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Gwendolyn Audrey Foster Experimental Films - Portfolio

My films have been screened at The Nederlands Filmmuseum, Rice Museum, Collective for Living Cinema, Swedish Cinemateket, National Museum of Women in the Arts, DC, Bibliotheque Cantonale, Lausanne, Switzerland, International Film Festival of Kerala, India, Films de Femmes, Créteil, Outfest LA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Women’s Film Festival of Madrid, Kyobo Center, Korea, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Université Laval, Quebec, Forum Yokohama, Anthology Film Archives, Amos Eno Gallery, NY, SLA 307 Art Space, NY, Maryland Institute College of Art, NETV PBS, Studio 44 Stockholm, Museum of the Future, Berlin, X-12 Festival, Gainsborough, UK, and many other venues around the world.

I like to explore the aesthetic space between film & video through collage and abstraction techniques. I create my films from recycled found materials, combining elements of Surrealism, eco-feminism, bisexuality, mythology, automatism, slow film, romantic structuralism, and chance editing. Chance is my favorite collaborator. I often compose the music and soundscapes for my films, which have been described as surreal, contemplative, and hypnotic. ―Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

Click on the bird icon (at the top right corner above) for film annotations and more.

  1. Say / Nothing

    “'Say / Nothing' is a film about things about which we are routinely expected to ‘say nothing.' My film is a personal film on family loss and trauma, but also, far more importantly, a wider statement against a patriarchal culture of war and the military industrial complex, and the dangers of forced consensus and unquestioned obedience. Speaking out against war – and those things so often left unsaid – is crucial in these times. Forced consensus is truly dangerous to democracy.

    I do not support war, nor do I support the military or the patriarchal institutions and the gender norms that result in the destruction of life, the destruction of families, and the destruction of the environment. I wage peace and stand for pacifism in the face of a rising tide of increased militarism and nationalism. Speaking out and speaking up is deeply patriotic.”―Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    “Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.”―Martin Luther King, Jr.

    “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”―Martin Luther King, Jr.

    FOR RELATED FILMS:
    See also MACHINE vimeo.com/190509450
    See also FEAR vimeo.com/199258624
    See also ENOUGH vimeo.com/194188318
    See also MASS: vimeo.com/208383457
    See also Obey / Follow: vimeo.com/212426618

    Say / Nothing is made from "found" material in the Public Domain, or images and music released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license.

    "Say / Nothing" is a video by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2017 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

    Choral Music used in Say / Nothing is all from the
    Free Music Archive. Public Domain. CCO 1.0
    Antonio Lotti's 'Missa'
    Tomás Luis de Victoria's 'Amicus Meus'
    Tomás Luis de Victoria's 'Unus Ex Discipulis Meus'

  2. Joy

    'Joy' is a non-objective meditational abstract; an embrace of color, visuality, art and life.

    “Listen carefully to first criticisms made of your work. Note just what it is about your work that critics don't like - then cultivate it. That's the only part of your work that's individual and worth keeping.”―Jean Cocteau

    "Embrace mistakes. There are no mistakes."―Andy Warhol

    "Don't impose. Don't obstruct. Allow the images to emerge as they wish."―Wheeler Winston Dixon

    "We do not take a trip; a trip takes us."―John Steinbeck

    I am grateful for my most creative and spontaneous collaborators: the magical trinity of chance, happy accidents, and subconscious automatism. ―Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    Created from recycled and repurposed images and sound in the Public Domain, or material released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license.

    'Joy'― Music and video by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2017 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  3. Film for Storm de Hirsch

    “I don't want to put any labels on my films… I never impose on you; you need to find what you have to find.” ― Storm de Hirsch

    "Film for Storm de Hirsch" [aka "Women's Time"] is a tribute to legendary filmmaker Storm de Hirsch, one of the pioneers of underground experimental cinema in the 1960s, along with other female directors such as Marie Menken, Barbara Hammer, Gunvor Nelson, Joyce Wieland, Shirley Clarke, Barbara Rubin and many others. De Hirsch was a poet who moved easily from written poetry to experimental filmmaking. She had no camera, so she began painting, scratching and etching directly onto disgarded film stock and sound tape. Like many women of the era, she was written out of film history only to be later rediscovered and celebrated with retrospectives of her films, which are now being screened and restored.

    Storm de Hirsch’s jubilant films are shot through with a fierce love of life, love, and sexuality. Her best known work is ‘Goodbye in the Mirror’ (1964) a feature shot on location in Rome, which Shirley Clarke called “the first real women’s film.” Her short films are dazzling abstractions, often mixing live action with animation and myriad experimental effects. Storm noted that she often received responses to her work addressed to "Mr. Storm," and suspected that her work was better received when critics presumed she was male. “Peyote Queen” is positively hypnotic. As I wrote in 1995, Storm de Hirsch excelled in her “brilliant use of color, pure light, and sensory imaginations of memory and beauty.”

