Dossier Abigail Child

Abigail Child

We want what is needed

Constructively re-socializing the material

   Connect the knots1Charles Bernstein, in recent essay

I’m going to talk about work since 2001. That’s when I got into digital editing my films. Behind me is a power point with Trios from DARK DARK, the first sound track I edited digitally.


Adrian Martin

In Abigail Child’s diverse and prodigious artistic career, Mayhem (1987) represents one, very specific type of exploration. Coming at the spectator like a violent cut-up, it mixes her filmed images from New York’s Lower Eastside in 1985 and 1986 with various old movie samples, plus a soundtrack comprised of audio fragments (also sampled) alternated with improvisations from a gang including Christian Marclay and Shelley Hirsch. It has the rawness and insider-vibe of an “art school confidential” exercise in mimickry and playful subversion – but taken all the way, an over-fifteen minute montage sequence that rarely eases off in its blistering intensity.


Colin Beckett

 A person is transformed into an icon by a kind of violent, flattening rupture. Emma Goldman has been made into such an icon many times over. During her lifetime, it was as “the most dangerous woman in America,” posthumously as perhaps the most famous anarchist in Anglophone history — for most, however, as the name attached to a likely apocryphal quotation. Onscreen, she has been the subject of stodgy PBS documentary,and a bit player in a handful of others She was portrayed most famously in Warren Beatty’s Reds, as a kind of earthy (and fully Americanized) matron.


Michael Sicinski

Abigail Child made two films for a series she called “How the World Works.” These films, Surface Noise (2000) and Dark Dark (2001), are among her most advanced, although they have not been discussed as much as they should be. Formally, they have a fair amount in common with her seven-film series from the eighties, Is This What You Were Born For? In fact, one suspects that Child may have originally been embarking on a new series of some expansiveness. I want to consider these two films individually, as a pair, and in light of Child’s other work.



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