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zz2Film/Video

Ghost Dance

1980  |  film  |  color  |  silent, 18 fps  |  30 min
Holly Fisher

…hypnotizing and did such curious things in the correspondence between top and bottom and center black bar with attached fauna…   de Chelly is a good place – lots of knowledge there… 

– Pat O’Neil (letter to hf)

awards/events
• Cineprobe, Museum of Modern Art• Dual projection, The Donnell Film Library & Millenium Film Workshop

synopsis
Ghost Dance (1980) takes the viewer on a spiraling descent into Arizona’s Canyon de Chelly, from the rim at the top to the Navajo ruins on the mud-caked canyon floor. A systemic looping technique via JK Optical Printer creates images that are stretched, recycled, and interwoven, altering one’s perceptions of time and space in relation to the immediate “present.” 

The film is made from a single roll of regular 8mm film, filmed with a camera found in the back seat of a taxi. After initial exposure (shot in single and “spurt frame” clusters while descending the canyon) the film was accidentally “cooked” in the glove box of the car, giving it a deep reddish tone not unlike the Canyon de Chelly at twilight. I instructed the lab not to slit the film (as was the norm with 8mm) in order to gain access to multiple frames within the 16mm gate of my JK Optical Printer for re-filming.

Ghost Dance can be projected as a single-strand film but is intended to be screened on multiple projectors as filmmaker performance, at silent speed on dual projectors set side by side, running slightly out-of-phase.

notes  
My original shoot was done with an 8mm consumer camera that was given to me by a friend who had found it in the back of a taxi. After initial exposure, filmed in single frames or frame clusters while hiking down Canyon de Chelly, Four Corners, Arizona, the film was accidentally “cooked” in the glove box of the car. About two years later I refilmed the entire 3 minute strand – unslit, using a 16mm gate in my JK printer, and keeping a pretty strict pattern of looped and repetitive sequencing.

ghostdance for a new century is a digital re-working of this film, which I recycled here as a template – by adding multiple video layers plus other alterations made possible with with the advent of video editing.

screenings
Millennium Film Workshop, Brooklyn, NY (1982)
Donnell Library Center, New York, NY (1982)
Arsenal, Berlin, Germany (12-stop film tour throughout Germany including Arsenal, 1982)
Collective for Living Cinema, New York, NY (1982)
“The Color of Ritual, the Color of Thought: Women Avant-Garde Filmmakers in America, 1930-2000,” traveling film series of the Whitney Museum of American Art (2000)
Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2000)
“The Films of Holly Fisher,” Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (1995)