The Politics of Abstraction
In memory of BARBARA HAMMER (1939-2019)
Tickets and more information:
Cinemateket Stockholm Friday 27th September 2019 at 18.00.
TBA: The program at Cinema Queer will be on Saturday 28th September with other films!
Titeln som är hämtad ur Barbara Hammers biografi HAMMER! Making Movies out of sex and life ger oss en ingång till Barbara Hammers experimentella lesbiska bildvärld. Som Hammer själv säger i boken ”As an experimental filmmaker and a lesbian feminist, I have advocated that radical content deserves radical form. To the feminist community, I introduced my films in light of the formal concerns of experimental filmmaking. To the experimental film community, I spoke about the importance of unrepresented content.” I detta program framtaget speciellt som en hyllning till Hammers suggestiva livsgärning får vi följa med från den absolut första 16 mm filmen I Was/I Am fram till slutet av åttiotalet och datorspråkets påverkan i No No Nooky T.V.
With a career spanning fifty years, Barbara Hammer is recognized as a pioneer of queer cinema. A visual artist working primarily in film and video, Hammer created a groundbreaking body of experimental work that illuminates lesbian histories, lives and representations. Stated Hammer, “My work makes these invisible bodies and histories visible. As a lesbian artist, I found little existing representation, so I put lesbian life on this blank screen, leaving a cultural record for future generations.”
Barbara Hammer was born in 1939 in Hollywood, California. She lived and worked in New York until her death in 2019.
I Was/I Am
1973, 5:44 min, b&w, sound, 16 mm film
The Films of Maya Deren (1917-1961) opened a door for me as a young artist. I referenced her film Meshes of the Afternoon (1945) in my first 16 mm film. I transition from a princess with a white gown and tiara into a motorcycle dyke wearing leather. Screened on the opening night at Hammer retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art New York in 2010.
1981, 10:07 min, color, sound
“A lesbian/feminist aesthetic proposing the connection between touch and sight to be the basis for a ‘new cinema.’ The film explores the tactile child nature within the adult woman filmmaker, the connection between sexuality and filmmaking, and the scientific analysis of the sense of touch.” — Barbara Hammer
“At the opening we are listening to an ‘expert’ speaking – someone who knows about touch and erogenous zones, about the erotic – yet the emphasis is on her ‘knowing’ and what she knows ‘about’ rather than on her ‘experiencing.’ Hammer undercuts the monologue with intense and extraordinary close-ups of areas of the woman’s face and neck, her teeth and lips, her ears. The viewer becomes so absorbed in the details of this closeness, the closeness of a lover seeing the face of her friend, that the words become lost in feeling and experiencing the closeness itself. The other way this works is to make the viewer want to touch, to become involved for, as the speaker says, touch precedes sight in the new-born child, and sight becomes a connection between the actual touch and understanding what it means.” — Cath Dunsford, Alternative Cinema
1985, 16:43 min, color, sound
“Barbara Hammer’s Optic Nerve is a powerful personal reflection on family and aging. Hammer employs filmed footage which, through optical printing and editing, is layered and manipulated to create a compelling meditation on her visit to her grandmother in a nursing home. The sense of sight becomes a constantly evolving process of reseeing images retrieved from the past and fused into the eternal present of the projected image. Hammer has lent a new voice to the long tradition of personal meditation in the avant-garde of the American independent cinema.” — John Hanhardt, Biennial Exhibition Catalogue, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1987
No No Nooky T.V.
1987, 11:52 min, color, sound, 16 mm film on HD video
Using a 16mm Bolex and Amiga computer, Hammer creates a witty and stunning film about how women view their sexuality versus the way male images of women and sex are perceived. The impact of technology on sexuality and emotion and the sensual self is explored through computer language juxtaposed with everyday colloquial language of sex. No No Nooky T.V. confronts the feminist controversy around sexuality with electronic language, pixels and interface. Even the monitor is eroticized in this film/video hybrid that pokes fun at romance, sexuality, and love in our post-industrial age.
1974, 4:00 min, b&w and color, sound, 16 mm film on video
“A popular lesbian ‘commercial,’ 110 images of sensual touching montages in A, B, C, D rolls of ‘kinaesthetic’ editing.” — Barbara Hammer
“Hammer’s films of the ’70’s are the first made by an openly lesbian American filmmaker to explore lesbian identity, desire and sexuality though avant-garde strategies. Merging the physicality of the female body with that of the film medium, Hammer’s films remain memorable for their pioneering articulation of a lesbian aesthetic.” – Jenni Sorkin, WACK! Art and The Feminist Revolution, 2007.
Pond and Waterfall
1982, 15 min, color, silent, 16 mm film on video
“Hiking in Point Reyes National Seashore I came upon a vernal pool with an intriguing and mysterious underwater world. I optically printed swimming underwater to slow the movement to a meditative rhythm. I hoped that the appreciation of the clarity and beauty of water would lead us to better protect it.” — Barbara Hammer
“The camera eye is like an amphibian that sees on two levels in its journey from underwater in a safe pond down to a violent, turbulent ocean. Early in the silent film shot north of San Francisco we see an homage to Monet’s Nymphiades in the faded raspberry color of the step-printed underwater lilies. The painterly effects of the printing make the water seem viscous. Pushing through clouds of fish eggs, fronds and algae, the camera establishes a sense of intimacy and connection in a natural ecosystem. But this amiable underwaterscape acquires ominous overtones as the camera/amphibian surfaces. Splashes strike the lens, and the rock of the ocean surf is destabilizing and disorienting. One of the most provocative foreshadowing ambiguities occurs when the half-submerged camera tracks the tip and slosh of the horizon, echoing the mood change from underwater confidence to vulnerability to natural forces, a passage from balance to defiance.” — Kathleen Hulser, “Frames of Passage: Nine Recent Films of Barbara Hammer,” Centre Georges Pompidou
SAQMI – The Swedish Archive for Queer Moving Images