Reproductive Labour was an exhibition that took place at The Showroom from 9th February – 26th March 2011.
It centred around the films, videos, politics and discussions that make up Cinenova – a volunteer-run, charitable organisation dedicated to preserving and distributing the work of women/feminist film and video makers.
The exhibition saw Cinenova’s films, videos and paper materials worked on and displayed in a number of ways. Invited selectors nominated a work from the collection for a daily feature throughout the seven-week run:
Bringing these together with a series of further screenings and events, this was a rare opportunity to watch and research pivotal works from the history of feminist, black, queer and experimental film and video, and together consider how they activate the present.
Through the course of the exhibition, visitors were encouraged to use the Cinenova catalogue and paper archive to find out more about certain films and videos, and to select titles that they’d like to see during the exhibition. It was also possible to request a tape or DVD from the workers of Cinenova and The Showroom, who are in the space at all times. In some cases, the only existing copy of the film is a film print, stored elsewhere, but all efforts will be made to facilitate a viewing. It is also possible to photocopy some of the paper materials on display, and to ask the person present to help.
The exhibition presented the case of Cinenova as a site that gives rise to reflections on the desires and problematics of collective cultural work, along with the practicalities and labour involved in maintaining such an organisation. These reflections were crucial to the thinking of Reproductive Labour, where it is hoped to make visible, and thereby transform, these processes.