Abigail Child has been at the forefront of experimental writing and media since the 1980s, having completed more than thirty film/video works & installations, and written 6 books. An acknowledged pioneer in montage, Child addresses the interplay between sound and image, to make, in the words of LA Weekly: "brilliant exciting work...a vibrant political filmmaking that's attentive to form."
Her major projects include IS THIS WHAT YOU WERE BORN FOR?: a 9 year, 7-part work; B/SIDE: a film that negotiates the politics of internal colonialism on the Lower East Side NYC; 8 MILLION: a collaboration with avant-percussionist Ikue Mori that redefines "music video"; THE SUBURBAN TRILOGY: a modular digi-film that prismatically examines a politics of place and identity; and MIRRORWORLDS: a multi-screen installation that incorporates parts of Child's "foreign film" series to explore narrative excess. A recent film, the multi screen UNBOUND is constructed as an imaginary 'home movie' of the life of Mary Shelley. Another, RIDING THE TIGER: Songs from Capitalist China, combines observational filmmaking with innovative editing to build into a powerful social commentary. Child's interest in the "outside" is manifest in all her works.
Child is the principal director, cinematographer and editor on her films. She has experience with documentary directing through her earlier work, again in B/side and Below The New, and more recently with the broadcast documentary On The Downlow. Cultural displacements, mostly urban ones, have been at the heart of her concerns. Her early videos have been intimate collaborations with a writer, a musician and a performer. She has continued collaborations with poets in recent work resulting in a series she calls FOREIGN FILMS: To and No Fro with Monica de la Torre, MIRROR WORLD with Gary Sullivan, LIGATURES with Nada Gordon, and more recently a performance project, SALOME with poet Adeena Karasick and composer Frank London. Her relations with musicians bear mentioning, since she has collaborated with a number of notable downtown composers including John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins and Christian Marclay.
Winner of the Rome Prize, a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships, the Stan Brakhage Award, as well as participating in two Whitney Biennials, (1989 and 1997), Child has had numerous retrospectives worldwide. These include the Buena Vista Center in San Francisco, Anthology Film Archive (in conjunction with The New Museum, NY), Harvard Cinematheque, Reservoir, Switzerland, EXIS Korea and the Cinoteca in Rome. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art NY, the Whitney Museum, Centre Pompidou, Museo Reina Sofia, and in numerous international film festivals, including New York, Rotterdam, Locarno and London. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art NY and Centre Pompidou among others; Harvard University Cinematheque has created an "Abigail Child Collection" which will preserve and exhibit her films.
Her films are the subject of a chapter in P. Adams Sitney's EYES UPSIDE DOWN (Oxford 2008); as well in EXPERIMENTAL WOMEN FILMMAKERS, ed. Robin Blaetz, written by Maureen Turim; in Jeffrey Scholler's SHADOWS, SPECTERS, SHARDS, 2005 U. of Minnesota, and in A CRITICAL CINEMA. Vol 4. Scott MacDonald, (2003) U of California Press. An ABIGAIL CHILD MONOGRAPH was published by MetisPress, Geneva Switzerland April 2011 in both French and English and launched October 14th 2011 at Anthology Film Archives, NY, and was reviewed in The Brooklyn Rail by Jim Supanick (Dec 2011) and in Cineaste by Michael Sicinski (2012 July).
Child is also the author of five books of poetry (A MOTIVE FOR MAYHEM, SCATTER MATRIX and ARTIFICIAL MEMORY among them) and a book of critical writings: THIS IS CALLED MOVING: A Critical Poetics of Film from University of Alabama Press (2005). Both poetry and critical texts have appeared in a number of anthologies, including MOVING BORDERS (Talisman Press, 1997), FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CENTURY (Sun and Moon Press, 1994), and RESURGENT: An Anthology of Women's Writing (Southern Illinois Press, 1992). A new book of poems MOUTH TO MOUTH is forthcoming 2014 from Eaogh Press, NY.
As senior faculty at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Child has been instrumental in building an interdisciplinary media/film program; her work and practice have inspired a generation of younger artists. For further info, please turn to: www.abigailchild.com.