Kelly Sears is one of my favorite filmmakers. Using animation as her primary medium, Sears animates cut up and collage appropriated imagery focused on American politics and culture to create interventions of the history found within each frame. In New York City this week, where Sears was in town to screen a body of her work at Anthology Film Archives, I had a chance to ask her a few questions.
Cathy de la Cruz: How long would you say you’ve been operating at the vanguard of non-commercial cinema? What lead you to begin making experimental moving image work?
Kelly Sears: I saw my first hand cranked 16mm camera at Hampshire College and just thought this little apparatus could do so much, all powered by me cranking it! Movies can be made by large teams – or movies could be made by one person experimenting and asking a lot of questions. It was the first time that making films seemed like something I could do as an individual. This was at the time where digital video was taking hold and it was all about progress and technology. I was really captured by smaller, individual experimental films I was seeing in my classes. I’d loved the abstract films, animations, essayistic work and strange narratives that were screened and I wanted to make all of the above. I also took a video class as Smith College and got my first introduction to feminist moving image communities.
Editors’ Note: During the second presidential debate, some commenters noted that Melania Trump’s shocking pink, high-necked blouse was a style well known to fashion historians as the “pussy bow.” In fact, as Jezebel pointed out, the $1,100 Gucci top Melania wore was “literally marketed” as a pussy bow shirt. The Internet was abuzz: what could it mean? Was it, as feminist artist and pussy-bow entrepreneur Christen Clifford—whose own PussyBow scarves are printed with an image taken from inside her own vagina—tweeted, a sign that Melania is a feminist “double agent” planning to vote for Hillary? New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd entertained the possibility in yesterday’s column, but ultimately appeared to dismiss it. The Internet relaxed.
This morning, however, everything changed. The WEIRD SISTER editors were awakened from our innocent slumber by aggressive knocking on our clubhouse door. By the time we had crawled out of our sleeping bags, peeled off the cucumber face masks and slices of cold pizza that get stuck to us at the end of every sleepover party, emptied our matching menstrual cups into the toilet, and staggered to the door, there was no one there. Under our doormat, we discovered a flash drive containing incontrovertible evidence of the very Vast Feminist Conspiracy that Clifford had described—and Clifford herself was part of it! Our journalistic integrity prevents us from revealing our sources, so the world may never know if the documents excerpted below are State Department emails liberated by Slovenian hackers or some steamy slash fiction dreamed up by a genius high-school junior during civics class. But now that we have this information, how can we possibly keep it from our readers? Feast your eyes, then, on the most shocking (pink) October surprise of all:
50 SHADES OF PUSSYBOW: EXCERPTS FROM THE SECRET ARCHIVES OF A VAST FEMINIST CONSPIRACY
Summary: People are eating Cheetos and drinking Sauvignon blanc.
Y’all, I can’t tell you if there’s been a day that didn’t include some kind of personal freak out around the US Presidential campaign. It seems everyone is in some way.
About 1,970,000 posts about freaking out.
But as writers, we have a latent talent. And no, it isn’t offering clear but tender insights written on the soft belly fur of us humans. It’s our full-force but still narrative-driven capacity to self-medicate (I see you, poets). Note: I don’t necessarily see self-medicating as inherently wrong. Some of us (I see you, poets, who eat clean/yoga/notliveinNewYorkCity) successfully live lives that counter our demons in healthy ways (ping me?).
I reached out to literary friends and acquaintances near and very, very far (thank you, Facebook!), and asked what they’ll be, and have been, consuming as they watch the emotional circus of our present political state. Continue reading