Berkeley Film & Media Seminar

King bfms poster final

BFMS Lecture Series: Homay King – “Sarah Winchester and the Origins of Silicon Valley”

Fri, Apr 12, 2019, 12:00 am to 2:00 am

142 Dwinelle

Homay King

Sarah Winchester (1840-1922), heiress to the Winchester Repeating Arms company, moved from Connecticut to San Jose after the death of her husband, and spent the remainder of her life building a colossal Victorian mystery mansion. Winchester was painted by the press as an eccentric who built her mausoleum-like house out of guilt, melancholy, and superstition, in an attempt to assuage the spirits of Native Americans slaughtered by her family’s guns. In this talk, Homay King argues that Winchester’s vast construction projects were a continuation of settler colonialism, not symbolic reparation thereof, and that her many property holdings throughout the Bay Area anticipate the contemporary built environment in that region. How do our stories about Silicon Valley change if we situate Winchester, a 19th-century woman, at the origins of tech innovation culture? The talk includes a discussion of Jeremy Blake’s Winchester Trilogy (2002-04), Zach Blas’ Contra-Internet (2018), and Simon Leung’s Squatting Projects (1992-2008).

Homay King is Eugenia Chase Guild Chair in the Humanities, Professor and Chair in the Department of History of Art, and a co-founder of the Program in Film Studies at Bryn Mawr College. She is the author of Virtual Memory: Time-based Art and the Dream of Digitality (Duke, 2015) and Lost in Translation: Orientalism, Cinema, and the Enigmatic Signifier (Duke, 2010). Her essays on film, digital media, contemporary art, and theory have appeared in Afterall, Discourse, Film Criticism, Film Quarterly, October, and edited collections including the exhibition catalogs for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s China: Through the Looking Glass and the ICA Philadelphia’s Myths of the Marble. She was recently featured in a video essay for the Criterion Collection’s edition of Shanghai Express. She is a member of the Camera Obscura editorial collective.

Co-sponsored by the Berkeley Center for New Media

This event is free and open to the public