Thirteen artists came together through a program at UnionDocs, with generous leadership from collaborative artists Dani and Sheilah ReStack, from all over the world. While sheltering at home we use a forced reduction of our world, as a space in which to imagine new realities.

We gathered together four times a week with guest artists, writers, and makers to look for new ways to be present in this moment, to learn from the suffering and instability brought on by the pandemic, to transform the possibilities of the limited space we occupy and reimagine our own boundaries and futures in the process.

With an impulse towards eschewing perfection and making freely, a body of work from the group emerged. This will be the first time we are sharing this collection of work inspired by the lab from the artist participants.

Artist leads, Dani and Sheilah ReStack, have embarked on an artistic relationship that is formally and emotionally adjacent to their domestic lives, a quotidian zone they share with their young daughter Rose. Both artists have established careers on their own. Neither Dani’ video work or Sheilah’s multimedia performance and installation work could exactly prepare us for the force of the women’s collaborative efforts. – Michael Sicinski, Cinema Scope, 2017. ReStack collaborations have shown at the 2017 Whitney Biennial, Iceberg Projects Chicago, Toronto International Film Festival, Images Film Festival, Toronto, Lyric Theater, Carrizozo, NM, Leslie Lohman Project Space, Gaa Wellfleet, New York Film Festival and The Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio. They have received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, Ohio Arts Council and Visual Studies Workshop, NY. They have been residents at The Headlands in Marin County and their newest video Ohio, premiered as part of Wexner Center’s Cinetracts series fall 2020.


We aspire to Feral Domesticity

USA • 2022

Meet the artists and filmmakers in the Feral Domesticity Collaborative


Daphne Xu is a Chinese Canadian artist and filmmaker exploring the politics and poetics of place. Her creative practice engages observations of the everyday and of contested landscapes.


Emily Drury is an artist, gardener and landscape designer based in rural New Hampshire. Her work engages plant and human intimacies and mutualities, hybridizing the close observational, descriptive and embodied practices of gardening, film and poetry.


Emma Reasoner is an interdisciplinary artist currently based in Columbus, Ohio, and raised transnationally. They received their BA in Political Science from Denison University in 2015.


Emma Reasoner is an interdisciplinary artist currently based in Columbus, Ohio, and raised transnationally. They received their BA in Political Science from Denison University in 2015.


Justine Yan is a poet, reporter and audio producer from northern California and southern China. She completed her MFA in poetry at the University of California, Irvine, where she served as visual art and poetry editor for Faultline Journal of Arts & Letters. She is currently reporting and producing stories for Rough Translation, an international podcast by NPR. She has received grants and fellowships to live and write in China, and is currently working on a manuscript titled “Ways of Counting.”


Julie Le Hegarat is a scholar, practitioner, and educator working at the intersection of film, media, and literature. She’s interested in experimental documentaries, especially essayist and first-person based. Her current project is a cross-cultural analysis of cannibal women in texts by women, which foregrounds the imbrication of cannibalism in colonial intimacies and compulsive heterosexuality.


Lauren Flinner is a poet filmmaker and collagist, experimenting in translation between forms, sometimes called TVs (the variable space). Flinner’s practice has something to do with paradox. TVs’ philosophy is that of animation: the movement between (images, identities, truths). Their short films have screened internationally. Flinner’s CalArts MFA thesis animation Saw/Ate Sad Bird, a glimpse into the shallow, fast breathing of a woman afraid to leave the house, showed at Slamdance. She has worked as a youth educator in various contexts.


I'm an interdisciplinary writer, artist, and videomaker living with my husband and young daughter in Portland, Oregon. I’ve shown interdisciplinary work widely over the past twenty-five years, most recently in solo and group exhibitions at Grapefruits and Carnation Contemporary in Portland. I’m an MFA Candidate in Creative Writing, an interdisciplinary program at Pacific Northwest College of Art, and my poems and text-art have appeared in the literary journals Houseguest, Tuesday: An Art Project, and Mother, Mother. I've completed residencies at Takt Kunstprojektraum, Berlin, and ArtFarm, Nebraska, and I was recently a Co-Director at Ortega y Gasset Projects in Brooklyn.


