I’m creating a web-based interactive story called Shanidar, a sequel to my 2019 piece, TimeBefore Memory (https://paleolithic.ceciliadougherty.com).Shanidar takes place in Paleolithic times and tells a story of a small band of Neanderthals and Cro Magnons on a migration through France, Italy, the Balkans and southward to what is now Iraqi Kurdistan, to a site called Shanidar, which is the location of the famous Neanderthal “flower burial.”
I started Shanidar, while we were, more or less, in lockdown. And while I had traveled to sites in Spain and France to research Time Before Memory, I had to do a most of my research for Shanidar from my desktop. Unable to travel to Europe to gather source materials and take photographs of paleolithic sites, I decided to draw the background imagery for the story and imagine my fictional characters more clearly as people and less as (pre)historical elements.
Both stories have involved research into human species, climate change, patterns of human migration over thousands of years, and most wonderfully, into Paleolithic art, ritual, and behavior. There’s queer and trans influence in the storyline and characters as well, acknowledging a long history of multiplicities of gender.
Shanidar is speculative fiction, and is not science. It questions and critiques scientific findings and observations, nonetheless. I expect to finish this piece in mid-2022. I’m using Twine game software to create the story and am adding not only original imagery, but also an original soundtrack.
Walter & McBean Galleries, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute. Margaret Tedesco & Leila Weefur, Curators
The San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2021 with A Spirit of Disruption, an exhibition that reflects on the school’s profound and sustained influence on contemporary art and highlights the contributions of generations of diverse artists and individuals often overlooked in the historical narrative of SFAI. A Spirit of Disruption includes the work of more than thirty alumni and faculty from the 1960s to the present; a dynamic media installation drawn from SFAI’s vast archive; and a section dedicated to artist model Florence “Flo” Wysinger Allen, the subject of countless paintings, sculptures, and drawings made at the school from 1933-1997.
A Spirit of Disruption also includes a dynamic media installation drawn from SFAI’s Anne Bremer Library archive featuring artists Rigo 89, Karen Finley, Cliff Hengst, Doug Hall, Debora Iyall, Jun Jalbuena, Jennifer Locke, Paula Levine, Cecilia Dougherty; and George Kuchar in collaboration with Tim Sullivan, among many others.
Announcing my new mobile and web-native story game, which I produced in Twine and which has just been launched (Dec 8, 2019) by Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn as the first project in their new web-based artspace, Platform. Thank you, Andrea and Elle!
You can play the game online here. Play the story on your phone, your iPad or tablet, laptop, or computer. It’s Paleolithic!
On Saturday, June 15, 2019, Kevin Killian passed away. I shot this video of Kevin and Cedar Sigo in 2004, Kevin is reading one of Cedar’s poems, Theme, and his own poem, Who.
Kevin played the demanding and unforgiving father in my 1991 video, Coal Miner’s Granddaughter, and he played Peggy, the enterprising literary agent of Joe Orton, in the collaborative bio-pic, Joe-Joe, which I created with Leslie Singer in 1993. Kevin was not an interpretive sort of actor. He created his characters from a sense of the total intention of the communicative enterprise and his contributions were enlightened and enlightening.
In the letter I received with Mirage Period(ical) #5, Kevin said he would like to talk to me on the phone. I emailed him saying I’d love to talk and when would be good for him. I was definitely completely out of it, didn’t know that he was dying, and had no sense of his invitation for one last conversation as a wish that he knew would not be granted. Not a wish from me, but just from time itself.
Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy edited two more issues of Mirage Period(ical). Issue #5 December 2018, cover above, finally brings my 1997 conversation with Yvonne Rainer to light. Thank you! You can read the conversation here. Read about Mirage here.
Film-Makers’ Cooperative, NYC New Year New Work 2019 4 programs of experimental and avant-garde films Friday Jan 25 – Sunday Jan 27, 2019
This is the 6th year that the Coop is holding a weekend of screenings to showcase work that’s come in over the previous year. My video portrait of Joe Westmoreland, called Joe, was screened on Friday, Jan 25 as part of the new works event.
Many friends were there. Joe Westmoreland, of course, and Charlie Atlas, with Lori E. Seid. And Elise Gardella, Phyllis Baldino, Amanda Trager, and Jim Hubbard all arrived. Sheila McLaughlin was there as well and introduced herself to me at the end. These people are all amazing!
The other work showcased: KG by Cynthia Madansky; Valeria Street by Janie Geiser, Carmel/Washington Heights/Home by Maia Liebeskind; Yem’s Place by Aaron Kelly-Penso; The Way Home by Erica Sheu; Soul Train by Carolina Mandia; Kendo Monogatari by Fabian Suarez; An Empty Threat by Josh Lewis.
What a fantastic screening! Makes remember why experimental filmvideo work is so important. It’s radical, it shows things in a new light, it asks lots of questions and many of those are visually-oriented.
Altogether, the events featured works by Ken Jacobs, Diana Barrie, Janie Geiser, Jack Waters, Josh Lewis, Cecilia Dougherty, Cynthia Madansky, Marie Losier, and more!!!
Curated by: Emily Apter, Ladya Cheryl, and Devon Narine-Singh.
Community in den Filmen von Peggy Ahwesh, Cecilia Dougherty und Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings DONNERSTAG, 23. AUGUST 2018, 19 Uhr
Here’s the description of the complete show, if you’re in Bern mañana:
In the late seventies, the filmmakers Lis Rhodes, Jo Davis, Felicity
Sparrow and Annabel Nicolson founded the feminist film and video
distribution network Circles in London. Circles was
created in response to the need to have a platform for films by women.
Previously, its founders had all been members of the London-based
Film-Maker’s Co-op, and Circles was also a response to the lack of representation of women filmmakers in that co-op. The
screening at the Kunsthalle is part of a series of events and
screenings focusing on filmmakers since the 1970s. The films screened
are by Peggy Ahwesh, Cecilia Dougherty as well as by Hannah Quinlan and
Rosie Hastings. They look in different ways at queer communities,
playing with stereotypes, exploring the autonomy of community spaces and
looking for individual forms of expressions within the communities.
With an introduction by the organizers Ann-Kathrin Eickhoff (Author
& Art Historian, Zurich) & Geraldine Tedder (Assistant Curator
Image: Hannah Quinlan & Rosie Hastings, UK Gay Bar Directory, 2016, Still from Film
Mit einer Einleitung von den Organisatorinnen Ann-Kathrin Eickhoff
(Autorin & Kunstwissenschaftlerin, Zürich) & Geraldine Tedder
(Kuratorische Assistenz Kunsthalle Bern)
I’m showing two videos, Eileen, from 2000, and Joe, from 2018 in Circles.
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.”
Communal Presence: New Narrative Writing Today, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz Conference October 2017
Two videos from my Writers Series are being screened at San Francisco’s famed ROXIE THEATER, where I personally have sooooo many memories of screenings and events from the days when I lived there. You can watch EILEEN (2000, 10:20) and KEVIN & CEDAR (2002, 8:30) on the big screen as part of the UC Berkeley/UC Santa Cruz jointly-organized New Narrative Conference. Pretty hot stuff.
I’ll post more information about the conference dates, screenings, and venues as well as links as the news comes in.
Also screening with EILEEN and KEVIN & CEDAR are Marc Huestis’s Whatever Happened to Susan Jane? and Curt McDowell’s short Confessions.