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BIOGRAPHY

Hugo Ljungbäck (b. 1996) is a Swedish video artist, film curator, and media scholar. His research focuses on the intersection of video art, media archaeology, and the archive, and examines the materiality of the moving image and its processes of mediation. His award-winning videos, which have screened at over 50 festivals and museums internationally, regularly explore queer subjectivities and tell underrepresented stories about intimacy, coercion, surveillance, and historical memory. He is a PhD Student in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago and holds an MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BFA in Film and Media Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He is Co-chair of the Association of Moving Image Archivists’ Small Gauge and Amateur Film Committee and Editor of Artifact and Apparatus: Journal of Media Archaeology.


ARTIST STATEMENT

As a gay teen, seeing images of queer people telling queer stories was an incredibly empowering and reassuring experience as I struggled to accept my own identity, and I learned early about the power of seeing yourself on screen. That’s why, for the past five years, my research and creative practice have been centered around and informed by HBTQ+ themes. Through my video work, I counter mainstream and stereotypical images of gay men and youth by regularly exploring queer subjectivities and telling underrepresented stories about intimacy, coercion, surveillance, and historical memory. I am interested in the representation of bodies on screen and how they are photographed, framed, and mediated through technologies of vision, and I routinely make myself the subject of my camera. As such, my work is often durational, gestural, and performative, and ideas of authenticity, reality, and artifice are always at stake. My practice is also strongly informed by a media-archaeological methodology. This interest manifests itself through my use of “obsolete” media technologies, archives, found footage, and a self-reflexive aesthetic that foregrounds the materiality of the moving image and its processes of mediation through compression, interference, and noise.

My work develops a broader conception of found footage filmmaking in response to the ephemerality of queer history. “Queer archiveography,” as I call it, is polysemic, plural, and promiscuous, and my videos use appropriated text, photos, sound, and video to make visible the hidden, unflattering, and often unarchivable traces of queer experience. In the face of archival absences, ephemera fill in the gaps and omissions of the archival record and become generative sites of queer history-making, foregrounding the counter-archive as a repository of traces of alternative, forgotten, and overlooked histories of queer love and intimacy. Culled from love letters, home movies, sex tapes, spam emails, selfies, memes, screenshots, mainstream media, and pornography, this ephemeral archive allows me to interrupt mainstream representation, excavate forgotten queer histories, and reimagine alternative queer-media futures.