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Abigail Child

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Name  Abigail Child

Role  Filmmaker
Abigail Child wwwabigailchildcomfilesgimgs34childmayhem3jpg
Movies  A Shape of Error, Elsa merdelamerdelamer
Books  This is called moving, Mob, A motive for Mayhem, From Solids, Scatter Matrix
Education  Yale School of Art (1968–1970), Radcliffe College (1964–1968)
Awards  Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada
Similar People  Barbara Hammer, Todd Verow, Sherry Vine, Eileen Ryan Penn

Abigail child

Abigail Child is a filmmaker, poet, and writer who has been active in experimental writing and media since the 1970s. She has completed more than thirty film and video works and installations, and six books. An acknowledged pioneer in montage, Child’s early film work addressed the interplay between sound and image through reshaping narrative tropes, prefiguring many concerns of contemporary film and media.


Abigail Child Abigail Child Photos Photos Tribeca Talks After The Movie Avant

Abigail child at reina sofia part i


Abigail Child Abigail Child Films and a Lecture Harvard Film Archive

In 1968, Abigail Child graduated from Radcliffe College in Harvard University with a degree in history and literature. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Film. She has taught at several universities, including New York University, Massachusetts College of Art, and Hampshire College. She has been the chair of Film and Animation department at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston since 2000 and was appointed to a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. In 2009, she was awarded the Rome Prize.

Career in film, writing, and poetry

Abigail Child httpssofaaromefileswordpresscom201004ac2jpg

Child began making films in the 1970s, producing seven independent documentaries shot on 16mm. From the middle of the 70s she turned to experimental montage and in the 80s her work explores gender and strategies for remaking narrative. Is This What You Were Born For? is a major, seven-part experimental work from this period, completed over nine years, which included the cult classics Mayhem and Covert Action. (see Filmography). In the 90s Child poetically envisioned and interrogated public spaces in such films as B/side(1996), about urban homelessness on the Lower East Side of New York city, and Below the New: A Russian Chronicle (1999), filmed in St. Petersburg.

In the 21st century, Child’s film and video has explored history, memory, and cultural experiences—the politics of place and identity. Digital works like Cake + Steak (2004) and The Future Is Behind You (2005) investigate the awkward drama of the everyday, often utilizing found material to examine the past. Mirror World (2006) is a multi-screen installation that incorporates parts of Child’s “foreign film” series to explore narrative excess. Key works include Surface Noise (2000), Dark Dark (2001), Where The Girls Are (2002), Cake and Steak (2004), The Future Is Behind You (2004), To and No Fro (2005), and Mirror World (2006). Her feature video documentary On The Downlow (2007)), is an exploration of bisexuality and an intimate look at a little-viewed underground scene.

In 2012, Child completed a feature film, Shape of Error, an imaginary “home movie” based on the diaries of Mary Shelley during her marriage with Percy Shelley.

Child is also the author of five books of poetry (published between 1983 and 2012) and a book of critical writings: This Is Called Moving: A Critical Poetics of Film (2005).

A collection of writings by various authors on Is This What You Were Born For?, including a DVD of the film series, was published in 2011.


  • A Shape Of Error (2011) feature film on Mary and Percy Shelley
  • The Suburban Trilogy (2011) film and digital
  • Hacking Empire (2010) single screen version of L'Impero Invertito
  • L'impero Invertito (2010) 4 screen installation, Rome Academy, Romanian Academy
  • If I Can Sing A Song About Ligatures (2009) w/ Nada Gordon, Foreign Film Series
  • Surf And Turf (2008-2011) 16mm/digital, The Suburban Trilogy, part 3
  • On The Downlow (2007) Digital feature documentary, dir. by Child; ed: Yael Bitton; Camera: Arthur Jafa
  • The Party (2007-04) digital, editor: Yael Bitton; Camera: Robert Banks
  • Mirrorworlds (2006) installation version of Dark Dark and To And No Fro
  • Mirror World (2006) 16mm to digital, w/ Gary Sullivan Foreign Film Series
  • By Desire (2006) 3-screen installation
  • To And No Fro (2005) 16mm to digital, w/ Monica de la Torre. Foreign Film Series
  • Blonde Fur (2004) Loop from Cake and Steak
  • The Future Is Behind You (2004) film/digital, The Suburban Trilogy, Part 2
  • Cake and Steak (2003–04) film/digital, The Suburban Trilogy, Part 1
  • The Milky Way (2003) Installation version of Dark Dark
  • Subtalk (2002) digital, w/ Benton C Bainbridge and Eric Rosenzveig
  • Dark Dark (2001) film, How the World Works, Part 2
  • Surface Noise (2000) film, How the World Works, Part 1
  • Catch Me If You Can (1998-89) script w/ M. Ragona
  • B/SIDE (1996) film
  • Through The Looking Lass w/ L. Champagne & Songs (1995) interactive video performance
  • Dinkinsville (1994) video
  • Songs (1993) interactive video performance w/Benton C Bainbridge, Vicky Funari and Ikue Mori
  • 8 Million (1993) video album w/ Ikue Mori)
  • Swamp (1990–91) w/ S. Schulman
  • Swamp Songs (1990) interactive video w/ I. Mori
  • Is This What You Were Born For? (1981–89) 7 parts
  • Mercy (1989) Is This What You Were Born For? Part 7
  • Both (1988) Is This What You Were Born For? Part 3
  • Mayhem (1987) Is This What You Were Born For? Part 6
  • Perils (1985–86) Is This What You Were Born For? Part 5
  • Covert Action (1984) Is This What You Were Born For? Part 4
  • Mutiny (1982–83) Is This What You Were Born For? Part 2
  • Prefaces (1981) Is This What You Were Born For? Part 1
  • Ornamentals (1979)
  • Pacific Far East Line (1979)
  • Peripeteia II (1978)
  • Daylight Test Section (1978)
  • Peripeteia I (1977)
  • Some Exterior Presence (1977)
  • Tar Garden (1975)
  • Game (1972) w/Jon Child
  • Except The People (1970) w/Jon Child
  • Publications

  • From Solids (Roof Books, 1983)
  • A Motive for Mayhem (Potes & Poets, 1989)
  • Mob (O Books, 1994)
  • Scatter Matrix (Roof Books, 1996)
  • Artificial Memor (Belladonna Press, 2001)
  • This is Called Moving: A Critical Poetics of Film (University of Alabama Press, 2005)
  • References

    Abigail Child Wikipedia