Queen's Film and Media

Film and Media Studies
Film and Media Studies
Emily Pelstring Photo

Emily Pelstring

Assistant Professor
Film and Media

Analog moving-image technologies

Emily’s work across single-channel film and gallery-based installation contexts explores the narrative and metaphorical potential of immersive, antiquated imaging technologies and special effects. She is interested in complicating the idea of technological obsolescence, and rethinking the rhetoric around technological progress. To this end, she uses outmoded processes and techniques in conjunction with new digital tools. In her single-channel animations, she experiments with optical filtering and textural effects by processing images through analog video effects units, as well as weirder and more convoluted means of image manipulation. Her gallery installations have employed holography, stereography, animated Pepper’s Ghost displays, and projection-mapped video, in conjunction with built material elements. These pieces reference magic shows and the occult, and draw links between spirituality, wonder, and illusion. All of this is done with a keen interest in the evolution and cultural perception of various media forms, a fascination with the projection of fantasy onto technology, and a desire to challenge normative ways of thinking about technological development.

Feminist media art

Emily has a longstanding investment in the creative strategies of feminist media art, particularly practices of reclaimative myth-making, collaboration and collectivity, speculative futurisms, and the use of camp aesthetics. These interests have led her to experiment with collaborative structures through participation in bands and art collectives, and to exhibit in extra-institutional exhibition contexts such as DIY venues, small festivals and site-specific events. Since 2011, she has been building collaboratively produced bodies of work, most notably with Inflatable Deities, an artistic duo with Jessica Mensch, and more recently with The Powers: a music, performance, and video collaboration with Jessica Mensch and Katherine Kline. The Powers create a speculative reality that is absurd, irreverent and terrifying, inhabited by animal kin and monstrous creatures, haunted by other-dimensional entities, and erupting with the repressed archetypes of classical myth. Their current research project is a live web-streamed show called Sistership TV. This episodic series includes many “special guests” and explores topics like the cyborg, telepresence, hysteria, the seance, witchcraft, and animal communication.

Curatorial Work

Emily has been involved in numerous artist-run initiatives and has independently curated and toured short film programs for micro-cinemas on topics like glitch art and feminist DIY media (By Any Means [2015], Forever Falling Apart [2012]). She has also curated numerous multimedia performance events (Deep Screens [2014], Performing Objects [2015], We can Be Anything [2018]) and gallery exhibitions (The Distance Between [2012], The Listener [2017], Seeking anything from the ruins of Rejmyre’s Future [2018]). She has brought many international guest artists to Queen’s and facilitated participatory workshops for the local community. She is involved in programming for Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre and is a member of the Tone Deaf Collective, with whom she runs an annual experimental music festival.

Selected Works


2019       Sistership TV Episode 1: “Gotta Crack a Few Eggs”, 28 mins, web-based TV show

2018       Witch’s Work, 7 mins, animation, produced by Toronto Animated Image Society

2017       Mad as Hell, 3 mins, music video for U.S. Girls, co-directed with Meg Remy, produced by 4AD records

2016       Somnium Lapidum, 5 mins, 16mm film, animation, funded by Queen’s Fund for Scholarly Research and Creative Work. Lac de plumes, 4 mins, 16mm film, music video for I.D.A.L.G., produced by La Royale Électrique. Oh No, 3 mins, music video for Jack and Eliza, produced by YEBO Music

2015       Head Cleaner, 7 mins, animation. Insect Express, 3 mins, music video for Gryphon Rue. Navy and Cream, 4 mins, music video for U.S. Girls, produced by 4AD Records

2014       Eyelash Wars, 22 mins, Digital Video, co-directed with Jessica Mensch as Inflatable Deities. Dream Filip, 4 mins, Digital Video

2013       Doing My Rounds, Checking Some Rounds, 6 mins, Analog Video. The Alicorn, 9 mins, Video, co-directed with Jessica Mensch, Produced by PHI Films. 28 Days, 3 mins, music video for U.S. Girls

2012       Auroratone, 5 mins, animation, Produced by Film Pop, Hoshi Neko, animation, 5 mins, co-directed with Ruby Kato Attwood. Jack, 3 mins, Produced by FatCat Records, music video for U.S. Girls. All This Wanting, 4 mins, music video for Slim Twig, produced by DFA Records,

2011       Utah 1978, 9 mins, co-directed with Jessica Mensch, Commissioned by SAW Video Association

2010       Skeleton Dance, 3 mins, animation. Wild Love, 3 mins, 16mm film, music video

Installation and Sculpture

2019       Any Saint, The Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, ON

2018       Secret Snake Nest, site-specific installation at Electric Eclectics Festival, Meaford, ON

2017       The Haunted Blob, site-specific installation at Pop Montreal, Rialto Theatre, Montreal, QC. Future Extinctions, Gallery 8eleven (collaboration with Jessica Mensch), Toronto, ON. Scotopia, La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse, Montreal, QC. The Maiden’s Hand and Skeleton Woman, “Present Rituals”, Kazoo Festival/Ed Video, Guelph, ON

2016       I Babysat for Those Fools (collaboration with Jessica Mensch), Sleepers, and Skeleton Woman, “In the Shadow of the Millennium”, Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery, Sarnia, ON

2015       Cathode Mirror Worms, PDA Projects, (collaboration with Jessica Mensch), Ottawa, ON. Standard Play, Khyber Centre for the Arts, Halifax, NS

2014       Eyelash Wars, FoFA Gallery, (collaboration with Jessica Mensch), Montreal, QC

2011       Strange Shapes Seen in the Sky, Visual Voice Gallery, (collaboration with Jessica Mensch) Montréal, QC

Selected Performances

The Powers (collaboration with Jessica Mensch and Katherine Kline) 2014-Present, performed at numerous venues, including: Casa del Popolo, (Montreal); VIVO Media Arts Centre (Vancouver); Antimatter Film Festival (Victoria), The Dirt Palace, (Providence), Gallows Hill Theatre (Salem); Khyber Centre for the Arts (Halifax), Gallery 811 (Toronto), Palisades (New York), and more.

