The first episode of a year-long programme ‘Moving Images Within Precarious Structures’, this double screening at Glasgow Women’s Library presents two works from feminist film organisation Cinenova, newly digitised and captioned as part of their project ‘The Work We Share’.
Jacqui Duckworth’s ‘A Prayer Before Birth’ (1991, 20 minutes) and Noski Deville’s ‘Loss of Heat’ (1994, 20 minutes) tell stories of, and crucially stem from, experiences of chronic illness. Made within a few years of one another, both films challenge preconceived representations of disability through queer and feminist moving image practice.
In a newly commissioned text responding to ‘A Prayer Before Birth’, Nat Raha writes that in “the space that emerges between fiction, personal experience and surrealism, ‘A Prayer’ enacts an avant-garde lesbian aesthetic working to come to terms with being in a disabled body, that places the emotional turbulence of this experience front and centre while confronting affects through which ableism coheres”.
‘Loss of Heat’ is an evocative portrayal of queer love that challenges preconceived notions on the ‘reality’ of living with the invisible disability of epilepsy. It is a poetic, immersive interpretation exploring the interplay of the emotional and the physical, across boundaries of sexuality, dependence and desire.
The screening will be accompanied by a conversation between poet Nat Raha, artist Camara Taylor, chaired by artist and Cinenova working group member Moira Salt. There will be time for questions and discussion after the films.
Moving Images Within Precarious Structures
Delivered in partnership with Fine Art Research (School of Fine Art) at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA), and LUX Scotland, ‘Moving Images Within Precarious Structures’ is a year-long programme of episodes that start from the proposition that precarity is a condition of artist moving image practice. Through screenings, talks, workshops, and publishing, Moving Images Within Precarious Structures examines the ways precarity structures the aesthetics and politics of artist moving image, and how new ways of making, materialising and thinking the moving image can work in opposition to the conditions, effects and affects of precarity.
The Work We Share
‘A Prayer Before Birth’ and ‘Loss of Heat’ were digitised as part of ‘The Work We Share’, a film programme of ten newly digitised films from the Cinenova collection, captioned by Collective Text. ‘The Work We Share’ gathers a number of films that previously existed in precarious conditions, in some cases, with negatives being lost or distribution film prints being the only copy. Produced between 1972 and 1994, the films address oppositional histories and questions of difference through the lenses of gender, race, sexuality, health, and community. ‘The Work We Share’ intends to acknowledge Cinenova’s interdependency: from organisation to filmmakers, cultural workers, communities, and individuals. How can we acknowledge our interdependent relationships? How can we recognize our place in a network of communications, relationships, and resources, particularly as an un-funded volunteer organisation? What different strains of labour does our work rely on? How do we sustain this work mutually?
Introduction by Moira Salt, 10 minutes
‘A Prayer Before Birth’, Jacqui Duckworth, 1991, 20 minutes
‘Loss of Heat’, Noski Deville, 1994, 20 minutes
Short break with refreshments, 10 minutes
Nat Raha, presentation of response to A Prayer Before Birth, 5 – 10 minutes
In conversation with Nat Raha, Camara Taylor, and Moira Salt, 45 minutes
Total running time: 115 minutes
Free refreshments will be provided.
All works in the programme are captioned.
‘Loss of Heat’: Captions & Sound Description by Collective Text 2022, Camara Taylor & Emilia Beatriz in conversation Noski Deville; BSL Consultant: Bea Webster-Mockett
‘A Prayer Before Birth’: Captions & Sound Description by Collective Text 2023, Camara Taylor & Emilia Beatriz in conversation with Cherry Smyth, BSL Consultant: Bea Webster-Mockett
The introduction and post-screening conversation will be live captioned, and speakers will be using microphones.
Live captioning provided by Andrena McMenemy.
Loss of Heat
Thematic content notes: references to and descriptions of epilepsy and depictions of epileptic seizures throughout. Depiction of a small wound with blood at 13:25 – 13:42.
Sensory notes: flashing imagery at 12:11 for one second, and at 12:59 for one second.
A Prayer Before Birth
Thematic content notes: descriptions and depictions of the physiological and physical affects of multiple sclerosis throughout.
Sensory notes: flashing imagery at 05:04 for 2 seconds, 05:12 for 2 seconds, and 05:25 for 1 second.
Access & Travel Fund
A small access fund is available to support you to attend this event, which you could use to cover the cost of transport to Glasgow Women’s Library, the cost of childcare/babysitters, carers, or support workers for the duration of the evening.
We will pay you £15 per hour for childcare/babysitters, carers, and support workers, and we can cover the costs of local travel. The money will be paid directly into your bank account (alternative arrangements can be made if required).
Masks & Air Purification
We are asking people to wear masks to this event. Glasgow Women’s Library will have masks available if you don’t have one with you. Glasgow Women’s Library also have a large HEPA air purification system which removes 99.97% of pollutants (bacteria, dust, viruses, allergens and more) from the air, with thanks to Smart Air UK for this kind donation.
