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Cecilia Dougherty

By | Blog, Lo-Tech

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Cecilia Dougherty is a video artist, photographer, and writer. She has screened and exhibited her work in numerous film festivals, galleries and museums internationally for over twenty-five years. Her videos are included in many university film collections and are archived at the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. In addition to explorations in electronic media itself, her themes range from lesbian and female sexual identity to family psychologies and the outsider experience of popular culture.

She has written stories and book chapters for a range of publications including: “Writers Who Love to Much: New Narrative: 1977-1997” (2017); “From Site to Vision: The Woman’s Building in Contemporary Culture (2011); and “Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945-2000” (2010). She has contributed articles, interviews, and other writing to a wide range of publications from chapbooks to contemporary art periodicals. Much of her writing is about film, video and the contemporary cultural moment. She has published poetry and short stories as well.

In 2013, Dougherty published her first book entitled “The Irreducible I: Space, Place, Authenticity, and Change,” which examines subjectivity using a mix of disciplines from film and art to architecture and social sciences in order to create a map of individual space within continually changing social spaces. “The Irreducible I” is based on her PhD dissertation.

Her current work includes a collaboration with artist David Dasharath Kalal in the creation of an online artspace called In-Between Theories (2017, ongoing), the theme of which is the investigation of the familiar territory of the everyday. In-Between Theories is a consideration of a space/time of poetic alliances, networked histories, and connections that exist within the interstitial spaces of allied creative activity. The collaborative effort has resulted in the curation of a film festival program and live performance, with panel discussion, for the New York MIX Festival (2017), and the commission of a browser-based art piece by Ukrainian artist Luba Drozd. Dougherty and Kalal have also set up a podcast, called In-Between Theories, in which they are interviewing artists in relation to the theme of interstitial spaces in film and electronic media.

She is currently writing a feature film script based on the award-winning novel “Zipper Mouth” by Laurie Weeks.

Dougherty teaches film/video production and editing in the Media Culture Department at the College of Staten Island, CUNY and screenwriting and narrative development at The Pratt Institute. She has a PhD in Media Philosophy.

Sadie Benning

By | Blog, Lo-Tech
Sadie Benning’s career began at 15, when they received a Fisher-Price PXL 2000 toy video camera from their father for Christmas. Benning remembers, “I thought, ‘This is a piece of shit. It’s black-and-white. It’s for kids.’ He’d told me I was getting this surprise. I was expecting a camcorder.”

Reminiscent of journal entries and filmed mostly in their bedroom, the videos Benning created with the PXL 2000 are a window into their teenage world in Milwaukee. The artist acknowledges, “I got started partly because I needed different images and I never wanted to wait for someone to do them for me.” Suddenly, Benning became a pioneer of a new and rapidly popularizing genre of film: Pixelvision, as the videos were coined for their flat, pixilated quality. In Jollies (1990), by describing past sexual and romantic experiences, Benning recounts the path that lead them to realize, “I was as queer as can be.” Despite the attention that these movies received, the works were developed at a time, as Benning now reflects, before they fully understood their transgender, nonbinary identity.

Benning eventually began to work in other mediums, embracing the immediacy of tactile materials as an alternative to the long process of filming and editing video. Benning explains that a “painting might not literally have the ability to talk like a film…yet it still has something to say.” They incorporate sculptural elements into their paintings; often, wood is cut into pieces, coated with colored resin, sanded, then fit back together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Benning attributes this experimental process to a lack of formal training as a painter, explaining, “The history of painting is heavy with arguments, and as much as I am interested in knowing about them conceptually, I don’t want to feel oppressed in the studio. I want to be free to try things that don’t make sense yet. I put materials together that maybe shouldn’t be and don’t follow hierarchies.”

Benning takes this same approach to Shared Eye (2016); with the addition of found photographs, toys, and shelves, the work has moved even further from traditional painting. Though the work is inspired by things that bother the artist—like the current political climate and how rampant sexism, racism, xenophobia, white supremacy, and capitalism affect the unconscious—Benning also wants audiences to bring their own interpretation to it, noting that there are “infinite ways of looking at the piece.”

By Hannah Traore, Twelve-Month Intern, Department of Painting and Sculpture, 2019

Destiny Deacon

By | Blog, Lo-Tech

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Born 1957, Maryborough, Queensland. Lives and works Melbourne, Victoria. KuKu (Cape York) and Erub/Mer (Torres Strait) people.

