Towards a Queer State: Joan Jett Blakk and Arthur Evans

Kevin Gaffney

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper will present findings from Expulsion, a practice-led research PhD film which depicts a Queer State that positions itself in opposition to capitalism and homonormativity. Examining how archival footage of Joan Jett Blakk’s campaign for the US presidency in 1992 is interspersed throughout the speculative fictional footage to create temporal disturbances in the film’s narrative, and how this queering of cinematic time creates the potential for an LGBTQ+ audience to encounter queer history unconstrained by a homonormative Hollywood lens. In contrast to the Joan Jett Blakk’s hope and defiance in the archival footage, the utopic idea of a Queer State devolves from a promised oppositional force into a dystopian bureaucracy, as it protects its borders and rejects applicants from entering the state.

Alongside these archival interjections, Expulsion brings fictional queer politics of the future into contact with queer history by re-telling excerpts from Arthur Evans’ Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture (1978). As big-budget films, such as Stonewall (2015), fail to adhere to historical accuracy, can artist films and independent films representing queer history challenge homonormative cinema’s ahistorical representations?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Sept 2021
EventCompleting the Past: LGBT+ History and Creative Production
Duration: 9 Sept 202110 Sept 2021


ConferenceCompleting the Past: LGBT+ History and Creative Production
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