Interweaving archaeological evidence with speculative fiction, Cecilia Dougherty’s web-based drama Time Before Memory (2019) interrogates the origins of our species and prompts reflection on its present state. Set during the Paleolithic Age (29,900-40,000 years ago) the multimedia play unfolds in three acts, each containing an indefinite number of scenes. The multimedia work was created with Twine — an open-source, engaging story generation platform — and combines elements of video games, literature, photography, and video. The tension between individual autonomy versus collective action, alongside interrelated issues of land, migration, and competition, is a major theme throughout Time Before Memory. Given such motifs, Dougherty’s inventive work of electronic literature resonates in our immediate moment, one marked by toxic individualism, scarcity of resources, and widespread fear stoked by nativist rhetoric.
Read the entire review HERE – it’s a really good read. Tony Huffman understands this piece.
Today, fundamental changes are taking place on our planet, and our entire lifestyle is being re-examined. We’re seeing other forms of life existing in what feels like a parallel universe – which we used not pay such close attention to – now invade our lives. Such inalienable rights as freedom of movement, meeting friends, socializing, and saying our last farewells have suddenly become impossible. The pandemic caught us unaware. Like in Noah’s Ark, we are locked up with our families and pets, or on our own as we move towards a new technogenic life. Virtual reality has suddenly crept into our lives and is asserting its rights. Social networks are becoming the only form of contact with the outside world, with friends and family. If personal QR-codes contain all the information about a person, including biological data, then where will the boundary of state interference in our private lives be? Perhaps, this crucible of changes will change society and our everyday reality drastically, help us to shed the unnecessary and superficial things in life, and to gain a better understanding of ourselves and the people around us. –theme description from the Cyfest/Cyland site
Francesca Fini (Italy), /S)CONFINAMENTO — first chapter, 2020
Gay Tape: Butch and Femme (1985) screened recently at the Valade Family Gallery in Detroit. Many thanks to curators Scott Northrup and Jonathan Rajewsky!
Sadie Benning Cecilia Dougherty
Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay
Desire as Politics presents a selection of LGBTQ perspectives in contemporary film and video from 1985 to 2017. The exhibition is not meant to summarize this arbitrary span of time, but rather to look at works exploring a range of identities, social constraints and prejudices unique to LGBTQ positions, including representation, fantasy, fear, love and the blurring of binaries, positions that we feel are vital in our current climate.
Scott Northrup & Jonathan Rajewski
From the exhibition catalogue:
Dougherty’s first video, made while she was studying at Berkely:
“I made it just around the time when the term ‘gay’ was for everyone and then ‘lesbian and gay’ become the new term, until we progressed to ‘LGBTQ’.
“Gay Tape is a documentary about some of the regulars at Ollie’s Bar, a lesbian dive on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. The 1970s sartorial statement of flannel shirts, 501s, and Frye boots was passé and at odds with the new eighties aesthetic—tons of makeup, big hair, and complicated lingerie. Along with the new aesthetic came the reemergence of good old fashioned butch-femme role-playing. While the femmes pranced around like Stevie Nicks, their butch girlfriends reverted to an earlier role model, acting out fifties and sixties-style tough girl with brilliant aplomb. I asked some of the women from Ollie’s to talk on camera about role-playing.
“The camera instantly gave me too much control over content, so I tried to balance it by providing a platform for the women to speak on the butch-femme issue without overtly directing them. I relinquished authorship in favor of revelation and avoided coming to conclusions; the speakers were experts as well as subjects and could say whatever occurred to them. They spoke extemporaneously about their lovers, the details of their sexual identities, and their fantasies. My girlfriend at the time was one of the subjects. As her story unfolded I realized from my privileged position behind the lens that the lover she was describing in detail was not me. So much for the power of the gaze!
At a recent screening, the audience was interested in the difference between butch and transgendered, maybe not understanding that there were trans people in the community in 1985. I think there’s a distinction and as always, the people making the distinction are self-identified.”
Join the Wexner to celebrate the accomplished work of female filmmakers supported by the studio throughout its 27-year history. Exploring both traditional and experimental approaches to narrative, this program includes Hiatus, Ericka Beckman’s phantasmagoric, analogue exploration of virtual reality (1999, 30 mins., 16mm transferred to video); Gone, Cecilia Dougherty’s split-screen recreation of the PBS docudrama An American Family, here starring artists Laurie Weeks and Amy Sillman and featuring music by Le Tigre and Mike Iveson (2001, 36 mins., video); and the Ohio premiere of Artist Residency Award recipient Jennifer Reeder’s 2016 film Crystal Lake (19 mins., HD video). (program approx. 85 mins.)
Upcoming video screening by Cecilia Dougherty and others.
Fishing for Some Friends is a moving image exhibition in response to the misplacement of images both historic and contemporary. Contained within are images which due to aesthetic and political subversiveness have no collective home within Melbourne’s current cinematic landscape. These homeless images skirt the peripheries on the internet; skimming intermittently into conversations before being lost in the feed of information.
Fishing for Some Friends has caught some people and works that are excited about exploring new modes of representation, reimagining aesthetic expectations and citing alternative perspectives and conversations.
Fishing for Some Friends creates temporary space for moving image works from Cecilia Dougherty (New York), Charlie Freedman (Melbourne), Larisa Kosloff (Melbourne), Lucie McMahan (Melbourne), Meg & Jackson (Melbourne), Phoebe Mackenzie (Sydney), Siegfried A. Fruhauf (Vienna) and Steven Rhall (Melbourne)
6:00 – 11:00pm
115 Little Smith St. Fitzroy
Even though I use Twitter the most of any social media, the sign below was my favorite yesterday as me and 400,000 other people walked up New York’s Fifth Ave for the Women’s March.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First off, the ride on the Staten Island Ferry over to Manhattan had a number of small groups of people going to the Women’s March, which for Staten Island, New York’s only Republican borough, is very fine. Right off the ferry and onto the No. 6 train, which was crowded with marchers. Festive atmosphere all around. The scene getting off the train and emerging into Grand Central was even better, like this:
with wall to wall marchers. I don’t often congratulate Men As A Group, but you guys did well, showing up in large numbers. Could say “thanks!” but honestly if you’re doing it for one so-called-group (‘women’ btw are NOT a ‘group’, we are what you’d call HUMANS), you’re doing it for everyone, including yourselves.
Once on the street just outside GCT, it looked like this:
and then as we marched, people were really determined to keep this momentum going, some were in a party mood, and some like me still fearful because our president doesn’t know how to be a public servant and may completely tank not only the economy, the environment, women’s rights, voter’s rights, immigrant rights, freedoms of religion and belief, and our healthcare access, but the democracy itself.