Abigail Child's Artist VITA
Abigail Child has been at the forefront of experimental writing and media since the 1980s, having completed more than thirty film/video works & installations, and written 6 books. An acknowledged pioneer in montage, Child addresses the interplay between sound and image, to make, in the words of LA Weekly: “brilliant exciting work…a vibrant political filmmaking that’s attentive to form.”
Her films rewrite narrative, creating the cult classics PERILS, MAYHEM and COVERT ACTION (1984-87). Other productions borrow documentary to poetically envision public space including B/Side (1996) and SURF AND TURF (2011). Child’s re-constructed home movie THE FUTURE IS BEHIND YOU (2004) served as inspiration for UNBOUND: Scenes from the life of Mary Shelley shot as imaginary home movies. In recent years, Child has expanded her vertical montage to multiple-screen installation with MIRRORWORLDS and THE MILKY WAY. Recently completed ACTS AND INTERMISSIONS, the second in her trilogy on Women and Ideology, circling around the life of Emma Goldman and a history of protests, just premiered at The Museum of Modern Art’s Doc Fortnight.
Child is the principal director, cinematographer and editor on her films. Cultural displacements, mostly urban ones, have been at the heart of her concerns. Her work involves intimate collaborations, with poets: Monica de la Torre (To and No Fro), Gary Sullivan (Mirror World), Nada Gordon (Ligatures) and Adeena Karasick (Salomé) as well as with notable downtown composers including John Zorn (The Future Is Behind You), Ikue Mori (B/side, 8 Million), Zeena Parkins (Unbound, Mayhem), Christian Marclay (Mayhem, Surface Noise) and Andrea Parkins (Vis A Vis and Acts and Intermissions) .
Her films, compulsive visual and aural legerdemain, have been widely awarded and shown internationally. Child has been honored with a Rome Prize Fellowship (09-10), as well as a John Simon Guggenheim, Radcliffe Institute and Fulbright Fellowships. She is winner of the Stan Brakhage Award, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Jerome Foundation, LEF Foundation, Mass Arts Council, and Art Matters. Child's film and media works have been exhibited worldwide, in venues including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Biennial Exhibitions (1989+1997); Centre George Pompidou, Paris; Rotterdam International Film Festival; New York Film Festival; CAPC Musée, Bordeaux; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; Pacific Film Archives, Berkeley; and festivals in Oberhausen, Locarno, Berlin, Toronto, Brazil, Mexico City and Seoul, among many others. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art New York and Centre Pompidou among others. Harvard University Cinematheque has created an “Abigail Child Collection” which will preserve and exhibit her films.
Child is also a writer with more that 5 books and numerous chapbooks. Her critical study, THIS IS CALLED MOVING: A Critical Poetics of Film (2005) is the only critical book written by an active American artist/filmmaker in over two decades. Her newest book of poetry MOUTH TO MOUTH came out this spring (2016) courtesy of Eoagh Press and was just honored with a review in the Brooklyn Rail October 2016. Child is Emeritus Professor of Media at Tufts University, the SMFA, and lives and works in New York City.
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