JUMP CUT
A REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MEDIA

copyright 2012, Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media
Jump Cut
, No. 54, fall 2012

Work-in-progress: Marie Menken
and the mechanical representation of labor

by Caroline Guo

“I just liked the twitters of the machine”—such was Marie Menken’s explanation of her draw towards filmmaking.[1] [open notes in new window] And thus it follows, upon discovering the kinetic potentials of the medium, so began her transition from paint to film, celebrating cinema’s capacities to observe, capture, and impose movement. Menken’s concerns with motion both within the frame and with regard to her own camera movement have since been likened to

However, while her films undoubtedly display a free-swinging and free-flowing visual melody, I also see a certain staccato punching the tune—a pronounced, machinic viewpoint cast onto her surroundings, denaturalizing the environment through her frequent use of stop-motion. Consequently, I come back to Menken’s original, seemingly innocent statement to rethink her work along the line of these “twitters,” this “machine,” and the implications of this statement—or the mechanics behind the camera as an apparatus and filmmaking as a practice.

That is to say, through her films’ kineticism, Menken goes beyond just exercising a certain freedom of expression to reveal and revel in a mechanical reworking of her surroundings. Melissa Ragona also recognizes the comparison of Menken’s work to poetry as potentially reductive, instead examining Menken’s manipulation of the medium in relation to a larger exploration of film form and aesthetics.[5] Yet, going past the aesthetic surface of the images, this manipulation proves striking not only for its visual dimensions but also because Menken makes no attempts to hide this degree of reworking. In other words, she makes no attempt to render illusory the amount of work put into her camera(work). For instance, both at the beginning and end of Go!Go!Go! (1962-1964), which she called her “major work” and the focus of this essay, she waves her arm in front of the camera and in the mirror. In between, she releases an onslaught of frenetic images of the city of Manhattan and its inhabitants, transforming them into robots, ghosts—anything but simply human. Thus, nothing appears to come naturally—not the manner in which these metropolitan individuals carry on their routines, and certainly not the creation of these images themselves, made possible only through the exertion of her own hand in the process.

As a result, I argue that Menken’s use of the mechanical capacities of film actually serves to reveal the underlying—or overarching, rather—fabric of labor necessary in carrying out daily life and artistic creation, which is a structure that, in the words of Walter Benjamin, normally lies “beyond natural optics.”[6] Effectively, the techniques employed in her work venture beyond the limits of natural perception in order to render visible the normally intangible, oft-concealed details and systems that make up our surroundings—in particular, the universality of labor in defining the material world and human condition. Thus, her handling of the camera and film medium can be viewed in relationship to Benjamin’s 1936 essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” According to Benjamin, film, as a medium based in mechanical reproduction, is capable of uncovering the invisible structures and processes of mechanical reproduction that lie at the heart of modern society. In Menken’s case, though, it is less of a reproduction of the sights around her, but a representation. Through her handheld camera, she ultimately offers a vision of the world that brings forth a meditation on not only the mechanical form of film, but also the mechanical form of being—an exposure of the backbone of labor that proves an intrinsic part of modern existence as well as her own art, or work, of filmmaking.

In transit

A journey across the Brooklyn Bridge, taken aboard a moving vehicle: up goes Menken’s camera, catching a glimpse of the cables dividing the sky above; out to the side it turns, looking at the buildings lining the cityscape. Immediately following her waving hand in Go!Go!Go!, these shots announce the imminent arrival into Manhattan. And yet, this is anything but a typical day trip: the excursion is an accelerated one, viewed through the window of the vehicle in motion and the rapid speed of the stop-motion film. Thus, from the very beginning, Menken conveys a mechanically manipulated manner of perceiving the city and, eventually, its inhabitants.

Concerning the potential behind such a moving, vehicular viewpoint, Ralph Waldo Emerson exclaims in his essay “Nature”:

“Certain mechanical changes, a small alteration in our local position apprizes us of a dualism […] What new thoughts are suggested by seeing a face of country quite familiar, in the rapid movement of the rail-road car!”[7]

Trees could be rendered as lines; hills as paintstrokes—the world, when viewed through the screen of the train window and motion of the locomotive, begins to take on previously unseen dimensions. Indicating the significance of such a perspective, Menken inserts a second shot later in the film also taken aboard a moving vehicle, and this time clearly on a train. Offering a blurred view of the landscape, the particularity of this window seat lies in its ability to leave us with more of an impression—an idea—of the environment rather than a single clear image of it. Consequently, we have the opportunity not only to perceive our surroundings in different terms but also to rethink the structures of this world unfolding before us at full speed.

