Mary (Addison) Hackett,
My Mother’s Pants
January 24, 2017
How did you find out about Joanie 4 Jackie and how old were you at the time?
My first day job after grad school was working 2nd shift as a tape operator at a duplication and conversion facility in Chicago. I was one of three women working in the tape room and when we weren’t working, we were either making videos or music or both. One of my co-workers told me about Miranda July and the Big Miss Moviola chainletter tapes. It was sometime between 1995 and 1997 and I was in my mid 30s.
What interested you about the project?
I was already into DIY culture and micro-cinema, and in addition to making low-budget videos, I published a zine called “Plastic Ass.” I was using dial-up to access alt.zines usenet groups on the Internet, looking through Factsheet Five and collecting Riot Grrrl zines. Miranda’s project was part of this culture for me. The call for films was inclusive and felt important in the spirit of the 90s feminism.
At the time you participated in Joanie 4 Jackie did you consider yourself a filmmaker? What was your relationship to making movies?
I had a studio arts background and considered myself more of an artist making videos than a filmmaker, but I was becoming more involved with documentary filmmaking and loved the editing process as well. I was also writing and distributing videos through my zine. I had been making work on my own between undergrad and grad school, so I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to identifying as a filmmaker. Overall I was interested in making short films as both an autobiographical practice and one of investigation.
Do you have any specific anecdotes or memories associated with your movie?
Spoiler alert: It’s a short video about being a little too pudgy to fit into a pair of pants my mother had worn when she was in her 40s. For several years, in real life and in video persona life, I used those pants as an unrealistic measuring tool for what my ideal waist measurement should be. I finally ditched the pants. Vintage wool Pendletons. No give in the waist or the lining.
What did you think/feel about the Joanie 4 Jackie at the time? And now, in retrospect?
At the time, I thought it was fun thing to participate in and I liked being part of a video chainletter with women from all over the country. This was near the beginning of the project and before the archive so there was no way to know how expansive the project would become. Now, I think it’s a vital piece of feminist film and video history, and an amazing resource for researchers, filmmakers and curators. I haven’t had a chance to look through the entire archive, but it’s been exciting to recognize some names from then and now and be introduced to new ones.
If you attended a screening, can you tell us where and when it was and anything else you remember about it?
The MIA Chainletter screened a few years later at the 2005 New York Underground Film Festival. I was hard to track down for a couple of years and didn’t know until after the fact.
What institutions, groups, people, publications and movements were inspiring you at the time of your participation in J4J?
I was involved in DIY culture, Public-access TV (CAN TV), Women’s Action Coalition (WAC), and working intermittently as an artist-in-resident teaching media production. 90s feminism, POV television, Re/Search, Riot Grrrls, the underground films of George Kuchar, Factsheet Five, Adbusters, and NUMEROUS independent women filmmakers and video artists from that era were influential to me. At the time I was making videos about mother-daughter relationships and watched just about every video at the Video Data Bank dealing with similar issues.
What do you do now – professionally and otherwise? Are you still involved in filmmaking?
I’m still an artist. In the last 20 years, I’ve also worked professionally as a commercial film editor and arts educator in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Nashville. I finished a documentary about country music fans that was shelved due to music rights issues, and when the editorial house I worked for downsized, I went back to painting for several years and have been exhibiting consistently in galleries ever since. Two years ago, I picked up a camera again and started shooting an ongoing series of micro-documentaries about women artists called the Studio Visit Short Films. I still make experimental films and performative video art pieces with a feminist slant, and I recently founded a small production and editorial company aimed at working with other artists, socially-conscious businesses, and individuals wanting to share their stories.
Anything you would like to see on the J4J site?
It’s a fantastic site. Congrats to all.