Mourning of the Living Past (collaboration with Jessica Mensch, 2017-Present), Performed at Antigonight Festival, (Antigonish), Electric Eclectics Festival (Meaford), Gallery 811 (Toronto), Extrapool Centre for Sound, Art and Print (Nijmegen)

Selected Screenings

2019       Toronto Media Arts Centre, Somnium Lapidum, Animated Image Society’s “Spellbound” program, Toronto, ON. MONSTRA Animation Festival, Oh No, Lisbon, Portugal. Kingston Canadian Film Festival, Witch’s Work, Kingston, ON. Reelout Queer Film Festival, 28 Days, Kingston, ON

2018      Ann Arbor Film Festival, Mad as Hell, (in competition), Ann Arbor, MI. Ottawa International Animation Festival, Witch’s Work, Ottawa, ON. New Orleans Film Festival, Mad as Hell, New Orleans, LA. Imagine Science Film Festival, Somnium Lapidum, New York, NY. Indie Memphis Film Festival, Mad as Hell, Memphis, TN. ANIMATIC 2018, CIVICAN, Insect Express, Pamplona, Spain. Screen Compositions, Somnium Lapidum, Experimental Intermedia NYC, New York, NY. Oulu Music Video Festival, Mad as Hell, Oulu, Finland

QFest: Houston International LGBTQ Film Festival, Mad as Hell, Lac de plumes, Houston, TX. Crema Liminalis, Society for Animation Studies Conference, Hoshi Neko, Montreal, QC. Montreal Underground Film Festival, Somnium Lapidum, Montreal, QC. International Animation Festival Anca, Somnium Lapidum, Zilnia, Slovenia

2017       Macrocosm/Microcosm, Somnium Lapidum, Spectral Microcinema, Stevens Point, WI. Bad Women, Insect Express, Bad People Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Ende Tymes, Somnium Lapidum, Outpost Artist Resources, New York, NY. Antimatter Media Art Festival, Somnium Lapidum and Head Cleaner, Victoria, BC. Ottawa International Animation Festival (in competition), Insect Express, Ottawa, ON

2016       International Animation Festival Fest Anca, Head Cleaner (Animation): Zilina, Slovenia. Ottawa International Animation Festival, Oh No (Animation): Ottawa, ON. Bienal de Imagen de la Movimiento, Skeleton Dance (Animation):  Buenos Aires, Argentina Festival Les Percéides, Head Cleaner: Grande rencontre des arts médiatiques, Gaspésie, QC. Time Form Scene, Head Cleaner (Animation):  Cinecycle, Toronto, ON

2015       Ottawa International Animation Festival, Head Cleaner (Animation): Ottawa, ON. Goethe Institut Hanoi, The Onion Cellar, Auroratone (Animation): Hanoi, Vietnam. Pleasure Dome, “Radiant Bodies” program, Cinecyle, Doing My Rounds… Toronto, ON. Queer City Cinema, Dream Filip (Video): Regina, SK. NEXT International Film Festival, Doing My Rounds…: Bucharest, Romania.  Ende Tymes V, Doing My Rounds…: New York, NY. Antimatter Film Festival, Doing My Rounds…: Victoria, BC. Transmediale Berlin, “Capture All”, Doing My Rounds…(Video): Berlin, Germany. Ottawa International Music Conference, Hoshi Neko and Jack: Ottawa, ON

2014       Ann Arbor Film Festival, Auroratone (in competition): Ann Arbor, MI. Seoul International New Media Festival, Doing My Rounds…(Video): Seoul, South Korea. L’Alternativa Independent Film Festival, Doing My Rounds…(Video): Barcelona, Spain. QFest Int’l Film Festival, Hoshi Neko (Animation), 28 Days (Video), and I Know I’m Late (Video): Houston Texas. Queer City Cinema, Hoshi Neko (Animation): Regina, SK. Groupe Intervention Video, “Direct Address” program, Doing My Rounds…(Video): Montreal, QC

2013       Ann Arbor Film Festival, Jack (in competition): Ann Arbor, MI. Antimatter Film Festival, Auroratone (Animation): Vancouver, BC. Mix NYC Queer Experimental Film Festival, Hoshi Neko (Animation): New York, NY. Kinofilm Festival, Hoshi Neko (Animation): Manchester, England

2012       Antimatter Film Festival, Hoshi Neko (Animation): Vancouver, BC. Arboretum Festival, Utah 1978 (Video): Ottawa, ON

2011       Plastic Paper Animation Festival, Skeleton Dance (Animation): Winnipeg, MB. Anthology Film Archives, New Filmmakers, Wild Love (Video): New York, NY. SAW Video Association, Jog and Shuttle, Utah 1978 (Video/Performance): Ottawa, ON