Abigail Child

Both Is This What You Were Born For? (Part 2) (1988) 16mm, color, 2 min

Keywords: Body, Erotic

"Child's camera creates a small masterpiece ... a richly textured film that is simultaneously revealing and mysterious as a study of the nude in light and movement." - Cecilia Dougherty, 1989 Frameline Film Festival, San Francisco

Rental: $50.00
16mm Rental: $50.00

Abigail Child

Perils, Mayhem, Mercy (1985-87) 16mm, black and white, 126 min

Genre: Narrative, Experimental

Keywords: Art & Artists

See descriptions of "Perils", "Mayhem", and "Mercy"

Rental: $300.00
16mm Rental: $300.00

Abigail Child

Ornamentals (1979) 16mm, color, 8 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: Body, Dance, Music

This film was crucial to my understanding of composition, to my desire for an encyclopedic construction (the world "out" there), and reaffirmed my allegiance to rhythm, the rhythm of body-nerve-mind. "Juxtapositions of light made this dream consumed image between the penny arcades & mirrors reflecting masturbating naked brain of magnetized nitrous screens crackling is like pulp beside dummy circumstance." - Bruce Andrews, Jimmy and Lucy's House of K "THE RHYTHM!!!! the rhythm, like jazz, comes out of & returns to the BODY (the animal nature of film!, illustrated by the organic reticulation patterns of the self-processed segments): the 'meanings' of the shots (constantly undermined thru highly intentional overload): ... all films are 'different EVERY viewing' but this one more specifically so: colorfully constructed along lines of color: associative values emerge as if by chance, like memory, fleeting but there, reemerging altered: all films different every viewing but this one more intentionally so: takes several screenings to even know where it begins ...." -- Henry Hills, Cinemanews

Rental: $30.00
16mm Rental: $30.00

Abigail Child

Prefaces Is This What You Were Born For? (Part 1) (1981) 16mm, color, 9.5 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: Art & Artists, Music

"Like ORNAMENTALS, PREFACES is an abstract work which plays with formalist elements in a wide range of images on color and negative stock. It becomes a kind of 'preconscious' of the two completed films to follow, whose scope and image bank are more narrowly defined. The rapid-fire cross cutting of the images is extended to the construction of the sound track, which is also a dense panoply of fragments. What results is an impressive musique concrete composition, a collage of 'female' sounds interwoven with others: snippets from vocal music, conversations, poetry reading etc. Child plays with memory, not only her own and the world's, but also cinema's: its conventions, polarizations (man/woman) and hierarchization of images." -- Robert Hilferty, New York Native

Rental: $70.00
16mm Rental: $70.00

Abigail Child

Is This What You Were Born For? 1, 3, 4, 5, 6 (Prefaces, Mutiny, Covert, Perils, Mayhem) (1987) 16mm, color & b/w, 46.75 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: Art & Artists

IS THIS WHAT YOU WERE BORN FOR? is conceived as a way to bracket my ongoing film investigations in the context of the aggressions of the late Twentieth Century: the title is from an etching by Goya, part of the Disasters of War series. The work is in seven detachable parts, each of which can be viewed by itself for its own qualities. The films don't form a single line, or even an expanding line, but rather map a series of concerns in relation to mind, to how one processes material, how it gets investigated, how it gets cut apart, how something else (inevitably) comes up.

Rental: $500.00
16mm Rental: $500.00

Abigail Child

Mutiny Is This What You Were Born For? (Part 3) (1983) 16mm, color, 9.5 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: Ethnic / Multicultural

Featuring Polly Bradfield (violinist), Sally Silvers (dancer), Erica Hunt (poet), and Shelley Hirsch (singer). "This movie is a new kind of classic, it has invented once and for all the machine-gun sound of explosives and composed sentences with speeded-up speech and wild singing, laughter, hardly [at] all understandable, with violins screeching like falling bombs and a Hispanic grind dance .... There are tender closeups in interviews with women, and marvelous documents of dancers, street performers, all races & styles. These are brave and straight-talking people; this is a feminist film, and it is important. All the sound makes a talky song of many voices." -- Anne Robertson, X-Dream "Plastically a marvel, a discerning powerhouse performance." -- Ken Jacobs

Rental: $70.00
16mm Rental: $70.00

Abigail Child

Covert Action Is This What You Were Born For? (Part 4) (1984) 16mm, black and white, 7.75 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: Philosophical

