VALIE EXPORT | Syntagma, 1983, 16mm, color/magnetic sound, 17min

ANA MENDIETA | Untitled (Chicken Piece, shot #2), 1972, 2:57 min, color, silent
Body Tracks (Blood Sign #2), 1974, 1 min, color, sound
Untitled (Grass Breathing), 1975, 3:08 min, color, silent
Candle Ixchell, Black Ixchell Series (Black Ixchell Candle Ixchell), 1979, 3:51 min, color, silent
Volcan de Arena, Silueta Series (Filmworks: Rocas y humo), 1978, 2:08 min, color, silent

SADIE BENNING | Girlpower, 15min, 1992

JENNIFER REEVES | Girls Daydream About Hollywood, 1992, 16mm, b&w, sound, 5 min

PEGGY AHWESH | The Star Eaters, 2003, 24 min

YOKO ONO | Fly, 19min

Valie Export

MARTHA ROSLER | Semiotics of the Kitchen, 1975, 6 min

ELIZABETH SUBRIN | Shulie, 1997, 37min

EVE HELLER | Ruby Skin, 2005, 16mm color Sound, 4.5min, 16mm

STEINA VASULKA | Violin Power, 1970-78, 10:04 min, b/w, sound

EVE HELLER | Behind This Soft Eclipse, 2004, 10 min, 16mm, b/w silent

ABIGAIL CHILD | Mayhem, 1987, 20min

PEGGY AHWESH | She Puppet, 2001, 15min, video

film screenings organized by Laida Lertxundi

Peggy Ahwesh, The Star Eaters

Eve Heller, Ruby Skin

The crisis experienced by the major western narratives have
not, therefore, been gender-neutral. They are crisis in the
narratives invented by men.

—Alice Jardine, Gynesis, Configurations of Women and Modernity

The films and videos presented in these two screenings were made by
women artists and filmmakers from 1971 to 2005. They constitute a
sample of a body-of-work-over-time in which the conceptual framework
of feminism that flourished in the arts in the United States from the
early 70s onward is present.

Experimental Film and Video Art have separate histories, separate
economic infrastructures and separate areas of exhibition that have
only crossed over occasionally when an experimental filmmaker becomes
recognized in the art world (or in the case of Valie Export, a
practicing artist makes experimental films). In showing work that
belongs to these two distinct histories side by side, I would like to
make the proposition that it is feminism that brings a shared dialogue
to these film and video works.

Essential Cinema was the name given in 1975 to the collection of
Avant-Garde Film that was to be representative of the best work made
in this field. There were 85 filmmakers in the list and only 4 of them
were women. The number was far from representative of the women making
films at the time and this attempt to write a history of male
filmmakers in the midst of the second wave of feminism met much
resistance. It was also in 1975 that Laura Mulvey wrote the text
Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, which is considered the first
text in feminist film theory and made the diagnosis that narrative
cinema is bound to a male gaze and that women need the formal
experimentation inherent to experimental cinema to manifest their

The 80s and 90s exploded with a majority of non-commercial film and
video works made by women in which political and/or personal content
took the form of experimental, narrative, documentary an other models
of filmmaking. While there seems to be a consensus on excluding
women´s practices from institutions and exhibitions, the discourses
around female subjectivity have found no consensus on "what is a
woman?". By giving up on the idea of a need for stable identity, we
can base our agency in a collaborative ethics of disagreement and
dialogue, as well as the facilitation of new infrastructures and
events such as the ones taking place this week at CalArts.

--Laida Lertxundi, March 2007