The Poetics of Abigail Child: Experimental Media at REDCAT | KCET
The Poetics of Abigail Child: Experimental Media at REDCAT
A bevy of naked or semi-clothed female bodies -- voluptuous, shot from a polite distance, still images from a distant past -- populates the opening minutes of Abigail Child's short video "(If I Can Sing a Song About) Ligatures." Words or snippets of text -- fragments of poetry by Nada Gordon -- are juxtaposed with the images, creating unusual text-image combinations. Some name, others divert, some concatenate. All provoke. The easy pleasure of looking gets complicated by the words; the ripples of disruption grow as the images continue, the clarity of gender is undermined, stability is knocked aside, and in just these few minutes, we spin out along the outer edge of a whorl, from a comfortable center to a strange unknown.
Such is the power of words and images in the hands of avant-garde media artist Abigail Child, whose work will be showcased tonight at REDCAT in a show titled Narrative Bodies: Films and Videos by Abigail Child, featuring both older and more recent work.
Child has produced a remarkable body of films and videos dedicated to a true poetics of cinema -- indeed, in 2005 she published "This Is Called Moving: A Critical Poetics of Film," a collection of essays that links her work as both a filmmaker and poet.
Despite many attempts throughout the history of cinema to derive a "language of cinema" or a "grammar of film," few filmmakers have worked seriously at the intersection of text and image, really exploring the incredible potential here. It's a delight to see Child continue to work at this juncture.
The REDCAT screening includes "Peripeteia I" (1977), "Perils" (1986), "Mayhem" (1987), "The Future Is Behind You" (2004-05), "Mirror World" (2006) and "Ligatures" (2009); it starts at 8:30 p.m., Monday, April 2, 2012