I wanted to examine the erotic behind the social and remake those gestures into a dance that would front their conditioning, and as well, relay the multiple fictions the footage suggests (the "facts" forever obscured in the fragments left us). The result is a narrative developed by its periphery, a story-like rumor: impossible to trace, disturbing, explosive. "Collaging found footage ..., existing and original sound, [Child] undermines the authority of the past (as attributed to photographs and texts), and the 'inevitability' of the future (as mapped out by social convention) .... While Child's film titles allude to detective serials, spy and adventure stories ... her films complexly examine everyday actions, perhaps suggesting that this is the terrain for strategies and struggles to keep open the question 'Is This What You Were Born For?' " -- Kathy Geritz, Pacific Film Archive

Rental: $70.00
16mm Rental: $70.00

Abigail Child

Perils Is This What You Were Born For? (Part 5) (1986) 16mm, black and white, 3.5 min

Genre: Narrative, Experimental

Keywords: Art & Artists

With Diane Torr, Sally Silvers, Plauto, Elion Sacker. Sound improvisations: Charles Noyes and Christian Marclay. An homage to silent films: the clash of ambiguous innocence and unsophisticated villainy. Seduction, revenge, jealousy, combat. The isolation and dramatization of emotions through the isolation (camera) and dramatization (editing) of gesture. I had long conceived of a film composed only of reaction shots in which all causality was erased. What would be left would be the resonant voluptuous suggestions of history and the human face. PERILS is a first translation of these ideas.

Rental: $70.00
16mm Rental: $70.00

Abigail Child

Mayhem Is This What You Were Born For? (Part 6) (1987) 16mm, black and white, 16.5 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: Body

With Diane Torr, Ela Troyano, Plauto, Elion Sacker, Rex West. Additional sound: Christian Marclay, Charles Noyes, Zeena Parkins, Shelley Hirsch. Photographed by Child, Jeff Preiss (second camera). Characters from PERILS reappear, this time in a film noir setting, soap opera thrillers and Mexican comic books generating the action. Perversely and equally inspired by de Sade's Justine and Vertov's sentences about the satiric detective advertisement, MAYHEM is my attempt to create a film in which Sound is the Character and to do so focusing on sexuality and the erotic. Not so much to undo the entrapment (we fear what we desire; we desire what we fear), but to frame fate, show up the rotation, upset the common, and incline our contradictions toward satisfaction, albeit conscious.

Rental: $120.00
16mm Rental: $120.00

Abigail Child

Mercy Is This What You Were Born For? (Part 7) (1989) 16mm, color, 10 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: Technology

MERCY, the last in the series, is encyclopedic ephemera, exploring public visions of technological and romantic invention, dissecting the game mass media plays with our private perceptions.

Rental: $70.00
16mm Rental: $70.00

Abigail Child

B/Side (1996) 16mm, color & b/w, 40 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: Political / Social Activism

Child's B/SIDE is a provocative exploration of the urban homeless, combining sensitive footage of their exterior situation and entering imaginatively into interior fantasies. Framed by footage of the encampment locally known as Dinkinsville on New York's Lower East Side, where some of the homeless of Tompkins Square Park settled after the riots of June 1991, the movie begins with the encampment's first night and ends with the fire and subsequent destruction of the lot in October of the same year. Applying rhythmic construction, poetic license and a generous eye to bodies in poverty, B/SIDE documents a gritty vision of late 20th century urban life. "[F]ew of the films, experimental of otherwise, display the visual confidence and sociopolitical torque of Abigail Child's meditation on homelessness, B/SIDE, which is as modest and resonant as most alternative film is jejune." -- Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice, March 1997 "[A] rich Impressionistic work incorporating a stunning use of sounds and fragments of music; B/SIDE is as lyrical as it is critical." -- Kevin Thomas, The Los Angeles Times, October 1997 "Through both cinematic and emotional means, Child keeps her subjects and objects in a sustained and melodic forward motion, to achieve a tight web of dramatic tension." -- Jan Meisner, New York Talk "B/side shows the other side of Reagonomics, Director Abigail Child combines documentary with fiction and smart wit in a poetic montage to present a complicated and heartfelt portrait of colonialism at home. These events take place only a mile from Wall Street. The public is forced to look, even as the position of the camera changes. Sometimes the camera is the bystander, at other moments it is the perspective of the homeless themselves."--The Daily, Rotterdam Film Festival. "Abigail Child's latest film works like a finely crafted poison dart. Its initial hit is subtle; the effect is curare - hypnotic, over-powering, lethal. ... Through a stylish, yet edgy, mix of staged shots, documentary footage and soundscapes -- Child takes the viewer inside a homeless woman's world. ... [S]mart and fearless." -- Gordon Bowness, XTRA!, Toronto, April 1997 Awards: Official Selection, London and Rotterdam Int'l film festivals; Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, 1997; Oberhausen Film Festival Touring Package and Archive; Prize Winner, Ann Arbor Film Festival; OsnabrUck Media Arts Festival; Cineprobe, Museum of Modern Art, NY.

