and the Concordia Media History Research Centre
//September 22, 2023
This talk focuses on one of the first experiences of media transference workshops conducted as a result of a cooperation project between Europe and Latin America: the Bolivian Miners’ Super 8 Workshop held at Telamayu (Bolivia) in the autumn of 1983. This workshop was the result of a collective effort between various local agents and unions and a French non-governmental organisation, the Ateliers Varan. The cinema they imagined, those ‘strange objects’ half way between ethnographic practice and activism, between experimental films and television newsreels, are key for understanding the complex genealogies of independent and grassroots audiovisual practices and networks in Latin America. However, the material history of these films and the current state of the archives also speak of the unequal cultural exchange that defined the emergence of media transference projects.
Miguel Errazu is a postdoctoral researcher at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Spain). His work addresses the cultural history of Latin American counter-hegemonic cinemas, with an especial focus on Mexican filmmaking. Recently, he co-edited the special issue "Super 8 contra el grano” (Super 8 against the grain) in Secuencias. Revista de historia del cine no. 55 (2022). He is currently conducting a research project in the Elías Querejeta Zine Eskola (EQZE), "Strange objects. Archives of the audiovisual workshops run by the Training and Researching Centre in Direct Cinema in Latin America”, which is part of the Z-A Filmakers’ Archive, a project run by the EQZE in collaboration with Medialab Tabakalera.