March 25 Gabriela Aceves-Sepulveda- “Mujeres que se Visualizan”: (En) gendering archives and regimes of media and visuality in post-1968 Mexico

Mujeres que se Visualizan”: (En) gendering archives and regimes of media and visuality in post-1968 Mexico

In this talk I will first present an overview of my art practice and its connections with my research on archival technologies, visual culture, performance and media history. Then, I will discuss my work on the histories of feminist media in post-1968 Mexico. In this project, I put forward the concept of visual letradas (visually literate women), to discuss the limits and possibilities in the artistic work of women who by the second half of the twentieth century had became more openly concerned with performing and recording audio-visual information about how their bodies were visually construed and politicized. I argue that this transformative process was indicative of broader transformations in historically constituted fields of power and knowledge in the context of both the emergence of transnational new wave feminisms and the shift in Mexican intellectual sectors away from an exclusive emphasis on literate-print culture and towards an embrace of audio-visual communications. Based on recently opened archives of the Mexican secret services, as well as photographic documentation on feminist demonstrations, oral testimonies, interviews, videos, performances, and films, my study shows the ways in which visual letradas transformed intellectual spheres of influence previously conceptualized as privileged masculine territory, or the space of the letrado (literate man). In doing so, I map out how access to audio-visual technologies along with the increased participation of women in Mexico’s mediascapes shaped the emergence of political subjectivities that posited the female body, gender difference and sexual violence at the forefront of public debates in Mexico during the last decades of the twentieth century. Ultimately, my study shows how the practices of visual letradas constituted critiques of dominant archival traditions and questioned what counted as politics.


Dr. Gabriela Aceves Sepulveda is a cultural historian and interdisciplinary media artist working at the intersections of video and performance with a research focus on feminist media, visual culture and Latin American art history.  She received a Bachelor degree in Graphic Design from La Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara in 1995, a Master degree in Visual Arts from York University in 2001, and a Master in Art History in 2007 and PhD in Cultural History in 2014 from the University of British Columbia. Her work has been funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC); Consejo Nacional para la Ciencia y la Tecnologia, Mexico (CONACyT) and the Ontario Arts Council (OAC). She has been a board member of various artist-run-centers including: CAFKA (Kitchener-Waterloo, 2001-2004), ACCESS Gallery (Vancouver, 2005-2007) and VIVO MEDIA ARTS (Vancouver, 2014). As member of the art collective AKA she has participated in collective art projects in and around Vancouver since 2013.  She is currently working on a book monograph tentatively titled “Mujeres que se visualizan: (En) gendering archives and regimes of media and visuality in post-1968 Mexico” that examines the influence of feminism(s) in Mexico’s mediascapes.

Prior to teaching at SFU she taught graphic design and drawing at York University, new media and digital image in Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and Latin American cultural history and art history at the University of British Columbia. Before pursuing an academic career, she spent over ten years in the design industry working as a senior designer and creative consultant specializing in editorial and print design.



Aceves Sepúlveda, Gabriela, “¿Cosas de Mujeres?: Film, Performance and Feminist Networks of Collaboration enunciated from Mexico in the 1970s” in Artelogie Recherches sur les arts, le patrimoine et la littérature de l’Amérique latine, No. 5: “Art et genre: femmes créatrices en Amérique Latine” (Septembre, 2013).

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When: Wednesdays from 12:30-2:20 pm, March  25
Where: SUR 5380.

All are welcome to attend!