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It’s An Interlace: Five Videos by Barbara Hammer

November 3, 2019 @ 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM


It’s an Interlace: Five Videos By Barbara Hammer

“From her first experiment with the Sony Portapak to the multi-layered autobiographical exercise that helped her through chemotherapy, pioneering lesbian feminist filmmaker Barbara Hammer (1939-2019) has expanded her visual vocabulary beyond her extensive work with celluloid to actively employ the immediacy of video production for over 40 years. Haptics, lesbian sensuality, playfulness, collaboration, and illness, all thematically present throughout her career, are encapsulated here in a brief overview of Hammer’s analog and digital output.” (Curators KJ Relth and Mark Toscano)

Works to screen:

Superdyke Meets Madame X
(Barbara Hammer and Max Almy, black-and-white, 20 mins., 32 seconds, 1976)
Winner of the Louise Riskin Prize at the 1976 San Francisco Art Festival, Superdyke Meets Madame X documents the Barbara Hammer’s relationship with Max Almy on a reel-to-reel ¾” videotape recorder and microphone. This was Hammer’s first foray into recording with the Sony Portapak and was produced as part of a skill swap with Almy.

Snow Job: The Media Hysteria of AIDS
(Barbara Hammer, digital video, color., 8min., 1986)
“I first heard of AIDS in 1985 when I was teaching at Columbia College in Chicago. I noticed the strange and inflammatory articles in the newspapers and I asked my students to collect hysteric headlines for me. And so I began my work on Snow Job: The Media Hysteria of AIDS. I examined the public ignorance, stigmatization, and just plain wrong attitudes towards this new illness. By making a snow storm of newspaper clippings I could show what a ‘snow job’ the media was making.” — Barbara Hammer

Would You Like to Meet Your Neighbor? A New York Subway Tape
(Barbara Hammer, digital video, color, 13min., 1985)
Would You Like to Meet Your Neighbor? A New York City Subway Tape finds Barbara Hammer (wearing a mask made of subway maps) conducting gonzo interviews with subway riders on desire and sexuality.

Two Bad Daughters
(Barbara Hammer and Paula Levine. digital video, color, 12min., 21 seconds, 1988)
Two Bad Daughters, by Barbara Hammer and Paula Levine, is a whirlwind tour of paternal institutions: fatherhood, Lacanian psychoanalysis and bondage. The tape turns on the dominators, using a heavy complement of graphics and manipulated images to collapse control. The stratified surface of Two Bad Daughters is playful, an energetic barrage of text, acrimony and artifice. It is play that proves most subversive. The ‘Bad Daughters’ reject obedience to the Father in favor of the impish anarchy of self-possession.” — Steve Seid, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

A Horse Is Not a Metaphor
(Barbara Hammer, digital video, color, 30min., 2008)
In Hammer’s autobiographical experimental film A Horse Is Not A Metaphor, the artist reflects on her personal fight against stage 3 ovarian cancer, transforming illness into recovery. Describing herself as a cancer “thriver” rather than a “survivor,” Hammer rides on horseback through the red hills of Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, the grassy foothills of the Big Horn in Wyoming, and leafy paths in Woodstock, New York. In this multilayered film, Hammer moves from scenes of chemotherapy sessions to images of light and movement that take her far from the hospital bed. The haunting score is by musician Meredith Monk.

(Total Running Time: 84minutes)


Presented as a part of:
Barbara Hammer (1939-2019): In Tribute
Three rich programs or recent restorations and new 16mm prints celebrating the career of Barbara Hammer, the singularly pioneering, lesbian feminist experimental filmmaker, who we lost earlier this year. The three programs – with over 20 works to screen — are but a sampling of this maker’s considerable and exuberant achievement, film and video work demonstrating an ongoing activist sensibility that encouraged an experimentation with the formal possibilities of her media and a representationally and politically expansive reach to her subject matter.

The programs are curated by KJ Relth, programmer for the UCLA Film & Television Archive, and Mark Toscano, film preservationist at the Academy Film Archive, the archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. (The notes here are provided by the curators). All 16mm prints are courtesy of the Academy Film Archive. Digital materials presented in arrangement with Electronic Arts Intermix and Video Data Bank.

Thanks to the UWM Union Cinema, the UWM Department of Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres, and Woodland Pattern Book Center for their co-sponsorship of this series.

The Barbara Hammer programs are all free.


November 3, 2019
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM


Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival


Woodland Pattern Book Center
720 E. Locust
Milwaukee, WI 53212 United States
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414 263 5001