    "'Film for Storm de Hirsch' is an abstraction in which I use images of clothespins and film leader, slowed down to suggest the idea of women's waiting, women's time, women's spaces; women artists and filmmakers 'waiting' to be rediscovered. Their work lives on and inspires so many young experimental filmmakers and female video artists who search for the path of the many avant garde women who paved the way in experimental film, video and art. For more on Storm de Hirsch and hundreds of women filmmakers, see my encyclopedia, “Women Film Directors: An International Bio-critical Dictionary."― Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    “Film for Storm de Hirsch” is made from recycled and repurposed materials and sounds in the Public Domain, or material released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license.

    "Film for Storm de Hirsch" by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2017 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  4. memento mori

    A series of living digital paintings; memento mori for planet Earth and a celebration of Nature and Life itself. A digital altering of time and portraiture: eco-feminist and Buddhist philosophy meet Romantic Structuralism.

    "My film is a series of digital paintings; reminders (vanitas) of the fleeting and ephemeral nature of Life. I hope to inspire and promote radical celebration of Nature and Love of Life itself. I embrace this beautiful planet and cling to the hope that it will survive us." --Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    A note on the sound and motion effects - this is the actual natural soundtrack slowed down and not further manipulated; it takes on a powerful voice of urgency and relentlessness. The stepped slow-mo effect disrupts temporarilty and breaks the video into digital paintings, better to grasp the slow inexorable effects of global warming. --GAF

    "memento mori" is created from recycled and repurposed materials in the Public Domain, or material released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license.

    "memento mori"― by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2017 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  5. Goddesses [For Survivors: #me too]

    For all the women defiantly coming forward. We are not victims. We are survivors. Survivors speaking out. #me too.

    Goddesses are not celestial. Goddesses are earthly creatures who perform heroic acts every single day. Women are openly speaking out against decades of abuse, institutionalized harassment, and rape. Women are destroying STIGMA around sexual harassment, rape, and sexual abuse. Women (and many men) are coming forward, telling their stories and destroying stigma.

    STIGMA is what has kept us SILENT. The destruction of stigma releases an incredible source of power, and a wave of justice, not to mention the potential for real societal change.

    'Goddesses’ is a celebration of female courage, heroism, power and inner beauty in all the many forms it takes in everyday life.―Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    "Goddesses"― Music and video by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster.

    Dedicated to my Professors, Gloria Orenstein and Kate Millett.

    Gloria Orenstein is my former Professor at Douglass College, Rutgers University. Gloria taught an incredibly exciting and groundbreaking feminist class about women in folklore, ancient Minoan goddesses, and eco-feminism.

    Gloria taught us exactly how patriarchy oppressed us. She taught us how to fight it. How to survive it, and how to thrive despite the weight of oppression.

    Gloria's class was one of the most important for myself and many young punk feminists at Douglass, among a number of terrific feminist classes at Douglass College in the late 1970s/ early 1980s. We were also incredibly fortunate to have Michelle Wallace as a Professor. She taught black feminist theory and history, among other topics. We also had Adrienne Rich for poetry, and Catherine Stimpson for classes in women authors.

    Gloria Orenstein and other feminists at Douglass College made a significant impact on my life and that of many of my friends: many of us followed in their footsteps to become artists, writers, filmmakers, educators, and eco-feminist intersectional activists.

    A pioneer in the field of eco-feminism and women in Surrealism, Gloria Orenstein was a central figure in the women's movement in the late 1970s, and started women's salons with the late Kate Millett, Michelle Wallace, Gloria Steinem, June Jordan and many other pioneers in the feminist movement. Gloria introduced us to the writings of Robin Morgan, Kate Millett. Mary Daly, Shulamith Firestone, Susan Brownmiller, and Adrienne Rich, who taught us poetry at Douglass College.

    Here is a video on Gloria Orenstein demonstrating her significance in the Women's Movement:

    vimeo.com/193971052

    Thank you, Gloria, Kate and Michelle, for the inspiration to look for goddesses and female heroes in the everyday and to encourage women to speak out. Without women like you, the #me too movement would not be possible. You paved the way.
    ―Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    Here is a photo of Kate Millet (reading). Seated next to her is Gloria Orenstein, her hair cropped short, wearing a long striped dress.

    nytimes.com/2017/09/07/opinion/sunday/kate-millet-feminists.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region

    Made in loving memory of the great Kate Millett, (September 14, 1934 - September 6, 2017) pioneering feminist, educator, author, survivor, goddess, and feminist activist.

    "Goddesses" is made from repurposed materials in the Public Domain, or material released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license.

    "Goddesses"― Music and video by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster.

    Copyright © 2017 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  6. Mass

    "Mankind’s irrational destruction of nature bothers me a lot. Mankind is slowly committing suicide, or not so slowly: each day it accelerates – producing all kinds of wastes: corporeal, industrial, atomic, poisoning the earth, the sea, the air…What a piece of work is man! No other animal would be so stupid." ―Luis Buñuel

    "Massive global habitat destruction and irreversible pollution are based on the unsupportable idea that we have somehow been given free license over all other species to degrade and destroy this planet."―Greg Graffin

    'Mass' is made from recycled and repurposed images and sound in the Public Domain, or material released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license.

    'Mass,' a video by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster.
    Copyright © 2017 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

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