New vernaculars and feminine ecriture; twenty-first century avant-garde film
This practice-based research project explores the parameters of – and aims to construct – a new film language for a feminine écriture within a twenty first century avant-garde practice. My two films, Radio and The New World, together with my contextualising thesis, ask how new vernaculars might construct subjectivity in the contemporary moment. Both films draw on classical and independent cinema to revisit the remix in a feminist context. Using appropriated and live-action footage the five short films that comprise Radio are collaged and subjective, representing an imagined world of short, chaptered ‘songs’ inside a radio set. The New World also uses both live-action and found footage to inscribe a feminist transnational world, in which the narrative is continuous and its trajectory bridges, rather than juxtaposes, the stories it tells. Both the films and the contextualising written text flag the possibility of new approaches at the intersections between cinema, poetry, feminism and critical theory. Drawing on the work of a number of filmmakers, feminists, writers and poets - including Abigail Child, Scott MacDonald, Betzy Bromberg, Christopher MacLaine, Chris Kraus, Eileen Myles and others - I describe the possibilities of cross-pollination of media and approaches. Through interrogating the methodologies of feminist, independent, mainstream & experimental films, their use of protagonists, montage, mise en scene and soundtrack, I argue that my two films have developed new vernaculars, which offer the potential to constitute a new feminine écriture through a knowing revival of cinema as a form of exploratory language. In addition to the constituting force of the films themselves, questions of identity and the current and potential future of film are interrogated via the writings of such cultural theorists, philosophers and artists such as Svetlana Boym, Lauren Berlant, and Christian Marclay.