• 29 October 2019
  • 1:00 – 2:00 pm
  • Seminar Room, Paul Mellon Centre

A departure from her earlier abstract films, Lis Rhodes’s engagement with feminism reached a zenith in the film Light Reading (1978), a dense palimpsest of photographs and incoherent streams of typeset letters accompanied by a disembodied female voice, never attributed to a figure on screen. “As for her image, that has gone,” Rhodes explains in the program accompanying the film. “Sixty years of film and television and advertising have much to answer for.” Rhodes, like other feminist artists and filmmakers working in the 1970s, understood the stakes of representing the female body, as well as the capacity of an image to render her as a passive object of scopophilic desire.

However, at issue for Rhodes was not only the representation of women but also the very process of identification offered to viewers. Here, identification refers to the procedure by which viewers to suture themselves to the image on screen, which provides the illusion of a stable identity. Drawing on theories of identification developed in feminist discourse, psychoanalysis, art criticism and film theory, this presentation argues that Rhodes generated a new visual lexicon with which to articulate the relationship between viewer and image, self and other.

The Fellows Lunch talks are given by recipients of Paul Mellon Centre fellowships. Lunch is provided and all are welcome but please book a ticket in advance.

About the speaker

  • Head and shoulders portrait of Hannah Kahng

    Hannah Kahng is a PhD student in the department of art history at the University of California, Los Angeles. She studies twentieth-century art, with a special interest in experimental film practices, postminimalism and the politics of desire. Her current research focuses on women working in and around the London Filmmakers’ Co-op during the 1970s and examines the relationship between feminism and expanded cinema.