Personal Archives, Bad Feelings, and Queer Futurity

My personal archive is full of “bad feelings,” and ripe for exploration. By appropriating it, I try to both harness the bad feelings it contains to neutralize its negative charge and to increase visibility of issues facing the queer community. This has included revisiting a passive-aggressive email from an ex-boyfriend who confessed to cheating on me with nine guys; embracing the feelings of insecurity and inadequacy in the face of impossible beauty ideals; or encountering a threatening email from an “anonymous hacker” threatening to release a private video unless I paid them money. Through my work I try to consider the oft-unspoken experiences and feelings that shape a lot of young gay men’s affect and identity. As such my work is both about loss (of love, of innocence, of memory) and longing (for something more open, honest, and pleasurable). 

This presentation will involve viewing one or more of the following clips, with a brief artist talk.

Last Words [sic] (2017)
Ljungba.mp4 (Anonymous Hʌcker) (2019)
Remnants (2020) [excerpt]


Hugo Ljungbäck, Masters of Fine Arts Candidate
Department of Art and Art History
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

About the Presenter

Pronouns: he/him/his

I'm an MFA candidate in Studio Art, and my video work regularly explores queer subjectivities and tell underrepresented stories about intimacy, coercion, and memory. My video work is centered around personal experience, and part of it deals with what Heather Love has called the archive of “bad feelings.” As Love argues, there is an impulse in contemporary media to create positive, inspiring, affirmative images of queer people to prove that we can lead successful, meaningful, “normal” lives and be happy, too. But this creates what she identifies as a “gap between mass-mediated images of attractive, well-to-do gays and lesbians and the reality of ongoing violence and inequality.” She argues that, while these images are important in envisioning and creating a new future for ourselves, we also have to recognize and pay attention to the bad, dark, and depressing feelings that have shaped our shared cultural history, affect, and politics. 

Attend this Presentation

Day Two (Tuesday, October 13th, 2020) | Session Two (7:00pm - 8:00pm)

Duration: 10 minutes

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