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Feminist video does collectivity exceedingly well. Certainly other politicized cultural movements and individuals work through this method, and, of course, feminists also produce work in collaboration in film and other media (as Julia Lesage testifies above). However, I assert that there is a profound natural mechanics to women's work in video that makes the medium's method, theory, and theme the interactive and politicized subjectification of the female sex. Film and patriarchy share the project of women's objectification-they make victims. Video and feminism see women as complex, worthy selves-they produce subjects. In feminist collaboration: video, the medium (inexpensive, debased, nonprofessional), the message (woman, as subject, needs to be constructed), and the ideology (the personal is the political; process over product) align into a near-perfect praxis. I should know: as producer and advocate of a great many such projects, I have found a beauty, synchronicity, and power in the process of making and screening feminist collaborative video that is, in these moments at least, almost emancipatory. And thus, this warning: though it is always postulated as an ideal, there is little writing about the realized feminist collaborative video. Here I will look at RELEASED: Five Short Videos about Women and Prison (a project I produced in 2000) to trouble, and sometimes celebrate, the neat alignment between video, subjectivity, collectivity, and feminism.


This article was originally published in Camera Obscura.



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