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Gwendolyn Audrey Foster - Portfolio

Originally from New York City, Gwendolyn Audrey Foster is The Willa Cather Professor of Film Studies at the University of Nebraska. Foster is a film and video artist and author of many volumes on experimental film, women filmmakers, and LGBTQ+ cinema. Her documentary on women film directors, "The Women Who Made the Movies," is distributed by Women Make Movies.

Foster's work has screened at Anthology Film Archives (NYC), Collective for Living Cinema (NYC), MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art (NYC), Outfest (LA), Bi Arts Festival (Toronto), National Museum of Women in the Arts (DC), Films de Femmes (Créteil), Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), Forum Yokohama (Japan), Studio 44 (Stockholm), BWA Contemporary Art Museum (Poland), Filmhuis Cavia (Amsterdam), nGKB gallery (Berlin), Engauge Film Festival (Seattle), LACDA (LA Center for Digital Art), WUFF (Canada) and galleries, museums and film festivals around the world. Foster's complete films and videos are archived at the UCLA Film & Television Archives.

Artist Statement:

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

Read more at gwendolynaudreyfoster.com
Contents of this portfolio copyright © 2016 - 2020 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  1. The Passenger

    Experiment in self-portraiture using found footage. Color study and homage to Pierre Bonnard, Les Nabis, and Iggy Pop.

    Pierre Bonnard - known for his radical use of color and the transient expressions of his elusive subjects. Bonnard was a member of Les Nabis, an avant garde group of Post impressionist artists who wished to revitalize painting and were themselves inspired by Japanese art, aesthetic metaphors, and symbolism. Also inspired by Iggy Pop's song of the same name.―Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, queer bisexual nonconforming artist.

    While there are many ways of reading them, the following three films form a trilogy of found self portraits, all détournements from archival imagery; "found selves" so to speak:

    "Standing Up" vimeo.com/204817552
    "Smile / Wave" vimeo.com/224574518
    "The Passenger" vimeo.com/205097372

    A related video is "She Smiled," vimeo.com/203713247

    'The Passenger' is a found self portrait, a détournement fashioned and remixed from found appropriated images in the Public Domain, or material released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license.

    Music by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. "The Passenger" by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster.
    Copyright © 2017 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  2. Membership Has Its Privileges

    "This film is an abstract critique of various types of privilege: cis privilege, white privilege, class privilege, and heterosexual privilege, for example.

    These forms of privilege are NOT unconnected.

    Forms of privilege intersect and support one another and must be dismantled by intersectional disruptions and intersectional interventions.

    'Membership Has Its Privileges' is a détournement and (mis)appropriation of found images (in this case advertising templates). Popularized by Guy Debord and the Situationists, détournement is borrowed from French and roughly translates to 'overturning, highjacking,' or 'derailment.'

    'Détournement' is a process whereby an artist appropriates and alters existing media artifacts - found images that the audience is already familiar with (such as advertising) in order to give them potentially subversive meaning."―Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    Dedicated to Brandon Teena

    #gender is obsolete #end cis privilege #end hetero-normativity # end white privilege #end economic privilege #Gwendolyn Audrey Foster #bisexual queer trans-questioning feminist artist #white privilege #class privilege #hetero-normative privilege #cis-privilege #détournement #punk feminist #punk film #advertising commodifies bodies #(mis)appropriation, #found advertising templates, #intersectionality #Situationists #Guy Debord #political art #unpleasant films #in memory of brandon teena #binary privileged at the expense of others #stop coerced straight cis norms #end white privilege #end het privilege #gender norms prison #question all forms of prvilege

    “Membership Has Its Privileges” is a détournement of repurposed materials and sounds in the Public Domain, or material released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license.

    "Membership Has Its Privileges" Music & video by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2017 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  3. Refugees

    "Refugees," music and video by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster, a collage and détournement from found images; advertising templates abstracted into a political activist filmpoem.

    At least 3,800 migrant refugees died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea in 2016 to escape deadly violence and persecution, often both.

    Thousands more fleeing refugees drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in 2017, including many teenage girls, pregnant women, and newborn children. The Mediterranean is the most dangerous sea crossing in the world for refugees and migrants.

    Yet, 'the compassion deficit seems to be a global plague.' -- Steve Symonds, Amnesty UK Refugee Programme Director.

    If people were able to see refugees not as faceless masses, but as individual human beings, perhaps compassion and empathy (in the collective human heart) might be more effectively moved. --Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    See "Tenderness," on the same theme:
    vimeo.com/185327438

    “Refugees" is a détournement from repurposed images and ads in the Public Domain, or material released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license.

    "Refugees," Music and video by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2017 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

  4. Joy

    A non-objective meditational abstract; an experiment in color, visuality, and the liminal space found between analog and digital aesthetics and sound. A visual celebration of 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Superluminal Time Travel

    “Like our subconscious dreams, the cinema allows us to freely time travel. Science suggests that traveling backwards in time may be possible through 'superluminal' motion - moving faster than the speed of light. ‘Superluminal Time Travel’ is a surrealistic shaman ritual film that evokes both nostalgia and potential for annihilation of the past, wherein toxic history and images are consumed by paradoxically cleansing smokestacks. It is a cleansing film.” ―Gwendolyn Audrey Foster

    Below is some interesting reading, especially the mention of 'an image pair annihilation event.' "Can You Really Go Back in Time by Breaking the Speed of Light?" by David Russell, suggests that one can go back in time and potentially 'erase' historical events that lead to the future destruction of the planet, for example. It is an interesting scientific line of inquiry, to say the least; I have made it more concrete here in 'Superliminal Time Travel.' Here is the article by David Russell:

    pbs.org/wgbh/nova/blogs/physics/2015/08/can-you-really-go-back-in-time-by-breaking-the-speed-of-light/

    “Superluminal Time Travel” is a détournement, made from materials in the Public Domain, or released under a Creative Commons CC0 Public Domain license.

    Music Track - "The Hours," by Scott Gratton
    Attribution Noncommercial CC license. Free Music Archive.

    "Superluminal Time Travel" is a détournement collage by Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. Copyright © 2017 Gwendolyn Audrey Foster. All rights reserved.

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