Of course, Emerson’s exclamation came much earlier (in 1836), when such motion was a novelty. However, Menken also registers more than just a perspective taken through a moving locomotive. Her view is a fast-forwarded one—a motion on top of a motion, or a speeding up of a speeding up, lending itself to as ort of hyper-kineticism. That is, within a given amount of time, we are subjected to several times the amount of stimuli than we would be had the images been rendered in real-time. Likewise for her film Andy Warhol (1965), which uses the same process of single-frame photography, Menken described it as “[a] long day in the life of Pop artist Andy Warhol shortened into minutes.”[8] Indeed, when faced with such a stream of images, we are able (and forced) to gather a larger sense of the filmed subject in a shorter amount of time—in a brief ride aboard the Menken (super) express, where movement, space, and time are all emphatically denaturalized.

In fact, such compression, intensification, and ultimate reanimation—reworking—of Manhattan through this stop-motion technique bring the place and its people to obey a new order of time and space that both condenses and reveals the overarching patterns of an entire day in just under twelve minutes. Menken’s use of an overtly processed viewpoint and purposeful venturing outside the limits of natural perception come to divulge the usually imperceptible qualities of concrete phenomena, echoing Benjamin’s description of the revolutionary aspects of film. Specifically, he declares:

“Then film came along and exploded all these dungeons with the dynamite of its tenths of a second, leaving us free, now, to undertake adventurous journeys […] And just as enlargement is not really concerned with simply clarifying what we glimpse ‘anyway’ but rather brings out wholly new structural formations in matter, neither does the slow-motion technique simply bring out familiar movement motifs but reveals in them others that are quite unfamiliar and that ‘bear no resemblance to decelerations of rapid movements but are likely strangely gliding, floating, supernatural ones.’”[9]

While Menken uses the opposite of slow-motion, her fast-motion’s revelatory potential reflects Benjamin’s argument that such changes in speed do not simply make the subject’s already visible details more visible but actually expose what is usually illusory. As a matter of fact, acceleration is a process that can prove equally revealing. Although it renders minute differences and details indistinct, this erasure of individual faces and creation of smooth masses of “strangely gliding” bodies brings forth notions of uniformity as well as, in Ragona’s words, “the aggressive serial repetition that Menken achieves through pixilation.”[10] Effectively, such repetition is a running pattern throughout her works, produced by her manipulation of the medium. In Arabesque for Kenneth Anger (1961), Menken directs our gaze to and speeds up the view of the repeating lines structuring the Alhambra; in Andy Warhol, the artist’s mass-produced Brillo boxes are seen in rapid succession, indistinguishable from one another. While this serial repetition is deliberately and mechanically achieved, Menken also brings to light that such a pattern is already part of the environment, its structures, and, most significantly, its people. Her stop-motion just renders it more perceptible.

Thus, repetition is there and perhaps everywhere: it just needs to be actively looked for and exposed. Moreover, it becomes evident that above all (or underneath it all), this serves as a principal structuring device of not only architecture and concrete objects, but also the implementation of human actions and specifically their work. Twice in Go!Go!Go! Menken films underway constructions sites, stationing herself at a distance. Now that these individuals who are busy laboring away have been rendered in miniature, rapidly moving form, repetition becomes the most discernible aspect of their movement as they resemble a human ant farm of sorts, scurrying forth with their seemingly pre-prescribed roles and endless amounts of tasks. By viewing the construction from such a perspective and pace, we can get the bigger picture of the amount of effort involved in transforming these sites as well as the impression of a uniform, laboring body maintaining the city.

At the same time, Menken often foregoes her distant window seat in order to throw herself directly into the crowds, caught amidst the flow of their repetitive currents. Instead of just observing the bustling bodies through a static camera and intervelometer-driven recording, which would provide a similarly sped-up view yet only a single perspective of such action, Menken’s handheld camera and moving use of single-frame photography demonstrate both the mobility of her perspective as well as her own movement and involvement in this environment. Frequently in quite close proximity to these anonymous strangers, she is moving as they are moving, which appears to render the surrounding activity more accessible and, in a way tactile. That is to say, she is not only seeing this hyper-kinetic movement up close but also experiencing it firsthand—and in turn giving us as spectators a chance to experience this pace too. 

