Jennifer Higgie

Nine Women Who Use Film
Curated by Jennifer Higgie (2011)

1. Juliette Blightman
2. Jennifer Bornstein
3. Bonnie Camplin
4. Spartacus Chetwynd
5. Beatrice Gibson
6. Frances Stark
7. Imogen Stidworthy
9. Annika Ström
9. Fiona Tan

In the summer of 2010, while lecturing on UbuWeb in London, I met Jennifer Higgie, co-editor of Frieze. Jennifer enthusiastically told me that she had been using Ubu extensively in her teaching. As I frequently do when I hear that someone has been engaging deeply with UbuWeb, I asked her how it could be better. She swiftly replied, "UbuWeb could use more women filmmakers." She's right. Ubu's film & video collection is based on the historical avant-garde, a genre overwhelmingly male. With the exception of a Marie Menken or Maya Deren -- and then later a Carolee Schneemann or Yvonne Rainer -- it isn't until the 1980s that women filmmakers' numbers increase, and even then, it's far from the norm.

With this history in mind, I asked Jennifer if she could curate a show on UbuWeb that would help in some small way rectify this situation. She agreed and proposed a "show" that would consist of her contacting ten women filmmakers of varying ages and nationalities, and requesting their presence on UbuWeb. Her gesture -- far from a one-shot exhibition -- is much more incisive and long-lasting. By including ten more women on the site, she's permanently altering the Ubu landscape.

Some might say, why only ten? Why not one hundred and ten? Higgie's show is a provocation to Ubu's curatorial agenda, one that demands the inclusion of more women on the site as an ongoing permanent condition. And it's practical. Due to the nimble and scalable nature of Ubu, ten quickly can become one hundred and ten. Higgie's gesture also points toward the increasing numbers of artists who desire their work to appear on Ubu, fully permissioned, yet engaged in the open and radical distribution system that is the hallmark of UbuWeb. These women are represented by galleries and show their works in museums, cinemas and festivals around the world. By placing their works on Ubu, far from threatening their status in such prestigious and unique venues, their films enter a parallel forward-looking distributive ecosystem, one that is increasingly necessary in the multi-dimensional art world(s) we live in.

Kenneth Goldsmith
May 2011
New York City