Rental: $120.00
16mm Rental: $120.00

Abigail Child

Below The New: A Russian Chronicle (1999) 16mm, color, 30 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: Ethnic / Multicultural, Found Footage, Personal / Diary / Journal, Political / Social Activism

This video essay combines diary footage of St. Petersburg with archival material, accompanied by the voices of two young Russians who, through personal anecdote, describe the emotional, political, and economic transformations that have wrenched their society.

Rental: $120.00
16mm Rental: $120.00

Abigail Child

Surface Noise (2000) 16mm, color, 18 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: Found Footage, Philosophical, Political / Social Activism

Found footage exploring public and private space, organized formally as a sonata, centered around work and issues of class: the divisions between home and public, owners and workers, saturation and flow, structure and improvisation. I work in media, both film and video. I began as a documentarian and moved into more experimental work by the late 1970s out of a sense of the politics of poetic forms and an aesthetic prediliction toward invention. My films extend the avant-garde and montage traditions of Eisenstein and Vertov, as well as the surrealist traditions of Bunuel and Breton in an attempt to examine, critique and play with and within the social realities of our era. In addition to these stylists from early in the century, my influences include the postwar films of Bruce Conner, Stan Brakhage and the under-recognized Len Lye. These works support my commitment to wit, clarity and an investigation of the daily. I expand on these traditions by focusing on sound/image relationships, and by examining gender, the portrayal of women and desire.

Rental: $85.00
16mm Rental: $85.00

Abigail Child

Dark Dark (2001) 16mm, black and white, 16 min

Genre: Narrative, Experimental

Keywords: Films about Film, Media, Literature & Theater, Philosophical

“DARK DARK is a ghost dance of narrative gesture melding four found story fragments: Noir, Western, Romance and Chase. The music of Ennio Morricone provocatively interacts with the images, tantalizing the audience with webs of memory, meaning and elusive folly.” A.C.

Rental: $75.00
16mm Rental: $75.00

Abigail Child

Cake and Steak (2002-2004) DVD_NTSC, color, 10 min

Genre: Experimental

A rambunctious embrace, body to body, woman to woman, entrance to exit- inlaws- foregrounding the construction of cinematic meaning, the elusive nature of memory and desire, the hysteric familial arena of the social. A comedy of manners and movement, the film, like all parts of this new series, excavates 'girl training' in the legacy of home movies and post-war American suburban culture, and is conceived for both loop installation and single-screen projection.

Rental: $75.00
DVD NTSC Rental: $75.00

Abigail Child

(If I can sing a song of) LIGATURES (2009) DVD_NTSC, b & w, 5:22 min

Genre: Experimental

Third in my series of Foreign Films exploring relations of text and image, how text turns the image. In (If I Can Sing A Song About) Ligatures, words taken from lines of Nada Gordon's unrequited love poems, whose sentences are taken, in their turn, from anonymous web poems, reveal a history of sexuality. Ligatures pronounces the poignancy of desire; its power and its vulnerability. The women are visions, girls, desirous, delicate, illusory. The illusionary nature is made manifest-transversing boundries, expectations and physical limits-by the close. We in the audience, creating our own identities in the moments, remain trans-fixed.

Rental: $75.00
DVD NTSC Rental: $75.00

Abigail Child

To and No Fro (2005) DVD_NTSC, b & w, 4.5 min

Genre: Experimental

First in a series of five 'foreign films' for projection/installation. "Speculative play with image and sound outside the frame. Status and culture crack the mirror of family secrets, dreams, hauntings and wish-fulfullment in letters. The text speaks; the scene looks."

Rental: $75.00
DVD NTSC Rental: $75.00

Abigail Child

UNBOUND: Scenes from the Life of Mary Shelley (2012-2013) color, 70 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: history

In Rome for a year at the American Academy, Child created imaginary home movies of scenes from the life of Mary and Percy Shelley. She was attracted to those authors - their life of poetry, politics and sexual invention - inspired by previous fictionalizing of home movies in her Convert Action (1984) and The Future is Behind You (2004). She worked with non-actors, the seasons and the extraordinary architecture and landscapes of Italy where the Shelleys were in exile for six of their eight years together. The result is a feature film UNBOUND: gorgeous, emotional, creatively combining new technologies with cinematic language. Digressive, looped, unpredictable, symphonic UNBOUND is a poignant and deep exploration of women and creativity, focused on the teenage author of Frankenstein. The history of the Shellys has drama, degradation, and scandal set within radicalized politics, sexual and class rebellion and the lives of working artists. Child's deconstruction embodies the poetic primacy of memory as well as the wit of techne: layered, diverted, delayed, reframed and remade.

