For the last experimental film event of the season, Headroom and Vertical Cinema are appropriately teaming up to present a memorial screening of collaborations by Barbara Hammer, curated by Deborah Stratman!
With a career spanning fifty years, Barbara Hammer is recognized as a pioneer of queer cinema. A visual artist working primarily in film and video, Hammer created a groundbreaking body of experimental work that illuminates lesbian histories, lives and representations. Stated Hammer, “My work makes these invisible bodies and histories visible. As a lesbian artist, I found little existing representation, so I put lesbian life on this blank screen, leaving a cultural record for future generations.”
Barbara Hammer was born in 1939 in Hollywood, California. She lived and worked in New York until her death in 2019.
This set of films, collaborations made by, with, and for Barbara Hammer was curated by Deborah Stratman, who will be in attendance at the screening.
Barbara Hammer w/ Jane Brakhage
1974, 10 min, b&w, sound, 16mm
A documentary on the pioneer woman, her wisdom, philosophy and common sense: Jane Brakhage as herself is the viewpoint rather than Jane Brakhage, wife of the filmmaker, Stan Brakhage.
Barbara Hammer w/ Dyke Nymphs
1974, 4 min, b&w and color, sound, 16mm
“A popular lesbian ‘commercial,’ 110 images of sensual touching montages in A, B, C, D rolls of ‘kinaesthetic’ editing.” — BH
“Hammer’s films of the ’70’s are the first made by an openly lesbian American filmmaker to explore lesbian identity, desire and sexuality though avant-garde strategies. Merging the physicality of the female body with that of the film medium, Hammer’s films remain memorable for their pioneering articulation of a lesbian aesthetic.” – Jenni Sorkin, WACK! Art and The Feminist Revolution, 2007.
Superdyke Meets Madame X
Barbara Hammer w/ Max Almy
1975, 20.5 min, b&w, sound, digital
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.
Barbara Hammer w/ Terry Sendgraff
1978, 14.5 min, color, sound, 16mm
“A poetic study of the stages of a lesbian relationship by two women performance artists from honeymoon, through struggle, to break-up, to enduring friendship. Starring Terry Sendgraff on trapeze.” — BH
“The poetry of Barbara’s images carries us through the duration of a relationship: its intensely erotic beginnings, its sense of serenity, its playfulness and comedy and its closure — the alienation, pain, anger and loss of contact. The death of the body, a theme tenderly interwoven into the ageless strength and agility of Terry Sendgraff’s body, becomes the death of a relationship, a closing out, a leaving of the body behind. The body becomes a source of life. Its movement, grace, pain and happiness are contrasted with the inertness of things and the stillness of photos that merely document the brief passage of light.” — Jacquelyn Zita, Jump Cut
A Month of Single Frames
Lynne Sachs w/ Barbara Hammer
2019, 14 min, color, sound, digital
In 1998, filmmaker Barbara Hammer had an artist residency in a shack without running water or electricity. While there, she shot film, recorded sounds and kept a journal. In 2018, Barbara began her own process of dying by revisiting her personal archive. She gave all of her images, sounds and writing from the residency to filmmaker Lynne Sachs and invited her to make a film with the material. Through her own filmmaking, Lynne explores Barbara’s experience of solitude. She places text on the screen as a confrontation with a somatic cinema that brings us all together in multiple spaces and times.
Vever (for Barbara)
Deborah Stratman w/ Barbara Hammer
2019, 12min, color, sound, digital
A cross-generational binding of three filmmakers seeking alternative possibilities to the power structures they are inherently part of. Each woman extends her reach to a subject she is outside of. Vever grew out of the abandoned film projects of Maya Deren and Barbara Hammer. Shot at the furthest point of a motorcycle trip Hammer took to Guatemala in 1975, and laced through with Deren’s reflections of failure, encounter and initiation in 1950s Haiti.
A vever is a symbolic drawing used in Haitian Voodoo to invoke Loa, or god.
16mm prints of Double Strength and Jane Brakhage were preserved by Electronic Arts Intermix and the Academy Film Archive through the National Film Preservation Foundation’s Avant-Garde Masters Grant program and The Film Foundation. Funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation.
Images courtesy of Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York, Lynne Sachs, and Deborah Stratman
Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Cinematic Arts at 335-0330 or email@example.com