gem summer institute  

 Salemi, Italy 

 July 16-28, 2017 

The 2017 GEM Summer Institute was held at Centro Kim’s video archive in Salemi, Sicily (July 16-28). The institute was a collaboration between Dr. Joshua Neves’ Global Emergent Media (GEM) Lab, housed in the Faculty of Fine Arts and the Program in Film and Moving Image Studies at Concordia University, and Mr. Giuseppe Maiorana, cultural attaché of the municipality of Salemi. The summer program featured Concordia University faculty and graduate students, alongside a wide-range of internationally recognized artists and scholars, local volunteers and community participants, as well as graduate students from Leuphana University (Germany), the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, the Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara, and the Accademia di Belle Arti di Palermo, among other local partner institutions.

Centered on the themes “Living Archives” and “Southern Media Ecologies,” as well as problems of media, migration, and globalization, the Institute combines course modules in archival theory and practice, video and found footage projects, media and cultural theory, as well as a focus on local issues and the Centro Kim’s collection—itself a strange parable of media globalization. The story began in 2008 with the closure of Mondo Kim’s Video in New York, one of the best-known specialty video stores in North America. In September of that year, the owner of the store, Yongman Kim, posted a sign announcing that he would give the collection of 55,000 videos to an institution, school, or business able to accommodate the complete holdings, maintain the collection, and provide for future member access. After failed attempts to keep to collection in New York, there was a strange twist in the story. A charismatic and controversial media personality and then mayor of the ancient town of Salemi, Vittorio Sgarbi, successfully pitched the relocation of Kim’s Video as part of a grand cultural renewal project, including “a Never-ending Festival—a 24-hour projection of up to 10 films at once for the foreseeable future . . . and, eventually, the conversion of all Kim’s VHS films to DVDs to ensure their preservation.” In the spring of 2009, Kim’s moved to Sicily.

Following the path of Kim’s voyage to Italy, including the failure of Sgarbi’s original proposal to transform Centro Kim’s into a sustained and buzzing cultural site, the 2017 GEM Summer Institute will initiate a collective project to stabilize and reactivate the collection, and to establish a long-term collaborative network invested in living archives.




  Costanza Arena 
  Accademia di Belle Arti di Palermo 

Costanza Arena was born in Palermo, Italy, the 20th of December 1988. She studied at the Fine Art School of Palermo, where she followed the Audio/Video and Multimedia course and she graduated in July 2016 .
During and after the course at the fine art school, Costanza participated in many projects, workshops and local exhibitions. She is currently working in the video field in Palermo

  Miglė Bareikytė 
  Leuphana Universität Lüneburg 

Miglė Bareikytė holds degrees in Communication Sciences (B.A. at Vilnius University, 2010), Social and Political Critical Studies (M.A. at Vytautas Magnus University, 2012) and Media and Political Communication (M.A. at Free University of Berlin, 2015). She is currently a member of the Research Training Group “Cultures of Critique” at the Leuphana university with the PhD project exploring the development of internet as infrastructure in Lithuania after the disintegration of the Soviet Union from an ethnographic perspective. Main fields of interest: media theory and ethnography of infrastructures, STS, histories of Internet(s), relation between theory and empirical studies.

  Piyusha Chatterjee 

  Concordia University, Montreal 

Piyusha Chatterjee is a PhD student in an interdisciplinary program at Concordia University in Montreal. Her interests are in the field of oral history, political economy of the city, post-industrial landscapes, sound studies, media publics and media in Global South. She was born and raised in India and has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Delhi University and a Master's degree from the English and Foreign Languages University in Lucknow. She worked as a news editor for newspapers for eight years. Her two-year stint as a curator at the Center for Public History, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, in Bangalore introduced her to oral history methodology and projects. She is currently rethinking her PhD proposal through an intersection of urbanism, media and oral history.

  Giuseppe Fidotta 

  Concordia University, Montreal 

Giuseppe Fidotta is a PhD student in Film and Moving Image Studies at Concordia University, Montreal. His key research areas are Italian media history, visual culture, film geography, and political history. His work has been published in journals such as NECSUS: European Journal of Media Studies, Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies, Fata Morgana, and Immagine. He also co-edited At the Borders of (Film) History. Temporality, Archaeology, Theories (Forum, Udine 2015) and Introduzione all'archeologia dei media (Meltemi, Rome 2017).

  Rebecca Holt 

  Concordia University, Montreal 

Rebecca Holt is an incoming Phd student in Moving Image Studies at Concordia University. Her research is concerning the sensual and technological structures of free online pornography. Her forthcoming Masters' thesis analyses the PornHub Insights Blog with a specific focus on their use of big data and data visualization.

  Ilona Jurkonytė 

  Concordia University, Montreal 

Ilona Jurkonytė is a Vanier Scholar at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, where she is pursuing a PhD degree in Film and Moving Images studies programme. Ilona’s academic interests are in critically assessing the tensions amongst the transnational, the global and the national in film studies. She is currently researching the possibilities and potentials of including oceanic approaches in film studies.

Ilona combines her academic interests with film curatorial practice. Before starting the PhD studies, she has been working as an artistic director for nine years at Kaunas International Film Festival and as a film programme curator between 2012-2014 at Contemporary Art Centre Cinema in Vilnius, Lithuania. 

  Sima Kokotović 

  Concordia University, Montreal 

I am a film and media studies grad student living in Montreal at the time. My work focuses on getting some clue about existing and potential relationships between academic research, left politics and radical film and media cultures in these harsh neoliberal times. 

