“It has been the goal of my life to put a lesbian lifestyle on the screen. Why? Because when I started I couldn’t find any!” – Barbara Hammer.

Doc/Nights presents a selection of shorts from the maverick queer cinema pioneer Barbara Hammer (1939-2019), exploring the female body, desire and pleasure through experimentations with film. Having made 80 moving image pieces over a period of nearly 50 years, For Her Pleasure offers a rare chance to see the work of a true radical – one who has inspired a generation of feminist and lesbian artists and filmmakers. 

Sisters!

Barbara Hammer                                                                                                                                1973, 8:25 min, 16 mm film on HD video

“This film is made for women, by women, and is dedicated to women.” Sisters! starts by playing with depictions of women performing ‘men’s’ roles, before taking us on a joyous trip to the first Women’s International Day march in San Francisco, and to enjoy scenes of dancing at the last night of the second National Lesbian Conference at UCLA. The end credits attribute Sisters! to "Agressa," the pseudonym under which Barbara Hammer made some of her earliest films.

Dyketactics

Barbara Hammer                                                                                                                                1974, 4:00 min, 16 mm film on video

Mockingly branded a “lesbian commercial” by Barbara Hammer, Dyketactics is a celebration of female sexuality on celluloid. The film features a group of women dancing in the countryside, and the artist herself, together with her lover. One of Hammer’s most well-known and best-loved works, which she referred to as “110 images of sensual touching montages in A, B, C, D rolls of 'kinaesthetic' editing.”

Double Strength

Barbara Hammer                                                                                                                               1978, 14:38 min, 16 mm film on HD video

Double Strength tells the touching story of Barbara Hammer’s relationship with dancer and choreographer Terry Sandgreff – from their honeymoon period to their break up, through to enduring friendship. The account is revealed through candid audio, while the audience watches Terry perform on trapeze. 

Audience

Barbara Hammer                                                                                                                               1982, 32:35 min, 16 mm film on HD video

“I wanted my audience to make their own film.” Audience plays out as a 16mm video diary of audience vox pops from retrospectives of Barbara Hammer’s work in San Francisco, Toronto, Montreal and at the London Filmmakers' Co-op. In discussing what her audience anticipate they are about to see and then what they have seen, Hammer’s performance – and the audiences’ contributions - are both playful and thought-provoking, furthering the discourse in her work around lesbian representation, and pleasure, on screen.

Generations

Barbara Hammer & Joey (formerly Gina) Carducci                                                                                  2010, 14:36 min, HD video

One of Barbara Hammer’s final works saw her passing on the camera to the next generation. Hammer, aged 70, made this film collaboratively with Joey (formerly Gina) Carducci, a 33-year old queer filmmaker. Together they shoot the last days of Astroland at Coney Island, New York, before Hammer trains Carducci in how to process the footage. Generations speaks of Hammer’s legacy as a mentor and in it we see her passing on the craft of experimental filmmaking.

Wednesday 19 February 18:30 GMT

Tickets can be booked here

"I choose film and video as a medium to make the invisible, visible. Anyone can be left out of history. I am compelled to reveal and celebrate marginalized peoples whose stories have not been told...I want people to leave the theatre with fresh perceptions and emboldened to take active and political stances for social change." Barbara Hammer 

For more: barbarahammer.com/

These works will be showcased as part of Showroom Cinema’s LGBTQ+ History Month season ‘Ground-Breaking Moments in Lesbian Cinema’, focusing on films made by women.

Curated and introduced by Melanie Iredale, our Deputy Director.