Glasgow Women’s Library
The screening will take place in the event space on the ground floor of Glasgow Women’s Library, which is wheelchair accessible.
Find out more information about access at Glasgow Women’s Library on their website: https://womenslibrary.org.uk/about-us/accessibility/
Travel to Glasgow Women’s Library
The Library is just around the corner from Bridgeton Cross, serviced by buses and trains. There is a space on the street outside the Library that is reserved for visitors with mobility issues, but there is no carpark at the Library.
Find out how to get to Glasgow Women’s Library on their website: https://womenslibrary.org.uk/about-us/where-to-find-us/
Image description: A dark brown eye with green eyeshadow looks through a shattered crack of reinforced glass. The glass has a green tone, and we can see the textures of the glass surface, the cracks where it has been broken, and the square webbing of metal within the glass.
Noski Deville is a cinematographer and film artist, working across film, music and sound. As Workshop Co-ordinator at the London Filmmakers Co-Op in the 1980s she developed her skills on the JK Optical Printer. Deville has over 25 years experience as a cinematographer, which is well known from her award winning work with internationally acclaimed artists including; Isaac Julien, Steve McQueen, Alia Syed, Daria Martin and Jananne Al-Ani. In 2015 she won the Jules Wright Prize for her cinematography in the field of visual arts. An industry recognised Director of Photography and member of the Guild of British Camera Technicians, Deville is also a committed film educator having headed up the Cinematography Department at UCA, Farnham Film School.
Jacqui Duckworth was an independent filmmaker, born in Warrington in 1948. All of Jacqui’s film and photography work arose from an instinctive and original cleverness rather than a traditional academic approach and she made several searching films before the MS diagnosis in her early 30s prevented her carrying on with her plans for further film projects. These included: An Invitation to Marilyn C, Home Made Melodrama and A Prayer before Birth, the latter shown on Channel 4 as part of a series exploring the relationship between mind and body.
camara taylor is an artist and – - – living in Glasgow. They tend to make still and moving images, texts, events and installations that act as moments of stasis in an enduring unravelling of—
Dr Nat Raha is a poet and activist-scholar, and Lecturer in Fine Art Critical Studies at Glasgow School of Art. Her research focuses on transfeminism, LGBTQ+ genders and sexualities, practices and collectives of care and social reproduction, racial capitalism and decolonization, across poetry, politics, theory, print, art, and hi®stories of liberation movements. Nat is the author of four collections of poetry including of sirens, body & faultlines (Boiler House Press, 2018) and apparitions (nines) (Nightboat Books, forthcoming 2024). Nat’s critical writing has appeared in South Atlantic Quarterly, Queer Print in Europe (Bloomsbury, 2022) and Transgender Marxism (Pluto Press, 2021), Nat co-edited ‘Imagining Queer Europe Then and Now’, Third Text special issue (January 2021), and co-curated Life Support: Forms of Care in Art and Activism exhibition at Glasgow Women’s Library (2021). With Mijke van der Drift, Nat co-edits Radical Transfeminism zine, and is co-authoring Trans Femme Futures: An Abolitionist Ethics for Transfeminist Worlds (Pluto Press, forthcoming 2024).
Moira Salt is a multimedia artist, using film and sound, performance, found objects, printmaking, and installations. Her practice looks at B/black diasporas, particularly women, and their connection to memory, myth, and land. Salt uses geology, fiction and technology to imagine possible futures and their necessary histories, which cast a critical eye on capitalism and environmental consumption. Salt tries to imagine what may have been forgotten and where we (as a global community) might be going. She has been a member of the Cinenova Working Group since 2020.
Fine Art Research (SoFA) at the Glasgow School of Art is an intellectual and creative environment for innovation in contemporary fine-art practices. Drawing on a legacy of the radical imagination and on conceptual practices, it seeks to enact possibilities for art as it meets with heritage, feminist histories, remote landscapes, queer modalities, moving image research, curating, art writing and publishing initiatives. SoFA research is comprised of staff, doctoral students and non-academic researchers engaged in high quality individual and collaborative research. Researchers contribute to an inclusive, non-hierarchical approach to research environment engaging local and international partners.
Cinenova is a volunteer-run charity preserving and distributing the work of feminist film and video makers. It was founded in 1991 following the merger of two feminist film and video distributors, Circles and Cinema of Women, each formed in 1979. Cinenova currently distributes over 300 titles that include artists’ moving image, experimental film, narrative feature films, documentary, and educational videos made from the 1910s to the early 2000s.
Glasgow Women’s Library is the only Accredited Museum in the UK dedicated to women’s lives, histories and achievements, with a lending library, archive collections and innovative programme of public events and learning opportunities. The archive and museum collection is recognised as a Nationally Significant Collection.
Access & Travel Fund
Moving Images Within Precarious Structures is supported by the School of Fine Art (SoFA), Glasgow School of Art, the Scottish Graduate School for Arts & Humanities, and is a partnership between the School of Fine Art, Glasgow School of Art, and LUX Scotland. Episode 1 is co-presented with Cinenova and Glasgow Women’s Library.