In addition, Sitney claims,

“By embedding her moments of transcendence within the rhythmic convulsions of city life, Menken declares her participation in the very ceremonies and engrossments she sees through.”[11]

In other words, by placing herself in the middle of the city’s movement, she is not only moving as they are moving but also working as they are working. She seems to acknowledge her own place alongside these individuals and consequently her own act of filming as being busy at work as well. Her participation also forces her filming into a more frenetic, unstable pace, demonstrating the extent to which she is both shaped by the surrounding movement and simultaneously striving to reshape this movement, caught in a constant give-and-take between filmmaker and city—worker and world. Just like the laborers, in order to attain her desired image of the city, she also has to work for it, reordering it bit by bit or frame by frame. In lieu of cranes and bulldozers, though, the handheld camera becomes the main (re)construction tool.

All in a day’s work

Package, tape, repeat: in Andy Warhol, the beginning of the artist’s workday is rendered in stop-motion, making these his main, discernible actions and reinforcing the relentless cycle he is engaged in. The visualization of his day as well as inclusion of fellow Factory workers is reminiscent of Menken’s representation of the teams of construction workers in Go!Go!Go!, who are also involved in such regularity of action. Furthermore, when describing the making of this film, Menken stated how “some of the sequences took over an hour to shoot, and last perhaps a minute on the screen.”[12] Thus, in order to achieve the smooth, accelerated effect, the unavoidable task of taking single images must come first. There is no short cut, only and always just work to be done.

Ultimately then, no matter the status—whether the celebrity Warhol or the unidentifiable laborers, and whether in front of or behind the camera—one common factor emerges: we all have to work. Matthew Tinkcom, in emphasizing the omniscience of this system, claims that

“the capacity to labor on the material world is the modernist predication of every subject’s social worth.”[13]

Consequently, by going beyond the glamour of Warhol’s star persona and completed products, Menken plunges into the construction sites that usually remain concealed from public view whilst exposing the structure of labor governing the artist’s day-to-day circumstances. Here is where he gets his worth from—his immense capacities to continually carry out such labor form the real foundation of his success.

It becomes necessary here to point out a distinction between work and labor. Tinkcom describes labor as the continuous, repetitive process involved in carrying out daily life in the modern world, while work implies a more subjective act or an act that humans create for themselves.[14] At the same time, I find that this distinction reinforces the notion that labor and work are mostly inseparable, as it is often impossible to achieve this subjective act of work without the structure of labor as support. For instance, while we can consider the overall craft of filmmaking as work, the process needed to carry out this subjective act could very much be defined as labor due to its continuous, repetitive nature that potentially determine both the making-of and the artist’s lifestyle. In Go!Go!Go! Menken films her husband, underground filmmaker and poet Willard Maas in front of his typewriter. Clutching his head in his hands, refilling the paper, standing up to contemplate, repeat—his creative frustration is displayed as largely laborious, and the placement of his scene in the middle of the film contains him within the daily grind instead of outside of it. Therefore, despite—or because of—these singular efforts to work as an artist, he is still inevitably engrained in the overall structure of labor that defines the running of the urban jungle.

Similar to the manner in which Maas is represented, Warhol also puts on display the labor behind the aesthetic surface and becomes a representation of Menken’s offscreen presence. Ragona writes:

“In making Andy Warhol, she also is making a ‘copy’ of her own aesthetic personality—one that had an affinity with Warhol’s work ethic.”[15]

As Warhol is occupied with packaging the boxes, Menken, too, is occupied, with the task of filming him in single frames—not only is artistic creation carried out on both ends of the camera, but also, plainly, work. In addition, with her handheld camera, she literally incorporates her body into the images, leaving behind traces of the physical labor required. Although her exertion cannot necessarily be equated to that put forth by the construction workers in the city, the bodily input and physical involvement in both cases suggests that Menken’s task of reorganizing the environment at hand can be viewed as akin to the laborers’ undertaking in reconfiguring a particular area. Both are, in fact, different means to achieve the same goal, which is demonstrating one’s capacity to labor on the material world.

