From: Freya (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Jan 25 2008 - 07:39:05 PST
I just stumbled across this posting to Frameworks by
accident and was a little shocked at what I found!
Here Jackie is saying exactly the same thing as I said
last night about having a diversity of canons. :)
I'm very sad to hear that she has now died as it seems
like she was someone who could have done something to
help you all, and in fact seemed to be trying to do
Anyway I thought I would re-post it here as she is
more articulate about the subject and has thought
about it a lot more than I have as I only really
started to think about it this way after Nickys
accidental posting last night.
Anyway, see below...
As one of the artists who has 'griped' about canons in
the past, here in the UK, and gone some way to doing
something about it, I thought I might butt in to this
discussion. In the UK 'peer review' has had direct
effect on funding. So that historically, a
consequence of 'canons' in the UK has been that some
artists have been funded and written about; and others
not. How canonising impoverishes cinematic experiment
is a research project; but the silencing of some
histories and promotion of others is clear to see when
doing empirical study into the histories of certain
kinds of moving image. Histories are non-linear -
they overlap - and are multi-narrative. But women have
been written out of art history systematically with
thousands of 'tiny snips'. I don't know the politics
of the essential cinema list - and maybe there is
none!! -) and its true to say that there were
relatively few women to men making film and video pre
1965. But why shouldnt women (or men for that matter)
protest? And more to the point, why is this seen as an
attack? Lets face it, bias doesnt stop at gender,
race, sexuality or class, so that a better description
for 'griping' might be call for debate.
Now, I'm not complaining about canons per se - because
if there were so many of them and we had a choice of
them; and so many of us made lists and organised
shows, books, funding, documentation, for artists,
then it would be a wonderfully pluralistic cultural
'industry' that we work in. But of course, nothing's
perfect. The problem is when the only 'canon' gets
churned out over and over again; when artists are left
out over and over again; then frankly, something must
be said. Well no... done. In one sense it's fine to
have lists, if they enable access and further
knowledge, as long as the criteria for selection are
transparent - as long as the reasons for the choice
are clear - the agendas (there are always agendas) are
apparent. Maya Deren was a relentless self promoter
and wouldnt take no for an answer by all accounts - so
I'll end with that.
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For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.