  Sabrina Melis 

  Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milano 

Sabrina Melis is an Italian artist, interested in new media and technology. In her work she uses fiction to combine real things and facts with hypothesis of reality, using different media, especially video. She attended the Architecture and Design Department of Alghero achieving a BA in Industrial Design in 2011 and an MA in Communication Design in 2013. There, she starts in 2014 her research in Multimedia Languages, still ongoing. Now she is attending an MA in Multimedia Arts (Cinema and Video) at Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera (Milano).

  Laura Nina 

  Accademia di Belle Arti di Palermo 

My name is Laura Nina and I study Audio/Video and Multimedia at Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo. I’m fascinated by the contemporary generation of Italian documentary film directors. I see people’s life and I explore the place where they live to capture traces of their past. My work is focused on telling the truth through the extraordinary nature of ordinary life.

  Weixian Pan 

  Concordia University, Montreal 

Weixian Pan is a PhD candidate in Film and Moving Image studies at Concordia university in Montreal. Her dissertation examines how hegemonic narratives on global connectivity and digital media unfolds across different "Southern" terrains: from urban infrustructures in the Pearl River Delta, to popular media around the South China Sea, to air pollution in the global South. Her other research interests include: urban studies, global video culture, cultural geography and environmental media. She recently published on the journal Asiascape: Digital Asia, and she is currently collaborating with her colleagues at the GEM lab on the 'lifestreaming' working group

  Nelly Y. Pinkrah 

  Leuphana Universität Lüneburg 

Nelly Y. Pinkrah is a Ph.D. student/research assistant at the RTG »Cultures of Critique« at Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany. She is following Édouard Glissants poetics and writings on opacity, while thinking about its concrete forms and formations and its possible (decolonial) effects in regard to early cybernetic epistemology and contemporary cybernetic societies. From November 2012 until October 2013 she co-organized the annual conference of the German Society for Media Studies and since November 2013 she has been working at the Centre for Digital Cultures, Lüneburg. She is engaged in political projects and is a Humanity in Action senior fellow. Areas of interest are: Digital media, technology, political thoughts and practices, black feminist theory, decolonialism, intellectual and cultural history.

  Matías Ezequiel Reyes 

  Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara 

Born in 1993 in Argentina, I moved to Italy when I was nine. Interest in arts and technology brought me to the Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara, where skepticism towards  originality and the idea of the author made me focus on appropriation and remix. I got my BA degree with a dissertation on sexual representation in non-pornographic cinema, with Prof. Francesco Galluzzi as a tutor. I’m currently attending an MA degree in Net Art and Digital Cultures at the the Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara.

  Perla Sardella 

  Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milano 

Perla Sardella is an italian filmmaker. She graduated from NABA, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti di Milano, in Media Design and Multimedia Arts. Her first short film Comfort Zone (2015) has been premiered at the 33th Torino Film Festival, and has been shown at various film festivals in Italy and Europe, as well as in various italian galleries. She’s currently doing an MA in Cinema and Video at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, while working on personal projects and organizing screenings of independent films in her small hometown with Una Rassegna Cinematografica.

  Joaquín Serpe 

  Concordia University, Montreal 


Joaquín Serpe is a Film and Moving Image Studies PhD student at Concordia University, Montreal. An Audiovisual Designer from the University of Buenos Aires, Joaquin worked in the Argentine public television industry as a sound engineer before starting his graduate studies in Canada. For his doctoral project, he is exploring the figure of the public intellectual in the media in relation to the ideas of hegemony, the organization of culture, and populism. His research interests include political theory, the economies of media industries, labor practices in cinema and television, and contemporary Latin American and Eastern European cinema.

  Egor Shmonin 

  Concordia University, Montreal 


Born and raised in Russia, I hold a BA and MA from Smolny College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in St. Petersburg with a major in Contemporary Art and Film Criticism. As a video artist and curator, I constantly navigated the borders between the digital and the analogue, cultural identity and colonial history, personal narratives and collective memory. For several years, I’ve been working as a Film festival curator and manager in Saint Petersburg. Currently, I am a PhD student in Film Studies at Concordia. My research is focused on undergoing processes and changes occurred in the post-socialist societies and cultures before and after 1989. My project is dealing with the post-conflict situation and decontamination of the cultural environment in Balkan region during the collapse of the USSR. 

  Patrick Brian Smith 

  Concordia University, Montreal 


Patrick Brian Smith is a Film and Moving Image Studies PhD Candidate in the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University, Montreal. His research interests include experimental nonfiction cinema, the politics of space, Marxist geography, late-capitalism's (un)representability, and the essay film. He is currently working on a thesis project entitled "The Politics of Spatiality in Experimental Non-Fiction Cinema," which maps out the presence of a spatio-political tendency within a diverse corpus of contemporary experimental nonfiction films. In addition, he has recently published a video work through the multimedia journal Now! A Journal of Urgent Praxis, entitled Protect Yourselves: NoDAPL.

  Giulio Zannol 

  Accademia di Belle Arti di Carrara 

He started the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara, Italy, in 2007. In 2011, he interned at the Intermedia Arts studio of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland. Also in 2011, he successfully obtained the Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara, with the diploma work titled “Death to Hollywood - The American independent Cinema”, a research on the out-of-the-mainstream filmmaking, with an exclusive interview with Harmony Korine. During the first half of 2012, he started working for Artyčok TV, an online platform/archive for the Contemporary Art based in Prague, Czech Republic. Nowadays he is on his way to the Master of Art Degree in Net Art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Carrara, Italy.



 July 16-28, 2017
 Centro Kim's, Salemi, Sicily 








The GEM Summer Institute is supported by a 2017 SSHRC Connection grant, the Canada Research Chairs program, the Municipality of Salemi, as well as the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Museo Civico Castelbuono, and the Center for Digital Cultures at Leuphana University