Aging, Queerness, and Digital Remediation


The seminar Wellbeing in Minorities (WeBeMi), University of Helsinki, Finland, presents its next online session on the topic:

“Aging, Queerness, and Digital Remediation: Senior Prom and The Motel Sisters in Care as Affective Infrastructures”

The guest talk will be held on February 21, 14:00 (Helsinki Time), 13:00 (Vienna Time) at Zoom:

You are welcome to attend this talk digitally via Zoom.

Dr. Stefan Schweigler
University of Vienna & University of Graz, Austria

My paper discusses the US American short documentary Senior Prom (2021) provided on the YouTube channel PBS Voices, and the digital media coverage of the Australian artist-in-residence project The Motel Sisters in Care (2018). Both works critically focus on intersections of age(ing), queerness, discrimination, and institutional power. Partially, their potential to challenge heteronormativity and ageism emerges as these projects are representing older age and queer identity in empowering ways of camp aesthetics. As I would like to argue though, the digitalization and digital availability of these images and narratives adds another layer of potentiality that constitutes both works in the processes of "remediation" (Bolter/Grusin 1999). By boldly entering digital platforms and media ecologies of "digital ageism" (Rosales et al. 2023), the queer projects discussed are also negotiating what digital media is, or could become, especially with regard to a queered, intergenerational, and caring digital collectivity that stands in opposition to the naturalization of the often assumed digital paradigm of homophily and segregation (Chun 2018). Following concepts of Lauren Berlant (2022), this paper concludes with proposing that Senior Prom and The Motel Sisters in Care should be viewed as "affective infrastructures" that are "building alter-life from within life."


Stefan Schweigler (he/him/his) is a postdoctoral University Assistant of Theory and Aesthetics of Digital Media at the Department of Theater, Film, and Media Studies (tfm) at the University of Vienna, Austria, and a Junior Fellow in the Elisabeth-List-Fellowship Project "Gender Matters: Aging, Care, and Migration" at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Aging and Care (CIRAC) at the University of Graz, Austria. He holds memberships in the European Network in Aging Studies (ENAS) and in the AG Gender/Queer/Media Theory of the German speaking Society for Media Studies (GfM). His research and teaching foci involve Gender, Queer, Aging, Dis/ability, Care, Affect, and Media Studies with particular interest in Epistemology, Collectivity, Infrastructuralism, and Intersectionality.


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