WNDX: The Films of Joyce Wieland
One of the many highlights of this year’s WNDX Festival of Film and Video Art will be a retrospective of the late Joyce Wieland.
Wieland (June 30, 1931 – June 27, 1998) was an experimental filmmaker as well as a mixed media visual artist, and was the first female living artist to have a solo show at the National Gallery of Canada and at the Art Gallery of Ontario. She has been described as “a pioneer of feminist avant-garde cinema” and “a major figure in the avant-grade film scene of the 1960s”.
Be sure to check out Wieland’s work and many of the other great sights and sounds WNDX has to offer, including some great Canadian and International shorts programs, performance pieces done on the Canwest Screen at Portage and Main, and of course the One Take Super 8 at the Gas Station Theatre on Sunday night at 7PM.
Below are a few quotes from Lianna M. McLarty regarding experimental film and the films of Joyce Wieland from her essay in The Films of Joyce Wieland, as edited by Kathryn Elder.
“The forms adopted by experimental film question traditional notions of cinematic representation and offer alternatives to the forms of construction of mainstream cinema. In their tendency to use self-reflexive devices, they represent a conscious reaction against dominant cinematic expression. Experimental filmmakers deny the pleasure derived from easy access to information; they react against a Hollywood model which seeks merely to entertain us by using a conventional and straightforward plot structure. Experimental cinema is a cinema of “awkward access.” In its reaction against conventional narrative film, experimental work may even eschew reference, presenting us instead with abstractions which cam be understood only as pure aesthetic form.”
“In these respects, at least, Joyce Wieland’s are typical avant-garde films, for they are self-conscious works that define themselves as being film. They are distancing, for they prevent their viewer from being drawn in by illusion, making them aware of the filmmaking process. Like most of the films within the experimental tradition, Wieland’s films attempt to reach a clearer understanding of the nature of cinema. To a certain extent, they are instruments with which investigations of cinema are conducted. Yet within the experimental film world, Wieland does not resort to render to mainstream expression. Wieland’s self-reflexivity is not only a “device” to explore the nature of cinema. She makes the viewer aware of the filmmaking process in order to sharpen perception for a greater end. Wieland’s work is indeed about film, but also considers concrete political issues. It is not a cinema only of itself; it is rather a cinema that is aware of the society that gave it birth.”
“Joyce Wieland is true to the “tradition” of experimental film in her use of self-reflexive forms of construction and her concern with the nature of the medium. Yet, she moves beyond most experimental films in her refusal to rely on mere abstraction and aesthetic concerns. Her political, national and feminist consciousness defines her as a filmmaker with a broad scope, using the medium to its fullest.”
-Lianne M. McLarty, The Experimental Films of Joyce Wieland