Filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh discusses her exhibition Vision Machines and broader themes in her work with film scholar and exhibition co-curator Erika Balsom.
Together they track Ahwesh’s distinctive moving image practice from the early 1980s, focusing on works in the current Spike Island exhibition that cover issues and ideas as diverse as gender, climate change and war.
The conversation is introduced by Spike Island director Robert Leckie and is followed by a Q&A with the online audience.
Peggy Ahwesh is an American experimental filmmaker and video artist. Born in 1954 in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, she received her B.F.A. at Antioch College, Ohio. Retrospective exhibitions include: Girls Beware!, Whitney Museum of American Art (1997); Filmmuseum, Brussels; Anthology Film Archives, New York; Peggy’s Playhouse, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University; others. Screenings: Whitney Biennial (1991, 1995, 2002); New York Film Festival (1998, 2007); Flaherty Film Seminar (2003); Pompidou Center (2002, 2004); Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (2017). Festivals include: Berlin; London; Cairo; Toronto; Rotterdam; and Creteil, France. Certain Women (codirected with Bobby Abate) was an official selection at the Rotterdam International Film Festival and the opening night film at the New York Underground Film Festival (2004). Other films include Martina’s Playhouse, The Deadman (codirected with Keith Sanborn), Strange Weather, and Nocturne, all in Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection. She has received grants from Jerome and Guggenheim Foundation fellowships, Alpert Award in the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, Art Matters.
Erika Balsom is a Reader in Film Studies at King’s College London. She is the author of four books, including TEN SKIES (2021) and After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation (2017), as well as the co-editor of Artists’ Moving Image in Britain since 1989 (2019) and Documentary Across Disciplines (2016). In 2017, she was awarded a Leverhulme Prize and the Katherine Singer Kovacs essay award from the Society of Cinema and Media Studies. She is a frequent contributor to 4columns and Cinema Scope.