She vanishes – Sara Bonaventura at Anthology Film Archives, December 2nd, 2015
She vanishes, a video by the experimental videomaker Sara Bonaventura, will be screened in New York, at the Anthology Film Archives, New Filmmakers NY section, during ORIENTING curated by Lili White, at 6 pm.
The video has already been shown in diverse locations before: in Italy and abroad (Belgrade, Moscow).
Would the modern Ariadne, who always knew her limits, hang herself today experiencing a state of abandon? Or has she always been un-finished? Swinging above the void, weaving her web on her own? She would love to disappear, while appearing. Refusing the linear logic of control/ property. Break means potential. No one knows
how the hang(wo)man game will end up. The last capture end is within a bubble, a vanitas. The logical thread is not enough. It was an umbilical cord, but it has been used to hang and constrain.
“Sarah offers what she does not have since she owns it no more”. Derrida, The gift of death.
“For if Ariadne has fled from the labyrinth of old, the only guiding thread for all of us now is a
tightrope stretched above the void”. Rosi Braidotti
“The world is understood only as an extension of the body which is there in the process of
speaking… to the extent that it does not know repression, femininity is the downfall of
interpretation… Only meaning drives you mad/No madness without meaning”. Michele Montrelay
“The concept of sexual difference functions as the vanishing point”. Jacqueline Rose
“Meaning indicates the direction in which it fails”. Jacques Lacan
“Nothing to be seen as having nothing”. Luce Irigaray
When I though of the script and filmed this short I was writing my thesis, reading a
lot about aesthetics, visual culture, feminist film theory and gender studies. The
incipit french quotation is by Luce Irigaray, from her essay Speculum, and it is a
tribute to the so called écriture féminine. It is a french wordplay (rien à voir équivaut
à n’avoir rien) hard to be translated, but simplifying: having nothing to see equals
posessing nothing. It is a hint to feminist studies on the gaze, post-structuralist
studies in opposition to lacanian phallocentrism, which kept considering feminine
privates as penis’ sobstitutes; ironically declaring that if there is nothing, that
nothing could not be a substitute.
This short is my anti-manifesto.
A mise en scene of an impossibility -a virtual presence-, in front of and beyond the
camera. An “impossible body” displays loss, distance.
There is a tension without resolution, but also without a hierarchy. This unbalanced
tension is an in between, a terrain vague, a contra-diction. Same as the gesture of
typewriting she vanishes, a contradictory gesture which symbolizes the sense of
When the mind collapses, with its masks, grids and rational schemes, the body
reacts. this collapse could be a liberation. Words are not enough, there is not just
meaning but sense. The paradox is that I am writing it, bit it has to be experienced.
The body is the most dense political space, metaphor and matter, form and content,
identity and difference. It is the chiasm between the private and the public. The
feminine body is never neutral, never natural; it is always marked out, claimed, and
figured with language, always inscribed in a system of difference. The body is
written, but can speak also. HIstory is written but it can be reinterpreted. We are
always interpreting something that was interpreted.
I often play with quotes or idioms, trying to disclose a new sense, implying also nosense.
We can fill in some gaps, some silences, some vanishing points, live in left
out parenthesis; nowhere now here (at the beginning of the video) means in this hic
et nunc, which is always ineffable. Towards the end of the video an inter-text says
peek a boo-merang, referring to past and future space-time dimensions in an ironic
way. It was meant to finish like a hang-woman game. But the game is left open. To
give no answers, but multiple possibilities to you, the other, the observed observer.
And the inter-text the end is in a big bubble, a vanitas vanitatae; whose ambivalent
meaning was in fact to remind us that life is death, but also that death is life.
link to see the video:
link to downloadable still frames:
website of the videomaker:
Sara Bonaventura – SHE VANISHES (6 min, video, Italy)
Rebecca Arndt – DORIAN (20 min video, USA)
Tabita Rezaire – COMBTHROUGH (4 min, video. Mozambique)
Kristin Reeves – THREADBARE (6 min 16 mm, USA)
Leslie Wilson – TO MY LOVE (4 min, video, USA)
Linda Fenstermaker – ABANDONED GENERATIONS (10 min, video, USA)