Searching through film archives and other collections, Courtney Stephens unearthed amateur films and home movies shot by women from the 1920s through the 1940s. These travelogues document their crossing of the Equator and voyages to the Arctic Circle, India, Guatemala, and the Philippines, some for extended explorations, others on vacations or work trips. Some demonstrate an eye for landscape, others for ethnographic detail or framing the people they saw or traveled with. What did it mean for a woman with a movie camera to capture images of the places she visited? Is there something distinctive about her way of looking? These are questions Stephens contemplates in her video essay and lecture. She commented, “There is an idea when you’re scavenging around in archives that you’re doing the work of feminist retrieval . . . what is found is usually more fraught, thorny. . . . But one still has to contend with the beauty in the films while applying a critical apparatus.” With two films commissioned by composer Lisa Mezzacappa for her Glorious Ravage program.
Shut Out the Sun
Janis Crystal Lipzin, United States, 2015
A tribute to Arctic explorer and Marin heiress Louise Arner Boyd.
Huntress of Flowers/Marianne
Kathleen Quillian, United States, 2015
A collage animation of work from botanical artist Marianne North’s time in Brazil.