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Retrospective Short Films

Barbara Hammer 1: The Politics of Abstraction

The title of this program “The Politics of Abstraction”, is borrowed from Barbara Hammer’s biography “HAMMER! Making Movies out of sex and life”, and gives us excess to Hammer’s experimental lesbian film world.

I Was/I Am (USA, 1973, 6 min)
One of the first 3 16 mm films made by Barbara Hammer. The filmmaker changes from a damsel in gown and crown to a leather jacket motorcycle dyke. Symbolic references to Maya Deren underscore her inspiration for Hammer.

Sync Touch (USA, 1981, 10 min)
A lesbian/feminist aesthetic proposing the connection between touch and sight to be the basis for a new cinema. The film explores the tactile child nature within the adult woman filmmaker, the connection between sexuality and filmmaking, and the scientific analysis of the sense of touch.

Optic Nerve (USA, 1985, 17 min)
Optic Nerve is a powerful personal reflection on family and aging. Hammer employs filmed footage which, through optical printing and editing, is layered and manipulated to create a compelling meditation on her visit to her grandmother in a nursing home. The sense of sight becomes a constantly evolving process of reseeing images retrieved from the past and fused into the eternal present of the projected image. Hammer has lent a new voice to the long tradition of personal meditation in the avant-garde of the American independent cinema.

No No Nooky T.V. (USA, 1987, 12 min)
Using a 16mm Bolex and Amiga computer, Hammer creates a witty and stunning film about how women view their sexuality versus the way male images of women and sex are perceived. The impact of technology on sexuality and emotion and the sensual self is explored through computer language juxtaposed with everyday colloquial language of sex. No No Nooky T.V. confronts the feminist controversy around sexuality with electronic language, pixels and interface. Even the monitor is eroticized in this film/video hybrid that pokes fun at romance, sexuality, and love in our post-industrial age.

Dyketactics (USA, 1974, 4 min)
A popular lesbian commercial: 110 images of sensual touching.

Pond and Waterfall (USA, 1982, 15 min)
Hiking in Point Reyes National Seashore I came upon a vernal pool with an intriguing and mysterious underwater world. I optically printed swimming underwater to slow the movement to a meditative rhythm. I hoped that the appreciation of the clarity and beauty of water would lead us to better protect it.

Screening: 18:00, 27 september.


  • Director:

    Barbara Hammer

  • Length:

    65 min

  • Country:


  • Production Year:

    Several, see above

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