This article examines how sound was used as an effective tool of formal resistance in the work of influential feminist filmmakers, Carolee Schneemann (United States), Gunvor Nelson (Sweden), and Joyce Wieland (Canada). While their work differs in both aesthetic approach and thematics, their strategic use of sound as a point of disruption within their early films set an important standard for future feminist experimental film practice. The article outlines how each filmmaker constructed a dialectical relationship between image and sound that often challenged viewers. Each produced defamiliarized landscapes out of domestic spaces commonly overcoded by gendered systems of representation, including the kitchen, the home, and the garden. Furthermore, each film offered alternative forms for articulating women's subjectivity that challenged the roles made available to them during the 1960s. Through close readings of Wieland's film Water Sark (1965), Schneemann's film Plumb Line (1968–71), and Nelson's film My Name Is Oona (1969), the article demonstrates how each artist advanced a critical politics through sound-image dissonance.
Voicing Dissonance: Resistant Soundscapes in 1960s Feminist Experimental Film
Shana MacDonald is an assistant professor in the Drama and Speech Communication Department at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. Her research examines the intersections among cinema, performance, screen-based installation, and public art, with a focus on historical and contemporary feminist experimental media. This work is closely aligned with her practice as an internationally screened filmmaker, curator, and installation artist.
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Shana MacDonald; Voicing Dissonance: Resistant Soundscapes in 1960s Feminist Experimental Film. Feminist Media Histories 1 October 2015; 1 (4): 89–107. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2015.1.4.89
Download citation file: