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The Memory and Resistance Laboratory (MEM-RES) makes space for artists, students, scholars, community members, and organizers to engage in a shared struggle for memory through undisciplined research and critical experimentation with media.   At MEM-RES we understand that the liberatory futures we can imagine are entwined with the narratives we have of the past. As such, we situate our work in this problematic: if so many of our movements to transform the conditions of our lives have been violently repressed then so too have the truth of our stories been forced underground.  How we work in this underground?  Where is it?  How do we see it, hear it, learn about it?  How do we dwell in the spaces of memory that our communities have often times had to bury in order to survive?  How is this work of rememory integral to our collective healing?   How can it help stop cycles of trauma?  At MEM-RES we understand memory as an urgent work that we must engage in order to urge the liberatory futures that our communities need into being. 

At the Memory and Resistance Laboratory, memory is a project, a work, a task, and an ethics. Memory is a verb that insists on building communities of memory where our lives are grounded in vibrant genealogies, recorded and most likely, unrecorded, of resistance and survivance.   Over and against many understandings of memory, we are adamantly uninterested in ‘correcting’ the historical record which for us is simply an address to the discourses and people who are already centered.  Our stakes lie elsewhere and otherwise- in the silences, the invisibilities, the liminalities, the spaces of experiences and being we know in our bones and that so far exceed the languages that exist to describe them.  These forms and phasings must come from us.

Poetics drives our work.  We engage in and with a mediatic poetics such that space can be made for memory to emerge apart from the legacies of positivism (journalism, human rights, documentary) that often nullify its potentiality. Poetics is the essential transformative potential that exists around us at every moment. Through poetics, we urge forth an affective relation to history, not just as facts and figures but as the visceral stuff of our lives -- memory as embodied, collective, cellular, cyclical, rooted, atmospheric, and uncompromisingly expansive.

Our work, in and with media, serves as an anchor rather than a bullhorn, an intentional site of consciousness rather than a given set of circumstances, a care for those lost rather than a battle against those who have always been found. We don’t traffic in slogans or the violent extractivism that marks nearly all modes of media production. Our priorities lie in the relationships we hold and care for, the intimacy of our engagements, and the revolutionary love that binds our lives together.

MEM-RES locates our work in the underside of history, in anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-patriarcal, anti-ablist, and anti-imperialist visions of relating otherwise.  We encourage expansive research questions that are radically undisciplined.  We unsettle the boundaries of knowledge and genre that domesticate and appropriate the potentiality of radical thought.  

We believe memory is militant.  Memory anchors, orients, roots and propels our communities toward practices of care which both work in and against the oppressive systems that we live in while nurturing and growing accountable ways of being in the world and with each other. Militant memory need not be identical to the revolutionary propaganda that is often associated with the terms of militancy.  In fact, at MEM-RES we believe militant memory tarries with the infinite, evades having its meaning pinned down, moves in multiple directions at once, is a serious exercise in poetics, and bears no accountability to the function of truth as positivism would have it.

The struggle for memory is an integral part of the incomplete project for freedom which, at MEM-RES, we understand as our responsibility to bear.  The Memory and Resistance Laboratory makes space in and with media, for such sites of resistance .   As part of activating and amplifying our larger freedom struggles, MEM-RES holds discursive events, hosts artists-in-residence, produces films, writing, and publications, and develops radically interdisciplinary collaborative media projects.