Music by Zeena Parkinsa

DVD NTSC Sale: $250

Abigail Child

The Suburban Trilogy (2011) , 75 min

Genre: Experimental

A feature length project about girlhood and the immigrant dream, focusing on post WWII North American suburbs and between the war Europe, critically seem through the lens of gender, property and myths of nation. - A rambunctious embrace, body to body, woman to woman, entrance to exist - in-laws foregrounding the construction of cinematic meaning, the elusive nature of memory and desire, the hysteric familial area of the social. The project is prismatic, in that each part explores a different perspective in terms of both cinematics and historical era.

DVD INCLUDES:
Cake and Steak USA, 2004, 21 min. Constructed as a series of achronological 'chapters' in which Edenic images of adolescent twirlers, basement parties, and 'dress-up' are challenged by a sound montage composed of horror movie music, old TV shoes, laugh tracks, and machine noise of our modern Arcadias.

The Future is Behind You USA, 2004, 20 min. A fictional story composed from an anonymous family archive of 1930's Europe with two sisters who play, race, fight, kiss and grow up together under the shadow of oncoming history. At once biography & fiction, history & psychology. The Future is Behind You excavates gestures to get at the hears of narratives; it seeks a bridge between private & public histories. Music by John Zorn, arranged and performed for the movie by Sylvia Courvoisier and Mark Feldman.

Surf and Turf USA. 2008-11, 32 min. Contemporary ambiguities on the Jersey shore: the look is secular, the lifestyle capitalist, the religion orthodox. 40,000 Syrian Jews have moved into landscape previously occupied by Irish, Italian and the quite different sect of Askenazi Jews. The "unmelted pot" of America's small towns is set within memory and contemporary oppositions. What does it mean to have class in America? What does it mean to be Jewish? I think of conflicts between Israel and Palestine, Serbia and Bosnia, India and Pakistan: neighboring families and races split apart by religion. Extreme poverty enforces the tribal, while extreme wealth maintains it. Surf and Turf provides no easy answers but raises issues that have to long stayed behind closed doors: what do we say when we think no one is listening?

DVD NTSC Sale: $250

Abigail Child

Foreign Film Series (2005 - 2014) b&w / color, 45 min

Genre: Experimental

Keywords: films about films

TO AND NO FRO 4.5 min. Sound. B&W. 2005. In collaboration with Monica de la Torre & Bunuel's Women Without Love Status and culture crack the mirror of family secrets, dreams, hauntings and wish-fulfillment in shifting and multiplying frames.

MIRROR WORLD 12 min. Sound. Color. 2006 In collaboration with Gary Sullivan & Mehboob Khan's AAN. A reshaping of Khan's classic Bollywood feature, locating its narrative tropes against mis-translated subtitles - becoming "multi-lingual" in the maneuver. Formal play and poetic montage wrench causality create a sub-version of class conflict and desire.

(If I Can Sing A Song About) LIGATURES 5:22 min. B&W. Sound. 2009. Music by Marty Ehrlich. In collaboration with Nada Gordon & E.J, Bellocq. Subversive sexuality and the poignancy of desire. The women are visions, desirous, delicate, illusory; the illusionary nature manifest - traversing boundaries, expectations and physical limits.

SALOME 20 min. Sound. B&W. 2014. Music by Frank London. In collaboration with Adeena Karasick & Charles Bryant's Salome (1923) Child has layered and processed the images, recomposed the strains of music, and selected words and phrases to create a "succulent nexus" - fluid and strange.

Rental: $165

DVD NTSC Sale: $200

Abigail Child

ELSA merdelamerdelamer + VIS A VIS (2013) b&w, 30 min

Genre: Experimental

ELSA merdelamerdelamer Digital. B&W. 4 min. 2013. A smokey, punky and sexy chapter in the collectively made Feminist bio-drama, MamaDada about the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loring-hove, avant-garde performance artist, sculptress and poet. This brief excursion is inspired by an event that was lost in development where Man Ray and Duchamp made a film of the Baroness shaving her public hair.

VIS A VIS Digital. B&W. 25 min. 2013. Inspired by Vertov's Lullaby from the 1930s, as well as by Warhol's Screen Test portraits and Frampton's Manual of Arms from the 1960s, vis a vis constructs black and white portraits into a set of Romances, a notebook of sexualities: s/m, lesbian, gay, straight, solo. The piece celebrates friends and divergent (d)alliances. Out of the past comes a vision of the future as a set of erotic possibilities.

Rental: $120

DVD NTSC Sale: $175

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