Event Title

Making the Invisible Visible: Handcrafting in Experimental Cinema

Mentor 1

Tami Williams

Location

Union 260

Start Date

5-4-2019 12:40 PM

Description

As Joshua Yumibe (2012) and others have shown, the work of coloring films in early cinema was performed by an almost entirely female labor force--women who painted each frame and every release print by hand. Elizabeth Bell (1995) has further illustrated that these gendered labor practices were similarly enacted and reinforced in the emerging animation studios, as women were relegated to coloring the cels in the Painting and Inking Departments at Disney, and later at Hanna-Barbera. This paper considers this labor as a form of handcrafting and puts it in a dialectic with the work of Nazl? Dinçel, Carolee Schneemann, Sabrina Gschwandtner, and other women filmmakers of the avant-garde, who have not only painted, but sown, scratched, woven, and baked the celluloid strip in the making of their films and expanded cinema pieces. Through the specific processes of handcrafting, traditionally domestic or “women’s” labor is made visible and deployed to stake a claim for women as cultural producers beyond the home. Dinçel has likened her own practice to the daily rug making work of women in the Turkish countryside, stating that people “process trauma while working frame-by-frame or knot-by-knot.” I argue that the gestures of these artists’ handcrafting practices critique the unrecognized and immaterial labor women perform in film and beyond. I hope to show that their scratching, hammering, and sewing techniques aim to foreground their tactile, intensive, and time-consuming labor as visual spectacle.

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Apr 5th, 12:40 PM

Making the Invisible Visible: Handcrafting in Experimental Cinema

Union 260

As Joshua Yumibe (2012) and others have shown, the work of coloring films in early cinema was performed by an almost entirely female labor force--women who painted each frame and every release print by hand. Elizabeth Bell (1995) has further illustrated that these gendered labor practices were similarly enacted and reinforced in the emerging animation studios, as women were relegated to coloring the cels in the Painting and Inking Departments at Disney, and later at Hanna-Barbera. This paper considers this labor as a form of handcrafting and puts it in a dialectic with the work of Nazl? Dinçel, Carolee Schneemann, Sabrina Gschwandtner, and other women filmmakers of the avant-garde, who have not only painted, but sown, scratched, woven, and baked the celluloid strip in the making of their films and expanded cinema pieces. Through the specific processes of handcrafting, traditionally domestic or “women’s” labor is made visible and deployed to stake a claim for women as cultural producers beyond the home. Dinçel has likened her own practice to the daily rug making work of women in the Turkish countryside, stating that people “process trauma while working frame-by-frame or knot-by-knot.” I argue that the gestures of these artists’ handcrafting practices critique the unrecognized and immaterial labor women perform in film and beyond. I hope to show that their scratching, hammering, and sewing techniques aim to foreground their tactile, intensive, and time-consuming labor as visual spectacle.