Destiny Deacon is a descendant of the KuKu (Far North Queensland) and Erub/Mer (Torres Strait) people. An artist, broadcaster and political activist, her performative photographs, videos and installations feature members of her family and friends as well as items from her collection of ‘Aboriginalia’ – assorted black dolls and kitsch. Partly autobiographical and partly fictitious, her acerbic and melancholic work deals with both historical issues and contemporary Aboriginal life and is informed by personal experience and the mass media. Deacon’s humorous works examine the wide discrepancies between representations of Aboriginal people by the white Australian population and the reality of Aboriginal life. In her ‘lo-tech’ productions, Deacon creates an insightful comedy that is effective in establishing a discourse about political, Indigenous and feminist concerns.

Deacon has been exhibiting nationally and internationally since the early 1990s in solo and group shows. Her major survey exhibition Destiny Deacon: Walk & don’t look blak, was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney in 2004, and subsequently toured to Wellington City Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand; Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and Cultural Centre Tjibaou, Noumea, New Caledonia in 2005, and the Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo in 2006. Selected group exhibitions include Who’s Afraid of Colour?, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2016); 13th DongGang International Photo Festival, DongGang Museum of Photography, South Korea (2014); Whisper in my Mask, TarraWarra Biennial 2014, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria (2014); Land, Sea and Sky: Contemporary Art of the Torres Strait Islands, Queensland Art Gallery|Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2011); Integracion Y Resistencia En La Era Global, 10th Havana Biennale, Havana, Cuba (2009); Revolutions – Forms that Turn, 16th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney (2008); and Culture Warriors: The National Indigenous Art Triennial, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (2007).

Deacon’s work is held in the major state galleries of Australia, and in many regional, corporate and university collections.

MQFF Sidebar

By | Uncategorized

I am currently curating a sidebar of innovative moving image work about sex and gender for the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, with support from the VCA and the University of Melbourne.


I’m looking for short work that responds to Jack/Judith Halberstam’s treatise on queer challenges to the status quo in The Queer Art of Failure. If you have any material, please get in touch!

The sidebar will include a skillshare in cutting edge and experimental film and video techniques, video installation work and an academic panel responding to issues about moving image culture raised in the program.


Film Fatales Cinematography Workshop

By | Social Change Media, Uncategorized | No Comments

I helped Amy Browne and Film Fatales Melbourne put on a Cinematography workshop last night, led by Sky Davies.

The workshop was designed to demystify both the technical side of cinematography and its creative implications, pitched at directors and other film creatives. This is a primary vector for discrimination against women in the film and television industry – the presumption that women aren’t comfortable with technology. The onus therefore ends up being on women to ensure that this is not the case, as we are generally expected to prove we are more knowledgeable than our male counter-parts in order to be taken seriously.

It was a hit, the audience fully engrossed in deep technical details of camera technology for 2+ hours, revealing the appetite and need women filmmakers have for technical knowledge.

ACMIX Film Fatales Cinematography Workshop

My new short film MyMy was just awarded the Renegade Films “Most Daring and Innovative Film” Award at the VCA Graduate Film Awards at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.

Thanks to Renegade, VCA, and our cast and crew!

By | Current Projects, Film Projects | No Comments

MyMy (14mins, 2014) completed

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My most recent short film MyMy is now complete!

In a mythic parallel reality, a lonely young man yearns for affinity and connection. In this age of digital avatars, he crafts a version of himself that is far more corporeal – by stitching together parts of himself to become his own cyborg twin. He calls this miraculous being into existence with a techno-magick concoction of symbology and code, and for a while they enjoy a strange and touching get-to-know-you-better of the self. But the cyborg twin has been corrupted by a cyberfeminist virus. This Other self embodies a dangerous idea: that there are parts of ourselves beyond our control.

This lo-fi sci-fi short film is an experimental hybrid of documentary, fiction and performance art. The story plays out in an affective cinematic mode, largely based on a lexicon of imagery and gesture. It features two transgender men, playing a very queer version of their own characters as they perform aspects of themselves onscreen. Throughout the film they are haunted by a chimera, a post-human personification of the desires, fears and possibilities that form who we might be in the future.

The film takes us back to a cyberfeminist future, looking into the black mirror of a possibility beyond identity, where 1990s visions of our cyborg destinies echo like ripples in a pool. Gentle and provocative, the film explores the radical potential to create the self.

Stay tuned for trailer, website and full credits.

Emerging Filmmaker Award at My Queer Career – Mardi Gras Film Festival

By | Festivals, Film Projects, Short Film | No Comments


This week we had the honour of being awarded the Emerging Filmmaker prize at Mardi Gras Film Festival’s My Queer Career competition, for our short film “Continental Drift”. Thank you Queer Screen, and as always my Producer, Ruth Morris, and all our cast and crew!

I’m looking forward to engaging in a mentorship which was the prize we were awarded.