Thank you for your observations on the role of scholarship in creating centered 
spaces for auteurs Evan. 

When female filmmakers voices are centered, when I as a woman don’t have to 
decrypt and explain what is perfectly clear to me — I was raised literate in a 
male visual vocabulary (as is everyone in the culture). I am constantly doing 
double-work. When I don’t have to do that, then gender parity will have 

I grew up trained to recognize male visual language, right? Double-work is “ok 
where is my vision of this, as it has been informed by my woman-experience”. It 
is what women say to other women when men aren’t around, what men miss or 
overlook. This is often the narrative I’m interested in. And that kind of 
narrative is often demoted because it literally can’t be seen. 

I can put on multiple lenses, I have practiced reading so many kinds of work by 
so many kinds of speakers. Yet the voice at center? Usually male auteur. The 
kind of work rewarded? Same. 

That place in the center allows the auteur the power to abuse those in the 

To me the deepest revolution is to sponsor women’s authorial power, to bring 
queer authors, POC authors, to the center. Let many have a turn in that space. 
Lateralize the mountain, get rifle of ideas of apex. Train all in how to listen 
and prize story and voice coming from places “not white”, “not male”, etc. 

So many people are making work now, I gave up pederasts and stalkers and found 
new art old and new to research and consider. It’s not hard. I value Tippi 
Hedrin more than Alfred Hitchcock’s films, not a tough decision. 

I also keep the act of viewing art in balance with other areas of life - I have 
few idols and art isn’t an escape for me, rather it enriches my life. It’s not 
a church, either, it’s part of our built world. 

I also have listened to too many women (and a smaller number of men) who have 
been assaulted. That pain is real, the day to say struggle, often too much.  
Art? It’s an illusion. Created in a more conscious way than our mutual traumas, 
so much of trauma a boiling-over of uncontrollability and attempts to control. 

Anyway ... I have worked with survivor communities training in fine art 
production, it is something we should keep talking about. Certainly it’s not 
one answer coming from ‘out there’ that gets us to figure out, each one of us, 
what might work. It’s a gigantic constellation of conversations and ongoing 
discussion and failing and trying again. 

Thanks for bringing this up. It’s a valuable convo to have. 


* * * * *

Jessica Fenlon

artist : poet : experimental :

