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Susan Brockman at Anthology Film Archives, Anthology Film Archives, 2022

Susan Brockman, Depot, 1975, 16mm film, black and white, sound, 11.5 min.


Susan Brockman (1937-2001) was a filmmaker and photographer active in NYC and East Hampton from the 1960s-90s. As a member of the collective Women/Artist/Filmmakers, she made several short films on themes of beauty, desire, and close observation. Sometimes inspired by literary, performance, or fine arts sources, Brockman’s films conjure deep emotions through her exquisite photography and skillful editing. In the three films selected for this screening – DEPOT (1975), HOTHOUSE FLOWER (1978), and LEE’S FERRY (1983, with Sally Gross) – Brockman explores interior environments of both physical and mental realms.

DEPOT is a wry homage to dancer Ruth St. Denis and ideals of beauty. The film features the artist striking classical poses in a dramatically lit room. Gauzy curtains and billowing smoke, accompanied by the sounds of a train that punctuate the mostly still, black-and-white image, suggest a timeless anticipation of arrival and departure. LEE’S FERRY also features a female figure slowly moving within a constructed environment. Set to baroque organ music by Keith Jarrett and filmed against brightly painted slides by Joan Kurahara, Brockman’s record of dancer Sally Gross gently merges body, image, and sound. Also without dialogue, but with gestures toward narrative, HOTHOUSE FLOWER depicts women at work: making images, writing, or presenting their bodies in contrast with visualizations of their subconscious. In Brockman’s vision, imagination and dreaming are integral parts of the women’s creative process.

Filmed by photographer Peter Moore in 1964, STOCKHAUSEN’S ORIGINALE: DOUBLETAKES documents a performance composed and scripted by Karlheinz Stockhausen, directed by Allan Kaprow, and starring Nam June Paik. Moore filmed two performances held at Judson Hall during Charlotte Moorman’s 2nd Annual New York Avant Garde Festival but left the footage unedited for 30 years. Having recently edited works by Danny Seymour and Robert Frank, Brockman offered to complete the film. When Barbara Moore decided to produce the film in 1994, following her husband’s death, Brockman was brought on as editor.

This screening is curated by Chelsea Spengemann, co-founder of Soft Network and Director of the Stan VanDerBeek Archive. Brockman’s work has been included in recent projects by Soft Network that consider artists past and present working in collaboration, specifically with film, photography, performance, and dance. Spengemann is currently organizing Brockman’s collection of film and photography.

The screening will be introduced by Richard Brockman, Susan Brockman’s brother; Mirra Bank, filmmaker, close friend, and sister-in-law of Brockman; and curator Chelsea Spengemann.

Susan Brockman DEPOT (1975, 11.5 min, 16mm)
Susan Brockman HOTHOUSE FLOWER (1978, 13 min, 16mm)
Susan Brockman & Sally Gross LEE’S FERRY (1983, 7.5 min, 16mm)
Peter Moore STOCKHAUSEN’S ORIGINALE: DOUBLETAKES (1964/94, 30 min, 16mm)

Total running time: ca. 70 min.