Kym McDaniel (she/her) is an experimental filmmaker and choreographer. She began working in video after a traumatic head injury asked her to radicalize her practice. Her personal work uses image collages, text, gesture, and the body to explore chronic illness, queerness/disability, and structural dissociation. She is an AmSAT Alexander Technique teacher and has an MFA in Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


Lesley Steele is a writer, director + editor of short & long-form video & documentary film. Originally a New York City native, she was chosen to participate in Sundance's Art of Editing Fellowship in 2020, and selected to appear in DOC NYC's “40 under 40” filmmakers in 2020. Steele’s spark in experimental 16mm cinematography & analog editing is a driving force in her work, both non-fiction & fiction.
Steele’s latest doc — By Way of Canarsie, was produced in 2019 at the CoLAB with UnionDocs, and is currently on the festival circuit. The film premiered at BlackStar Film Festival, Better Cities, DOC NYC’s 2020 Virtual Film Festival and invited to screen in BAM’s 2020 Fall Virtual Series “Programmers Notebook: New York Lives.” Lesley is currently producing her first investigative feature doc about the state of mental health and its intersection with race and the carceral system in the United States. Her previous clients include MTV, Nickelodeon, Spotify, TED, Buzzfeed, HBO, SnapChat, NowThis and others.


Laura Conway is a human woman based out of Denver, CO who makes movies, music, and dances. Employing whimsy to confront power structures Laura’s films navigate a terrain between the grotesque and the sensual, the sonic and the visual, and the cliched and the still-possible. Her films have played at Ann Arbor Film Festival, Austin Music Video Festival, and The Museum of Human Achievement among others.


Gabrielle Garcia Steib works in archives and moving image. Born in New Orleans and frequenting Nicaragua, and Mexico, her work explores narratives through outdated processes that connect Latin America with the Deep South. She is interested in ways in which collective memory and images are used to communicate in political landscapes. Her work has been exhibited at the CAC and NOMA in New Orleans, and Museo de la Ciudad and Los 14 in Mexico City. Gabrielle received a B.A. in English and Digital Media at Loyola University of New Orleans. She has participated in residencies at Antenna, Salzburg Global, and Joan Mitchell Center. Her short films "The Past is a Foreign Country" and "Landscape Fever" were official selections of the 2020 New Orleans Film Festival.


Valerie Salez / As a multi-disciplinary artist Valerie Salez swings between a solo practice and a social art practice. Her solo works dive into the unconscious realms of dreams, myths and rituals. Valerie's socially engaged projects involve communities of people all over the world, focusing on the politics of identity, culture, and ecological land and water issues. She grew up and has lived most of her life in Canada's northern territory Yukon, on the traditional lands of various nations which include, Tlingit, Tr’ondek Hwech’in, and Kwanlin Dun. Her works have been included in major galleries across Canada and at significant events such as The Cultural Olympiad of Vancouver 2010 and Northern Scene (Ottawa). Valerie’s work can be found in private and institution collections such as the Canada Council Art Bank and Nova Scotia Art Bank. In 2017, in partnership with Yukon Arts Center, she received a Canada Council for the Arts New Chapter grant and produced and contributed to a Yukon wide First Nations project titled To Talk With Others which is currently on tour.

The 2021 UnionDocs Collaborative Studio is grateful for support from:

Chapter 1 — DESIRE & RITUAL


Miguel Gutierrez is a choreographer, composer, performer, singer, writer, educator, and Feldenkrais Method practitioner based in Lenapehoking aka Brooklyn, NY. He’s been called the “love-child of Chita Rivera and Yvonna Rainer” by David Parker in Dance Magazine. His work has been presented in New York, across the country and internationally in over 60 cities. He is a 2014 Whitney Biennial Artist and a recipient of a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award. Recent projects include This Bridge Called My Ass, a performance that bends tropes of Latinidad to identify new relationships to content and form. Currently he is working on wearing the masc_k, a new album of original music, THE THINGS YOU SHOULD HAVE DONE, an anthology of his writing, and Are You For Sale? a podcast which looks at the ethical entanglements between dance-making and philanthropy.