flickr : vimeo : instagram

> On Nov 26, 2017, at 12:31 AM, Amanda Christie <> 
> wrote:
> I would like to offer another perspective, that no one has mentioned yet… 
> about when it comes to naming names… 
> and the idea that Evan mentioned about the voiceless gaining a voice… 
> if a third party names names… are the voiceless actually gaining a voice if 
> they are not the ones telling their own stories?  
> or is someone else then telling their story for them, and thus stealing their 
> voice again?
> there is more complexity to this situation than just what to do with the art 
> of an aggressor after an aggressor has been outed… 
> there is also the question of how the outing of an aggressor then impacts the 
> actual people who were hurt and whether or not they are the ones telling 
> their own stories. 
> I think that is the most important question in all of this.  
> Consideration for the people who were hurt and making sure that they retain 
> their own right to choose whether or not to tell their own stories.
> naming aggressors should come from the people who have personally been hurt 
> by them… (I don’t want to use the term “victim", or “survivor", because i 
> find those terms put the person who lived the experience, into a labelled box 
> where their whole identity becomes about the aggression they lived through, 
> rather than all of the other things they accomplished in their life… but i 
> can’t think of better terms right now, so i will reluctantly use those terms 
> in this instance).  
> So... let’s say someone does name people… what about the victims or 
> survivors… do they have a say in that?  
> if he outs them… then, no. they don’t.  and they become revictimized again.
> Even if their own names are not mentioned as “victims” or “survivors"… seeing 
> their aggressors named, may out them anyway… because this is a very small 
> community.
> and I think that it is problematic when we become so focussed on outing 
> people, for the greater cause… that we forget about the impact it might have 
> on the individual people who actually experienced the aggressions, that are 
> then forced to relive traumatic experiences without having prepared 
> themselves for it… or who then have to have their own art work or past films 
> defined by those experiences rather than by the work itself.
> in addition to potentially further victimizing those who were already hurt… i 
> think that naming names risks becoming a simplistic distraction from actually 
> discussing the issues and finding strategies for moving forward…. 
> which brings me to the other issue, which i think is of critical importance 
> in this particular context of esoteric experimental films made in the margins…
> as Pip said… this is not the industry… there are no casting couches… but 
> still… precisely because this is a small community, making esoteric 
> non-commercial works… it makes it that much harder for people to come forward 
> with stories… why?  because, our experimental films have such a small 
> audience to begin with… and while there is some critical and academic writing 
> about these films… it is still limited… so, if someone comes forward with a 
> story about surviving an assault or an aggression while making a film… then 
> later on, if their work ever gets written about… that aggression or assault 
> becomes a part of the public narrative of their work… perhaps even tied to a 
> particular film… basically, if someone shares about such an experience… they 
> risk having the story of their assault hijack the public and historical 
> narrative of their film, because then whenever people write about that film… 
> they don’t just write about the film itself… they might write about the 
> “obstacles” that were overcome when making the film… the “survivor” story… 
> all of a sudden the film itself gets lost as it becomes a vehicle to advance 
> the greater cause of sexual equality,which is a good cause… however... as 
> such, the film itself (the one made by the victim or the survivor) risks 
> getting lost or overshadowed in the process of telling the story of the 
> aggression…. and the filmmaker is then reduced to either a victim or a 
> survivor, instead of being treated simply as a filmmaker…  so then there is 
> the dilemma… does a person share the story, for the greater good in order to 
> promote progress and end rape culture, and therefore, in the process of so 
> doing, risk having their artwork hijacked, because opening that narrative 
> essentially gives back power to their aggressors, because the story of the 
> aggression will then quite likely overshadow the film itself?… 
> why do i say the story of the aggression may overshadow the story of the film 
> itself?  precisely because our films are experimental and esoteric in nature… 
> made for a small audience… meanwhile stories of sexual assault are (dare i 
> say it) sexy and scandalous and people love juicy stories and gossip… 
> these stories of assault have wider public appeal than experimental films… 
> and so a filmmaker making small experimental films on the margins… who shares 
> a story about assault that happened while making a film… risks the 
> possibility that the film gains a wider audience… not because of anything 
> inherent in the film itself…. but rather because of the drama of the story… 
> and thus, in a sense, the aggressors take the film from the artist who was 
> assaulted… when they have probably already taken enough from that artist as 
> it is… (when i say the aggressors take the film from the artist… i mean in 
> the sense that the story of the assault, hijacks any critical discussion or 
> interpretation of the film itself, because people focus on the conditions of 
> the making of the film and the assault, instead… essentially, public 
> narrative of the film is hijacked)”…  the aggressors should not be allowed to 
> take the artist’s film from them as well…. they shouldn’t be allowed to have 
> that too.
> so, i’m not sure if all of this is coming across clearly… but i think it is 
> very very important… especially in a milieu where our work is esoteric and 
> our audiences are small… and writing about our work is limited… that we make 
> sure to be careful about who gets to tell their own stories.
> when you out an aggressor… you may also be outing a victim or a survivor who 
> might not want to be outed… because they might prefer that their films and 
> their artwork to stand on its own merit… and not be hijacked by a terrible 
> experience… they might not want to relive something… they might not want 
> those stories showing up in historical texts written about them… they might 
> not want to talk about those stories every time they are interviewed about a 
> certain film or during every Q&A after that film screens… these stories don’t 
> only impact the reading the work of the aggressors… they also impact the 
> reading of the films made by the victims and survivors… 
> so yeah… i think it is very important to be careful when naming names… to 
> look at the bigger picture… not just the picture of the greater good and 
> progress and moving forward and ending rape culture…  because ending rape 
> culture also includes consideration for the individuals that were actually 
> hurt by the aggressors… their personal mental and psychological states… and 
> the impact that these stories might have on the public reception of their 
> works and potential future writing about their work.
> it’s important to think of the impact it will have on the individuals who 
> were hurt… and to think about who has the right to tell whose story.
> my two cents.
> adc
>> On Nov 25, 2017, at 8:23 PM, Evan Greene <> 
>> wrote:
>> Fred,
>> While I agree is a lot more complicated of a situation. I was writing out a 
>> whole long response talking about Gauguin, Picasso, and other toxic male 
>> artists among other things when I decided to revisit your website and 
>> noticed a few things:
>> 1) your list of what you consider the greatest films of all time include no 
>> female filmmakers. 
>> 2) your list of what you consider the greatest filmmakers of all time is 
>> almost entirely male. 
>> 3) almost all of your writing on film you have linked on your site is about 
>> male filmmakers. 
>> Honestly I find this kind of weird too considering you’ve written so much on 
>> Brakhage and three of the most influential filmmakers on him we’re all 
>> women. Deren, Menken, Schneemann. All of whom are notably absent from your 
>> lists. 
>> While I somewhat understand your reasoning not to name names it seems that 
>> it also could be read that you’re trying to keep your version of cinematic 
>> history untainted. 
>> We live in a different world now. 
>> What was once acceptable and commonplace isn’t anymore. 
>> The voiceless are starting to gain a voice. 
>> 😎
>>> On Nov 25, 2017, at 3:15 PM, Chuck Kleinhans <> 
>>> wrote:
>>> Sum Bodi and Evan Greene, 
>>> In making the initial post on this discussion thread, I was thinking of the 
>>> general topic of sexual harassment, not calling out individual people.  I 
>>> think the discussion has tended to go that way, broadening out at times to 
>>> discuss sexism in general in the experimental art world.
>>> I agree with Fred that it is not appropriate to name names here for several 
>>> reasons: much of the “knowledge” is hearsay, a free for all social media 
>>> listserv is not a forum with any protections for all the parties who might 
>>> be concerned (accuser, accused, bystanders, spouses/partners, children, the 
>>>  framing institutions, etc.), and different people draw “the line” in 
>>> different places for inappropriate behavior. As much as possible, I think 
>>> the goal should be restorative justice.
>>> At least in educational institutions today we have (some) formal Title IX 
>>> policies and procedures in place (as flawed as that system may be, and as 
>>> determined that the Trump administration is to weaken them). For a 
>>> particularly lucid discussion of these controversies I’d recommend 
>>> filmmaker/critic Laura Kipnis’s new book, Unwanted Advances: Sexual 
>>> Paranoia Comes to Campus.
>>> Earlier Pip argued that because so much of experimental filmmaking is done 
>>> in an individual artisan way there aren’t the same workplace hierarchies as 
>>> in the commercial film world.  True, but anytime there are power 
>>> differentials, abuse is possible: that may be in funding, access to 
>>> equipment, necessary services, distribution, exhibition, curating, and even 
>>> archiving and preservation. And criticism and recognition.  Our field, 
>>> after all ranges from the first year student showing a short work at the 
>>> end of the semester class screening to yet another mammoth Mathew Barney 
>>> extravaganza at a major museum.
>>> Chuck Kleinhans
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