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Best known for her daring depictions of lesbian life and sexuality, pioneering experimental filmmaker Barbara Hammer (1939–2019) first came to the Wex as a visiting filmmaker in 1993 to screen Nitrate Kisses (1992). During that visit, she was introduced to the Film/Video Studio and the following year returned for her first residency to complete Out in South Africa (1994), a film about gay and lesbian communities in post-apartheid South Africa. Over the years, Hammer has completed several other projects with support from the Wexner Center, including The Female Closet (1998), Devotion (2000), and Lover Other (2006).
In 2017, Hammer was the recipient of a multiyear Artist Residency Award in Film/Video to support two distinct projects. During the first year, she finished Evidentiary Bodies (2018), a three-channel video that draws on imagery from previous works to poignantly synthesize her life in film and her life with cancer. Hammer was unable to travel to the Film/Video Studio for the residency, so longtime Film/Video Studio editor Paul Hill went to her New York studio to help complete the work alongside her. Evidentiary Bodies had its theatrical world premiere at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival and was shown as an immersive, multichannel installation—as Hammer intended—in the exhibition Barbara Hammer: In This Body, June 1–August 18, 2019, at the Wexner Center.
For her second project, Hammer proposed revisiting footage from her archives that for financial reasons or other circumstances never resulted in a finished film. Unable to work on the films herself due to declining health, she invited four filmmakers—Lynne Sachs, Deborah Stratman, Mark Street, and Dan Veltri—to work with her footage and, with the support of the Film/Video Studio, create new films. A Picture Lock program on November 4, 2019, centered around the making of these films.
*supported by a Wexner Center Artist Residency Award
Image: Barbara Hammer, photo: Susan Wides