Three Films by Vivienne Dick

12 January 2015

Yudowitz Seminar Room, Wolfson Medical Building, University of Glasgow

Vivienne Dick, The Irreducible Difference of the Other, 2013. Courtesy of the artist and LUX.

This selection of films brings together a trio of works that span Vivienne Dick’s work in New York, Ireland and beyond. The artist will be present for a post-screening Q&A with LUX Scotland Director, Mason Leaver-Yap.

Vivienne Dick was born in Donegal in 1950 and studied at University College, Dublin. Between 1977 and 1982 she lived in New York, as part of a group of filmmakers whose affiliation to the music and aesthetic of punk became known as No Wave. Working mainly on Super 8, Dick’s films from this period feature many musicians from the New York punk movement, with performances and music from Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Pat Place, Adele Bertei, and Ikue Mori.

Dick returned to Ireland in 1982 and then to London in 1985, where she was a member of The London Filmmakers Coop for many years and produced a number of films in 16mm, and in video. She lives in Galway, Ireland, where she teaches and continues to make films.

This screening was made possible through the generous support of the University of Glasgow and the Hunterian Art Gallery, with special thanks to Dr Dominic Paterson and Mungo Campbell.


Vivienne Dick, Staten Island, 1978. Super 8 transferred to SD video, 4 min 59 sec.

An androgynous creature (Pat Place) wearing a tacky silver suit emerges from the sea on a rubbish strewn Staten Island beach.

Vivienne Dick, Visibility: Moderate, 1981. Super 8 transferred to SD video, 38 min 32 sec.

Dick’s first film after the New York series takes her back to her native Ireland. Using Super 8 film as a parody of the travelogue’ or home-movie style film, Dick takes a expatriate, tourist look at her homeland. The narrative follows Margaret Ann Irinsky as the American tourist trekking from a Dublin populated by Hare Krishnas and rock music, to the horse-drawn carriages in the west of Ireland and the kissing of the Blarney stone. The quaint perception of Ireland and the Americanization of the native culture are contrasted with interviews from sectarian prisoners and footage of political marches. As in all her work, Dick uses a mixture of veritas shots which capture the essence of the locality and intersperses them with images which have a totally different feel. This method is used to highlight issues in a subtle way wherein the camera takes an active rather than a voyeuristic role.

Vivienne Dick, The Irreducible Difference of the Other, 2013. SD video, 26 min 52 sec.

The Irreducible Difference of the Other questions what it means to be human in a world orientated towards war, terror, and consumption with Franco-Irish actress Olwen Fouéré inhabiting the two personas of Antonin Artaud and Russian poet Anna Akhmatova. Key historical moments are referenced, including opposition to the Iraq war, the Arab Spring and recent anti- austerity protests, proclaiming the desire for a world which is more balanced, and which focuses less on exploitation and destruction. An implicit critique of the male paradigm is embodied by the structure of the film – a richly textured weaving of sound and images – which posits the need for a renewal of relationship on both a personal and global level.