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Gwendolyn Audrey Foster - Experimental Filmmaker

Originally from New York City, Gwendolyn Audrey Foster is an award-winning film/video artist, curator, and a prolific author on experimental film, women filmmakers, LGBTQ+ and film history. Co-author of "Experimental Cinema: The Film Reader," Foster's documentary on women filmmakers, "The Women Who Made the Movies," is distributed by Women Make Movies. Foster is Willa Cather Professor Emerita in Film Studies at University of Nebraska.

Foster's films and video installations have premiered at Anthology Film Archives (NYC), MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art (NYC), Outfest (LA), Bi+ Arts Festival (Toronto), Collective for Living Cinema (NYC), Films de Femmes (Créteil), Forum Yokohama (Japan), Analogica (Italy), Festival Internacional de Cine Experimental Y Vídeo CODEC (Mexico), Studio 44 (Stockholm), BWA Contemporary Art Museum (Poland), Filmhuis Cavia (Amsterdam), nGKB gallery (Berlin) and many other galleries, museums and film festivals around the world. Foster's films and videos are archived at the UCLA Film & Television Archives.

Artist Statement:

As a queer feminist marxist artist, my work explores the aesthetic space between film & video through collage and abstraction techniques. I work in 8mm, 16mm and 35mm film/video. I create some films from found materials, combining elements of Surrealism, eco-feminism, punk, romantic structuralism, détournement and chance editing (automatism). Chance is my favorite collaborator. I compose the music and soundscapes for many of my films, which have been described as surreal, contemplative, and hypnotic. ―Gwendolyn Audrey Foster



Contents of this portfolio copyright © 2016 - 2021 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  1. Chromatograph [for Mary Field]

    A tender hand-made and hand-processed natural pressing cyanotype and chromatograph made in honor of Mary Field (1896–1968), the British documentary filmmaker known for her pioneering short films in the "Secrets of Nature" and "Secrets of Life" Series.

    Among her many accomplishments, Mary Field made hundreds of beautiful early black and white experimental nature documentaries, pioneering various cinematographic and micro-photographic techniques to capture nature's secrets in action. Field was also one of the first to create female-focused instructional films and was instrumental in establishing The Children's Film Foundation. Though Field is often lost or forgotten in documentary film history texts, she won an OBE for her services to educational and children's film. Read more about Mary Field's work in my book, "Women Film Directors."

    "Chromatograph [for Mary Field]" (alternate title "Fragile") an experimental nature documentary moving portrait; a cinepoem and homage by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster.

    “Chromatograph [for Mary Field]” © 2018 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.


    Dada gives Time it's own reflection; it's alterity; it's Other.

    Time travel film. A séance. A non film. An anti-film. A dada film, not a dada film. Hypnosis, not hypnosis. Not-art: a clock. Not a clock. 9 minutes in Dadascopic time, or not.

    Made by accident, using "automatism," (random chance editing of détourned images in the spirit of the Surrealists) DADA TIME is both time-based and not; a "non-film" that is "not time based." It can be run backwards or forwards, silent or sound. It has no beginning and it has no end, like time. --GAF

    “Under this mask, another mask. I will never be finished removing all these faces.” ― Claude Cahun

    For Claude Cahun, Hannah Höch, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Ella Bergmann-Michel, Mina Loy, Clara Tice, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Meret Oppenheim, Dora Maar, Leonor Fini, Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo, Sebastain Droste and so many women and queer artists in Dada and Surrealism.

    It's about time.

    "DADA TIME" is made from recycled "found" CCO public domain materials."DADA TIME," by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster.

    Copyright © 2020 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  3. Three Wishes

    Collage of rephotographed vintage film. Bizarre vaudeville 'acts'(early performance art) as poetic metaphor for mother/daughter struggle.

    Ironically, modern performance art is considered "high art," yet it has firm roots in vaudeville, which is largely regarded as primitive "low art" - of and for the lower classes and a mass audience, rather than the privileged elite.

    As a child, I was fortunate to hear many tales of "The Vaudeville" from my Great Grandmother and her many sisters, my Great Aunts. In their imaginative Irish storytelling, vaudeville seemed so very mysterious and magical: a lost art, full of the bewitching and ritualistic elements of fairy tale, and oral legends. This is my tribute to their conjurings and yarn spinning; a child's enchanted and awestruck imaginings of women's tales, passed on through the ages.

    "Three Wishes" is created from recycled and repurposed images and sound in the Public Domain, or material released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license. "Three Wishes," by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2017 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  4. Hold On To Your Hats

    "Hold On To Your Hats" is a hand-made split-screen experimental film using the technique of disrupted stereoscopy.

    For Bill Domonkos

    Screened on the new public outdoor art projection art site at the corner of Houston and Bowery in New York City. Also streamed online through the Walltime app. (January 2019).

    "Hold On To Your Hats" is made from recycled "found" CCO public domain materials. Copyright © 2018 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  5. Making America Straight & White Again [Extended Version EP]

    Splice Film Fest, Brooklyn NY 2020
    MicroActs LGBT+ Filmfest, London 2019.
    Bi+ Arts Festival, Toronto 2018.

    One woman shows:

    "Fast and Furious: Experimental Queer Dada Feminist Films" of Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, Studio 44, Stockholm, Sweden 2018.
    “Punk Queer Dada Films: Gwendolyn Audrey Foster,” OT301 Cinema of the Dam'd, Amsterdam, 2018.
    “Gwendolyn Audrey Foster: Queer Feminist Punk Experimental Films,” Filmhuis Cavia, Amsterdam, July 2018. “Gwendolyn Audrey Foster: Queer Experimental Films,”The Screening Room, Salto TV for Amsterdam Queer Pride Festival, 2018.

    An EP (extended version) of "Making America Straight and White Again." In this punk video, mayhem and distortion reflects the current rise of retrograde homophobia, transphobia, racism and white supremacist in America under the Trump Regime in the news every day. We must Resist!.

    Media fosters a sense of anger, helplessness, and apathy, but when we rise above the noise and divisiveness, progressives will inevitably stem the tide of the retrograde. We will not slip backwards.

    The only way to get through the very worst is to go forward - directly through it. Tune out the discouraging noise and act. Be firm and resolute in the knowledge that we can move forward and we WILL move forward. Don't just react: ACT!

    See Also:
    Genderqueer Doll Party

    Bisexual Materialist Ragtime Party

    “Making America Straight & White Again [Extended Version EP]” is a collage of détourned images and sounds found in the Public Domain, or materials released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license.

    "Making America Straight & White Again [Extended Version EP]," a détournement by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2018 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  6. Say / Nothing

    Say / Nothing is a collaged poem made from rephotographed found footage: a study of hetero-patriarchal masculinity and military violence exploring the difficulty and significance of speaking out against war in an atmosphere of false consensus.

    “'Say / Nothing' is a film about things about which we are routinely enforced to ‘say nothing': a personal film on family loss and trauma, but also 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 or blind patriotism, nor do I support the military or the patriarchal institutions and toxic 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.



    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'

    Say / Nothing is a détournement 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.