Labor becomes the ends as much as the mean. As Ragona suggests, Menken mainly demonstrated an “interest in the structural possibilities of art making, a decided focus on process over content.”[16] It is the in-between rather than the A or B endpoint of any trajectory that takes precedence, as it is the stage that not only proves most prevalent but also comes to determine the motion of modern life. As Menken’s filming of Manhattanites emphasizes their strangely gliding uniformity and repetition, the filming of Warhol also reflects this impression. He passes in front of his serial reproductions of Jackie Kennedy, rapidly moving forth and seemingly flattened in front of his work. As a result, the structural processes of his artistic production are what come to define him. He becomes a mechanically perpetuated image like his mechanically created images—a repetitive machine as much as his Factory and his creations are sites of mechanical reproduction. Even when Menken turns her attention in Go!Go!Go! to other happenings besides that of construction and creation, such as the rituals and ceremonies of graduation, debutante balls, and body-builder competitions, the machine-like manner of leading daily life also emerges. The black-robed graduates file in an orderly line to collect their diplomas, virtually clones of one another. The debutantes line up in their similarly-toned pastel dresses, facing away from the camera and basically unidentifiable. And the men in the muscle competition come up to the stage one by one, only to repeat the same gestures over and over again. Hence, although those involved in such rituals and ceremonies may strive towards affirming their uniqueness, the process of attaining such distinction is rendered almost entirely uniform, which in turn renders these individuals’ identities almost entirely uniform as well.

As a result, one of the tensions of modern life appears to lie in the struggle between differentiating oneself yet acknowledging one’s participation in the on-going machine of modern society. Menken uses the film medium to foreground this tension and it displays what Tinkcom describes as

“cinema’s capacity as the medium, par excellence, that visualizes—renders onto a visual register—the indeterminacies and contradictions of capital and the effects of modernity.”[17]

Her exposure of the repetitive nature of individual activities as well as her own oscillation between detachment and involvement demonstrate this continuous conflict of distinguishing one’s identity caught in the upkeep of the collective system. It’s an inconclusive struggle that encapsulates our situation as mere humans aboard the moving train of society.

In effect, it is a vehicle and machine that has long been in motion, too late to stop. All we can and know to do is to keep the structures and processes going. Our surroundings can perhaps only be captured in medias res—already aboard a moving train, in flux, interminable, and a constant work-in-progress. After all, we begin our journey into the city on a vehicle that is already in motion. Also, when filming other views besides the city, Menken is often concerned with the organization that has already been set in place, heightening our awareness of the pre-existence of this order as well as her own contribution to this reordering. In filming her late friend Dwight Ripley’s garden in Glimpse of the Garden (1957), she puts on display that this is a nature that has already been worked over, long before she has come around to film it—the ubiquitous flower pots, pristine pond, and carefully-tended flowers. As MacDonald explains,

“Ripley’s garden reflects the organization and regular maintenance necessary for keeping a wide variety of plants alive.”[18]

That is not to say that Menken is being critical of this structuring; on the contrary, she acknowledges that such construction can certainly be beautiful. But its maintenance is hardly natural. Simultaneously, through the speed, close-focus of her camera and added soundtrack of chirping birds, she is in the midst of reorganizing the space with her own hand, bringing forth the notion that work thus invites more work.

In the end is there anything left that has not already been reworked (and can only be, in a way, re-reworked), and does our contribution to the material world not just perpetuate the cyclical nature of such work? Even though the sunset at the end of Go!Go!Go! signals the end of the (work)day, instead of offering a sense of closure, Sitney describes how it in fact displays “the rhythms of human temporality that project into a repeating future,”[19] offering only a temporary intermission in the daily spectacle, implying that the show will continue again the next day, everyday. This endless cycle brings to light a certain absurdity that makes up an intrinsic part of modern existence. Despite the grandeur and seriousness of our efforts and clamors for carving out our own special places in the world—our own work, our own gardens—we are all ultimately just one out of many involved in the maintenance of not only our surroundings but also the overall structure of labor itself. As Menken declares that Go!Go!Go! aimed to put on display “the ridiculousness of [human] desires,”[20] this emphasis on and revelation of a certain ridiculousness implies that the world, or at least Menken’s view of it, ultimately resembles a theater of the absurd. With humans taking on and bringing upon themselves the performance of labor, we become miniature figurines dotting a transitional stage on which we are just busy, busy, busy with no real finale in sight. The manner in which her camera brings forth such ideas echoes Benjamin’s claim of cinema’s capacities to enlighten:

“[A]ccentuating hidden details of props with which we are familiar, exploring commonplace environments under the inspired guidance of the lens . . . film increases our understanding of the inevitabilities that govern our lives.”[21]

Indeed, Manhattan still looks like Manhattan and the people still look like the people—just faster, stranger, more repetitive, ridiculous, and perhaps hilarious. As Maas’s procedure of writing comes to resemble a sort of self-inflicted suffering that takes on almost cartoonish proportions through Menken’s sped-up view, we are then able not only to see but also to understand the likely (tragi)comedy at the heart of human existence. Ultimately, what keeps us so busy is, simply, ourselves.

