+ otherwise pictures llc


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


Cineprobe, Museum of Modern Art – Dual projection, The Donnell Film Library & Millenium Film Workshop


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. Roughly two years later, I re-filmed 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.

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.


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)

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