Michael J. Morris is a witch, astrologer, tarot reader, choreographer and performer, writer, facilitator, and educator. They are currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies at Denison University, where they also teach in the Queer Studies and Environmental Studies Programs. They hold a PhD in Dance Studies from The Ohio State University. Their writing has been published in TDR, Choreographic Practices, Dance Chronicle, The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater, and The European Journal of Ecopsychology. Through their consultation practice Co Witchcraft Offerings, they offer astrology and tarot readings to support people in making meaning of their lives and in moving toward personal and collective healing and liberation. Their current research focuses on astrology and tarot readings as performance art practices of feminized labor and feminist care.


Dane Komljen was born in SFR Yugoslavia, he studied cinema and art in Serbia and France and lives in Berlin. His first feature, All the Cities of the North, premiered in 2016. He recently completed his second feature Afterwater.


Steve Reinke is an artist and writer best known for his monologue-based video essays. He is the author of two books, co-edited four anthologies, and written dozens of essays, mostly on artists' film. He is a professor of Art Theory and Practice at Northwestern. His work is represented by Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin.


Maggie Nelson is the author of nine books of poetry and prose, many of which have become cult classics defying categorization. She first published Bluets with Wave Books in 2009; in 2015, Bookforum named Bluets one of the top 10 best books of the past 20 years. Her other nonfiction titles include the National Book Critics Circle Award winner The Argonauts (2015), The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning (2011; a New York Times Notable Book of the Year), The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial (2007), and Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions (2007). Her poetry titles include Something Bright, Then Holes (2007), and Jane: A Murder (2005). She writes frequently on art, and in 2016 was awarded a MacArthur "genius" Fellowship. She currently lives in Los Angeles.




Moyra Davey was born in Toronto in 1958. She earned a BFA from Concordia University, Montreal, in 1982, and an MFA from the University of California San Diego in 1988. In 1989, she attended the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


Rosine Mbakam is a Cameroonian director based in Belgium. She has directed many short films and full-length feature films, of which the most well-known are documentaries. Les deux visages d'une femme Bamiléké/The Two Faces of a Bamiléké Woman and Chez Jolie Coiffure won a number of international prizes.


Beatriz Santiago Muñoz is an artist based in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She works in moving image with particular attention to social structures and their relationship to aesthetics. Her works arise out of long periods of research, observation and documentation, in which the camera is present as an object with social implications and as an instrument mediating aesthetic thought. Subjects of her recent work have been politically fraught: an artist accused of terrorism, post-military land, mega-factories, the relationship between art work and work, and a concrete poet/union leader. Her film and video work is always in between the performance and its document, and sometimes unfolds into a double existence. Her work has been shown at the Tate Modern, Wattis Institute/CCA, Galería Kurimanzutto and the Guggenheim Museum. She recently completed projects commissioned by Glasgow International and the Bienal do Mercosul in Brazil, presented solo exhibitions in Gasworks and Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros, and held artist residencies at Transmission in Glasgow and IASPIS in Stockholm.



UnionDocs Executive & Co-Artistic Director


UnionDocs Co-Artistic Director


Collaborative Teaching Assistant


UnionDocs Operations Manager


The UnionDocs Collaborative Studio (CoLAB) is a program for a select group of media artists from the US and abroad. Based in one of NYC’s most exciting neighborhoods, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, CoLAB offers a platform for exploring contemporary approaches to the documentary arts and a process for developing an innovative collaborative project. The program consists of weekly production meetings, seminars, screenings and other public programs, along with regular masterclasses and critiques with visiting artists.