Drawing on archival records, oral histories, and the 1970s underground press, this article retraces the history of International Videoletters, a feminist video exchange network that operated from 1975 to 1977. Though primarily based in the United States, the network expressed global aspirations to transform the televisual landscape, a goal it shared with other activist video collectives of the era. However, in contrast to many male-led guerrilla television groups, International Videoletters prioritized its independence from broadcast television, structuring its network instead as an autonomous, women-run media system. I argue that by emphasizing the relationship between video producers and viewers through nonhierarchical organizational structures, independent distribution systems, and dynamic feedback sessions, International Videoletters fostered a feminist counterpublic committed to transforming media representation of women. Through analysis of the network’s operations and output, this article asserts the centrality of grassroots feminist media initiatives like International Videoletters to the history of guerrilla television, where they have largely been overlooked.
Creating a “Feminist Nation”: The International Videoletters Network, 1975–77
Lexington Davis is an Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded PhD candidate at the University of St. Andrews, where her dissertation explores 1970s feminist art and domestic labor politics. She lectures at Leiden University and has written for publications including Espace art actuel, Flash Art, Metropolis M, and Revelar: Journal of Photography and Image Studies. Her scholarly work has been supported by a Fulbright Fellowship; a Schlesinger Library Dissertation Grant; the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art; the Association for Art History, UK; and Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.
Lexington Davis; Creating a “Feminist Nation”: The International Videoletters Network, 1975–77. Feminist Media Histories 1 October 2023; 9 (4): 108–134. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2023.9.4.108
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