Pre-figures of Divestment in Feminist Cinemas of Extraction (screening and lecture)

Rachel O’reilly

In the settler colony, the mine work image of contemporary deregulation is an orthodox workerism. High salaried contractors negotiate new extractivist ‘having’ (Wark) via increasingly privatized, post-democratic licensing regimes in the context of exaggerated but low (and lowering) employment statistics, as economised citizenship gets hooked, or got, to a _chimera_ of the promise of mine labour (among others of course), in ways that fundamentally disturbed the figure-ground relations of an aspirationally regulated and redistributive citizenship through which the mine worker dialectically achieved its labourist value in the first place. We could say that mega-scaled ‘extractive capitalism,’ more consequentially than any other contemporary regime of capital accumulation, has relied quite precisely on a modernist legacy image of ‘labour in a single shot’ (Farocki) to install post-democratic social investment in the ‘production’ of zero-reproduction, and thanatic dependency on boom and growth normativity.

This excerpt of a longer talk looks at feminist experiments in film form (Sophie Bissonnette CA, Sandra Lahire UK, and Bonita Ely AUS) around the particular mode of primitive accumulation of the mining contract. Beyond what the films achieve in revaluing women’s own formidable unwaged ‘productionism,’ the works exhibit to later divestment movements radical feminisms’ im-proper and clinamen-like engendering of industrial and extractivist action, also in the making of ‘labour cinema.’ The talk mainframes the contemporary theoretical relevance of re/productive film theory in challenging the technology of the formally contradictory ‘contract’ (in the wage, in sex-gender, in race, in social provenance) in enclosing and reformatting governance regimes along genealogical and
path-dependent lines.