Sex Lives and Videotape is the latest in a series of interactive community events exploring the diverse materiality of artifacts within the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives. As a collector of objects, the CLGA acknowledges that it is not only the content of those objects that is significant to the history of LGBTQ+ culture in Canada, but also their form. The CLGA was founded in 1973. As it has grown and evolved over time, so has the technology by which queer communities documented their progress. Many of these earlier technologies, pioneered within the 70s and 80s, are presently nearing obsolescence, making now the perfect time to reflect on the relationship between an object’s “medium” and its “message”.
In advance of the CLGA’s WorldPride 2014 exhibition, Imaging Home: Resistance, Migration and Contradiction, which employs the home video as one means of representing the queer Diaspora, Sex Lives and Videotape takes a broad look at the medium of VHS and the role it played in furthering the LGBTQ+ agenda. It offers the viewer the opportunity to experience footage within the CLGA’s substantial VHS collection, while contemplating the role that home and independent video played in recording and disseminating Canadian queer history. It also creates a link between the contemporary viewer and the pre-YouTube era of personal video production, by allowing the visitor to record their commentary to VHS tape.