January 24, 2017
How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
Rita brought Miranda to UC, San Diego, when I was a grad student there (mid-90s / I was in my 20s) and she presented a Big Miss Moviola program.
What interested you about the project?
Rita invited me to submit my video Self-Dial. I believe it was when she was fairly deep in her curatorial process (and if I remember correctly it was Kate Haug, also part of I Saw Bones, who originally recommended my work). I thought I Saw Bones would be an exciting venue for my work!
Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
Self-Dial considers emerging reproductive technologies through science fictional and mythological means, combining Super8, 16mm reversal and negative, and Hi8 video in a work whose ultimate form is video.
I completed Self-Dial in 1993, so that means I was in my mid-20s and living in NYC. I remember how in the early 90s questions of sexuality and identity were a catalyst for all sorts of cultural phenomena. At this time also reproductive technologies were finding a more central place in the social sphere, and there was an ensuing heated debate about how this medical science was being applied to real subjects at that moment as well as projections for the future. PAing on a production by Kathy High called Underexposed: Temple of the Fetus, in tandem with the general atmosphere, inspired me to craft my own framework to investigate questions of the body and the multiplication of self.
From there it was a total adventure. I’d take the Peter Pan out from Port Authority to western Massachusetts and Jenifer Maslow and I would concoct all sorts of scenarios to film. Often scenes would present themselves. The place, land, animals, and people were all so full of life. At that time Jenifer was living and working on the small farm of Portia Weiskel. I had been introduced recently to the 1979 science fiction film by Andrei Tarkovsky, Stalker, which filled my head with images too irresistible to leave behind and so especially in the subject and boat moving on water shots I tried to entertain Stalker zeitgeist. Later my challenge would be to structure the footage that I had shot in both Super 8 and 16mm black-and-white film.
In 1991 I received an Artist’s Residency at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester to work on my 16mm film Knucklebones: Self-Sustaining Members of the Human Species, but when I got there the flatbed editing machine was out for repair. This loss became a gain in that I worked instead on Self-Dial at VSW’s postproduction facility. I had brought the Super 8 and 16mm footage with me and was able to transfer it to video and begin editing. Then in 1992 I received Experimental Television Center’s Finishing Funds for completion of Self-Dial, which helped a lot in paying for equipment rental to finish the editing back in NYC (this was before nonlinear digital editing on one’s own laptop!).
What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
As a maker of short films and videos, it’s always exciting to see how a curator will contextualize my work. The framework of I Saw Bones gives my title Self-Dial meaning different from what it would have elsewhere. Every single movie on this compilation is captivating. The dynamic between the various titles transforms each of the works; they signify in relation to one another. At the same time, their combination embraces the differences between them. I love it! Hold over that the umbrella of Big Miss Moviola (now Joanie 4 Jackie) and everybody’s singing in the rain!