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Meet Stuart Marshall – Art, Activism and the AIDS Crisis: Learning in a Public Medium

Conal McStravick

Artist | London, UK
World AIDS Day | 1 Dec. 2016 | 7pm | Maxwell-Cummings Auditorium | MMFA | 1379 Rue Sher-

brooke W.

You know David Wojnarowicz, Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe, Michael Callen, Hervé Guibert, General Idea, and maybe even Quebec vidéaste Esther Valiquette…. Meet Stuart Marshall (1949-1993).

In 1984, British video artist Stuart Marshall debuted two new works that boldly reacted to the homophobic response of international media to the AIDS crisis: the video installation, Journal of the Plague Year at Galerie Optica, Montreal as part of Video ’84; and the now icon- ic hybrid documentary Bright Eyes, for the 11th Hour on Channel 4, Marshall’s first for British television.

London-based artist and programmer Conal McStravick’s lecture will contextualise Marshall’s significant and influential works on HIV/AIDS by drawing on the works themselves, archival TV appearances and documentation. McStravick will illustrate how Marshall’s voice and his polemi- cal stance on the representation of HIV/AIDS and AIDS activism resonated with international audiences and helped to propel debates about the pandemic in new directions. By applying both experimental video and existing televisual forms and conventions, Marshall addressed feminism, queer politics and AIDS activism in turn. A method that would define an influential, intersec- tional cultural/ critical programme that continues to influence contemporary research and practice today.
“Meet Stuart Marshall” is accompanied by a panoply of World AIDS Week activities devoted to reviving the artist’s work: two screening programs of his most important short works, plus a restoration of Journal of the Plague Year in conversation with selected video works by Concor- dia sexuality and film students entitled Generations at the VAV Gallery.

Conal McStravick (b.1979, Lurgan, N.Ireland) makes solo and collaborative works to explore the histories, social practices, and economies of art and queer politics. In 2013, McStravick be- gan researching Marshall and has since developed a series of active research events titled Learning in a Public Medium. This series explores Marshall’s works, legacies and contemporary resonances as artist, activist, writer and educator through workshops, screenings and presen- tations. McStravick has appeared on panels at Glasgow Film Theatre, BFI London and Birkbeck Institute of the Moving Image to talk about queer film and video, Marshall and the Learning in a Public Medium project. In 2017, The Showroom, London are partnering with Conal McStravick & LUX to develop Learning in a Public Medium into a series of new dialogues with Marshall’s works at venues across the UK.
The lecture will take place in English.