Moreover, through the almost comical rendition of Maas’s laboring, Menken seems to suggest that if we really must be part machine in order to get the job done, then the least we can do is let go of any pretenses of self-importance, maybe even poking fun at ourselves in the process. In effect, she largely displayed irreverence towards her own practice of filmmaking as a mythologizing or theorizing realm à la Brakhage and Deren, which, according to Sitney, has often hindered her from being considered an artiste par excellence.[22] However, by shedding pretensions of artistic illusion and vanity, she is equally engaging in a self-reflexive act concerning the capacities of film, exposing its ability to visualize the motion of the processes and mechanics that regulate both the creation of film and the running of the material world, as well as the fact that despite its seemingly independent existence as a mechanical entity, the camera still needs a human to use it—to work it. There is still forcibly a heartbeat behind the machine, a hand behind the apparatus, and, as a result personal, multi-faceted sensations behind the experience of work. It could be tiring, but it could also just as likely be enjoyable and, surprisingly, fun.

Labor of love

Ultimately, it would be too simplistic to deem Menken’s portrayal of labor as just tedious, repetitive, and absurd. By filming a wide array of individuals at work, and by both detaching and involving herself alongside their routines, her film not only provides a larger impression of these structures but also a more multifarious experience. That is to say, not only can there be different modes of working but also different ways of experiencing work. As Menken once claimed: “All art should be fun in a sense.”[23] Therefore, while the task of filming is often laborious, occupying those several hours that are then projected onscreen in just minutes, she declares that the practice and the resulting product also could be and actually should be a pleasurable experience. This offers the idea of a different sort of work at play that offers an escape from the numbing effects of standardization. Indeed, for Menken, filmmaking would have provided a respite from the demanding office shifts that occupied much of her time. Brakhage recounts:

“[I]t was Marie who worked, bringing home the money. For all of their married life she worked for Time-Life; and every evening, five and sometimes six days a week, Marie trudged up to the Time-Life building for the night shift, to pick up all the overnight cables from whatever state or country she was handling that night, and held that job for thirty years. She would come home at two or three o’clock in the morning and drink herself into sleep.”[24]

Thus, Menken’s preoccupation with the repetitive, organized structures of modernity likely stems from the permanence of the act of work and process of labor that governed her own life. Subsequently her filmmaking is also reflective of a search for a different mode of work or a more self-gratifying way in which one could exert oneself towards reaching an outcome. In her diaristic work Notebook (1963), she makes raindrops fall from a tree branch faster than they normally would have fallen, revealing the brusque interference of her hand. She therefore not only exposes her impatience and physical effort but also a certain pleasure in being able to make nature run faster and breaking the onscreen illusion. In fact, this kind of engagement with work could be contemplated in terms of Tinkcom’s description of “work-as-play,” referring to the creation of products unattached to material, economic gains yet all the more personally satisfying because of its seeming inutility.[25] By putting on full display the workmanship involved in her craft and art as a whole and by waving her hand exuberantly in front of the camera, Menken is in fact celebrating her conscious effort to film for the sake of filming, to play with aspects such as light, exposure, aperture, and transport speed that are all part of this machine she carries around so willingly with her, and to continue doing all this for something other than (and bigger than) money.

Also, in conveying this willing performance of labor and the extent to which this task defines her work (her films), she is simultaneously meditating on her role as a filmmaker, artist, and voluntary worker. As Tinkcom states:

“To be conscious of this labor as that which gives rise to consciousness itself makes each human a philosopher of his or her own conditions, but such a recognition also forces us to extend Marx’s critique of our political and economic conditions for life to the spheres in which we exert ourselves for something besides money.”[26]

