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  Experimental Film and Video
Thursday, April 22 & Thursday, April 29
Woodland Pattern Experimental Film/Video Series
Presented by the UWM Film Department

Joyce Wieland The Films of Joyce Wieland

Acclaimed as an underground filmmaker, political activist, a formalist, a Canadian nationalist, a postmodernist and a radical feminist, Joyce Wieland is a pioneer figure in the history of experimental film whose contributions are often underrated just as her varied body of work eludes easy categorization. Several of her films are political, concerned with technology, ecology, text/image relations, and her native land, Canada. Her films often embody intimate points of view, domestic space, and gender identity. Her rich body of work also includes painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, pastiche, lithograph, quilts, and perfume. Wieland combines humor, sentimentality, and rebellion against convention while exploring the intertextuality of different mediums.

Although commonly placed within the framework of either Canadian nationalism or 1960's structuralist or modernist canons, Wieland's films reach far beyond the confines of both theoretical perspectives. "What is at the core of Wieland's films is the posing of new representational values and relations"(Lauren Rabinovitz, Points of Resistance). To the extent that her work incorporates an interrogation of formal conventions, this is always intersected by a persistent concern with the political. Much of Wieland's work is paradoxical: it mourns the passing of what it also celebrates (most notable in the arena of sexual imagery).

Joyce Wieland has often resisted theoretical labeling for its failure to acknowledge the personal impetus of her work. She was born in Toronto in 1931, and died there in 1998 after a prolonged struggle with Alzheimer's disease. Orphaned at age nine, her early female role models included her older sister Joan and Doris McCarthy, a visual arts teacher at the Toronto Central Technical High School. Isolated from other children by poverty, Wieland found solace in drawing. It would prove a difficult task to gain recognition in a male dominated environment, but her paintings, installations, and other art would later constitute one-woman shows. Wieland would in fact be marginalized in many aspects of her life. She married Michael Snow in 1956; they moved to New York City in 1963 where Joyce found her niche among avant-garde filmmakers such as Jonas Mekas, Ken & Flo Jacobs, Hollis Frampton, George and Mike Kuchar, Shirley Clarke, and others. Wieland moved back to Toronto in 1971, mobilizing a change that she later characterized as "the beginning of having her own life."

We will present two programs of Wieland's work on two consecutive Thursdays. All the work will be shown on 16mm.

Thursday, April 22, 7pm

Solidarity (11min, color, sound, 1973)
An experimental documentary - - close-ups of the feet of striking workers at the Dare cookie factory in Kitchener, Ontario.

Pierre Vallieres (30 min, color, sound, 1972)
Superficial pop meets politicized discourse. Wieland focuses on the lips of an eloquent separatist, echoing and expanding her paintings on lips and circles. An essay in three parts: Mont Laurier, Quebec history and race, and women's liberation. This film marks the maturation and radicalization of Wieland's politics.

Patriotism (4 min, color, sound, 1964)
Originally an 8mm film (blown up to 16mm in 1980's) First in a two-part, playful concern with the sexual.

A and B in Ontario (16 min, b&w, sound, 1967-84)
A witty war between the sexes. A cinematic hide-and-seek game between Wieland and fellow filmmakers Hollis Frampton.

Thursday, April 29, 7pm

Reason Over Passion (82 min, color, sound, 1967-69)
Primarily shot with a hand-held camera from a moving train from one Canadian coast to the other, rephotographed, and interrupted by an optic autopsy of the prime minister's head; this conceptual and structural feature challenges the primacy of rational logic and language within patriarchal systems. An attempt to deconstruct the material processes of images and their roles in ideology by dislocating the familiar codes of the travelogue documentary.

Each show is $2

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