“Like film, humans are a time-based medium.”
Barbara Hammer, accepting the 2008 Leo Dratfield Award.
It’s been about four years since we all sat inside, some on a haphazard collection of couches, benches and cushions, some on the floor. It was January and a blizzard had built snow-walls outside, but a large audience had gathered in Brooklyn to screen Barbara Hammer’s Buy http://dailyteaparty.com/2018/02/01/proscar-cost/ work and talk with the director about the potential conflict between aesthetics and politics. This was the final event of a two-day “post-inaugural assembly” arranged by The Firefly Project, an artistic collective affliated with Amnesty International. In Hammer’s film, “Resisting Paradise” watercolors dripped on celluloid images of Cassis, France, investigating the Mediterranean landscape as painted by Bonnard, Matisse, Seurat and others. With a brutal conflict erupting in Kosovo, however, the burden of her political conscious forced Hammer to expand her idea of the film and consider the question of how art could exist during a time of war. Set against her abstract and beautiful 16mm footage, Hammer uses interviews with two woman who were Resistance fighters during WWII and also tells the story of German refugees in France at the time, including Walter Benjamin’s death. The date of the UnionDocs screening was approaching the two-year mark of the invasion of Iraq and many of us were dealing with the serious loss of motivation and hope that had come with Bush’s re-election. Barbara Hammer’
s energy and enthusiasm was infectious.
A few days ago at the Leo Awards, I was very happy to see she excuded exactly the same qualities, even after a recent battle with cancer. Hammer was given the award, named in honor of Leo Dratfield, a pioneer of non-theatrical film distribution, along with Sue Oscar and Linda Gottesman of Filmakers Library.
Listen to the UnionDocs interview with Barbara Hammer broadcast on WKCR 89.9 FMNY.
[qt:http://uniondocs.org/podcast/commonsradio3.mp3 576 50]