Effectively, as part of the U.S. underground scene, her filmmaking was not what would be bringing in the cash. The night shifts were the requisite work(-for-money); the filmmaking was the conscious choice to work(-as-play). However, referring back to Tinkcom’s aforementioned claim on labor being essentially tied to worth, there must be another value attributed to this latter form. And indeed Menken claimed that her main reason for creating her films was for “people I love, for it is to them I address myself.”[27] Clearly then—or consciously, rather—her main motivation was an intangible, invaluable sensation removed from the constraints of economic measurement. The resulting sense of liberation that so often emerges from her films could therefore come from not only the energy of her camera movement but also the notion that this work provides us a glimpse of what work looks like when free—not from labor but from monetary-valued labor. Liberated yet structured; fun yet tedious: Menken emphasized these lasting incongruities with respect to her filmed subjects and her own position as a filmmaker. Lastly, with her initial, immediate attraction to the mechanics of the apparatus, she did not film only for her intended spectators, but also out of her awareness of and love for the components of the camera, taking pleasure in revealing, contemplating, and above all embracing her role as an active, experimental filmmaker by day—as well as by choice.

*****

Sadly, many of Menken’s works have fallen into disrepair following a flood in her apartment, and she also rarely made definitive versions of her films.[28] As a result, her works often seem to display a rough, unfinished quality, implying that there could always be more work to be done. Not only is contemporary life viewed as a perpetual work-in-progress, but all of Menken’s films could also be deemed as works-in-progress, caught in the middle of their course. Often choosing to leave in what would normally be seen as “mistakes” in her films, she also indicates that perfection is just a myth. There is never really any polished or definable beginning or end but just a middle or a never-ending sprawl emanating infinitely outwards that we have to work for. And yet herein lies a little slice of time and space that we can also work on, and where all the movement—all the toil and all the joy—emerges.

Moreover, it is this middle where camera meets environment, filmmaker meets subject, and individual meets world that Menken foregrounds in her constant balancing act between observation and imposition,[29] passenger and worker. Consequently, she exposes and celebrates the medium at its most exuberant, even its most fundamental, as a fruitful encounter between her camera and her subject—between the apparatus and the environment caught in a mutual process of reshaping. As such, a certain empowerment behind her portrayal of work emerges. Despite the minute nature of our existence, perhaps it is one of the main methods we have of carving out a place for ourselves in our surroundings—even if it is only for an instant before it is reorganized and rethought by someone else, by many others (again and again and again). And thus it follows, armed with her tools Menken becomes The Woman with a Movie Camera, heading into the city and the heart of her subjects whilst bringing both the banality and beauty of modern existence under the twitters of her cinematic machine.

Notes

1. P. Adams Sitney, Eyes Upside Down: Visionary Filmmakers and the Heritage of Emerson (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), 24. [return to text]

2. Stan Brakhage, Film at Wit’s End: Eight Avant-Garde Filmmakers (New York: McPherson, 1991).

3. Scott MacDonald, “Avant-Gardens,” in Women & Experimental Filmmaking, ed. Jean Petrolle and Virginia Wright Wexman (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2005), 208-237.

4. Sitney, 21-47.

5. Melissa Ragona, “Swing and Sway: Marie Menken’s Filmic Events” in Women’s Experimental Cinema: Critical Frameworks, ed. Robin Blaetz (Durham: Duke of University Press, 2007), 20-41.

6. Walter Benjamin, translated by J.A. Underwood, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (London and New York: Penguin Books, 2008), 6.

7. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ralph Waldo Emerson: Essays and Lectures (New York: Library of America, 1983), 33-34.

8. Ragona, 35.

9. Benjamin, 29.

10. Ragona, 36.

11. Sitney, 37.

12. Sitney, 36.

13. Matthew Tinkcom, Working Like a Homosexual: Camp, Capital, Cinema (Durham: Duke University Press Books, 2002), 6.

14. Tinkcom, 11. His definition is derived from Hannah Arendt’s discussion of labor in The Human Condition.

15. Ragona, 36.

16. Ragona, 34.

17. Tinkcom, 27.

18. MacDonald, 211.

19. Sitney, 35.

20. Sitney, 32.

21. Benjamin, 29.

22. Sitney, 27. Sitney notes Menken’s playful self-evaluation in contrast to Deren, Brakhage, and Warhol while quoting Brakhage’s Film at Wit’s End where he describes Menken’s lighthearted yet self-reflexive treatment of her own position.

23. Sitney, 24.

24. Brakhage, 46.

25. Tinkcom, 12-13.

26. Tinkcom, 24.

27. Sitney, 40.

28. Sitney, 25.

29. P. Adams Sitney, Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde 1943-2000 (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 161.


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