Erika Balsom

Erika Balsom is Reader in Film Studies at King's College London and the author of four books, including TEN SKIES and After Uniqueness: A History of Film and Video Art in Circulation. She is coeditor of Documentary Across Disciplines (HKW/MIT Press).

  • Feminist Worldmaking and the Moving Image

    Erika Balsom and Hila Peleg

    Intersectional, intergenerational, and international perspectives on nonfiction filmmaking by women, generously illustrated, with film stills and other images.

    This book offers intersectional, intergenerational, and international perspectives on nonfiction film- and videomaking by and about women, examining practices that range from activist documentaries to avant-garde experiments. Concentrating primarily on the period between the 1970s and 1990s, the contributions revisit major figures, contexts, and debates across a polycentric, global geography. They explore how the moving image has been a crucial terrain of feminist struggle—a way of not only picturing the world but remaking it.

    The contributors consider key decolonial filmmakers, including Trinh T. Minh-ha and Sarah Maldoror; explore collectively produced films with ties to women's liberation movements in different countries; and investigate the cinematic expressions of tensions and alliances between feminism and anti-imperialist struggles. They grapple with the need for a broader more inclusive definition of the term “feminism”; meditate on the figure of the grandmother; reflect on realist aesthetics; and ask what a feminist film historiography might look like.

    The book, generously illustrated with film stills and other images, many in color, offers ten original texts, two conversations, and eight short essays composed in response to historical texts written by filmmakers. The historical texts, half of which are published in English for the first time, appear alongside the essays.

    Copublished with the Haus der Kulteren der Welt (HKW), Berlin

    Contributors

    Helena Amiradżibi, Madeleine Bernstorff, Teresa Castro, Counter Encounters (Laura Huertas Millán, Onyeka Igwe, Rachael Rakes), Forough Farrokhzad, Safi Faye, Devika Girish, Elena Gorfinkel, Haneda Sumiko, Shai Heredia, Juliet Jacques, Sarah Keller, Nzingha Kendall, Julia Lesage, Beatrice Loayza, Janaína Oliveira, Lakshmi Padmanabhan, Yasmina Price, Elizabeth Ramírez-Soto, Pooja Rangan, Lis Rhodes, Sara Saljoughi, Rasha Salti, Isabel Seguí, Chick Strand, Monika Talarczyk, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Françoise Vergès, Claudia von Alemann, Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano, Shilyh Warren, Giovanna Zapperi

    • Paperback $39.95
  • Documentary Across Disciplines

    Documentary Across Disciplines

    Erika Balsom and Hila Peleg

    Artists, filmmakers, art historians, poets, literary critics, anthropologists, theorists, and others, investigate one of the most vital areas of cultural practice: documentary.

    Contemporary engagements with documentary are multifaceted and complex, reaching across disciplines to explore the intersections of politics and aesthetics, representation and reality, truth and illusion. Discarding the old notions of “fly on the wall” immediacy or quasi-scientific aspirations to objectivity, critics now understand documentary not as the neutral picturing of reality but as a way of coming to terms with reality through images and narrative. This book collects writings by artists, filmmakers, art historians, poets, literary critics, anthropologists, theorists, and others, to investigate one of the most vital areas of cultural practice: documentary. Their investigations take many forms—essays, personal memoirs, interviews, poetry.

    Contemporary art turned away from the medium and toward the world, using photography and the moving image to take up global perspectives. Documentary filmmakers, meanwhile, began to work in the gallery context. The contributors consider the hybridization of art and film, and the “documentary turn” of contemporary art. They discuss digital technology and the “crisis of faith” caused by manipulation and generation of images, and the fading of the progressive social mandate that has historically characterized documentary. They consider invisible data and visible evidence; problems of archiving; and surveillance and biometric control, forms of documentation that call for “informatic opacity” as a means of evasion.

    ContributorsAriella Azoulay, Zach Blas, Christa Blümlinger, Stella Bruzzi, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Kris Fallon, Evgenia Giannouri, Ben Lerner, SylveÌre Lotringer, Antonia Majaca, Sohrab Mohebbi, Volker Pantenburg, Veìreìna Paravel, Christopher Pinney, Ben Rivers, and Eyal Sivan

    Copublished with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin

    • Paperback $24.95

Contributor

  • Leslie Thornton

    Leslie Thornton

    Natalie Bell, Dan Kidner, and Milan Ther

    The first monograph on important artist and filmmaker Leslie Thornton offers essential, foundational scholarship on her influential work.

    Produced on the occasion of Leslie Thornton's major solo exhibition at the MIT List Visual Arts Center as well as a recent solo exhibition at Kunstverein Nurnberg, this richly illustrated volume is the first monograph on this important artist and filmmaker, offering essential, foundational scholarship on Thornton's influential work in film and video.

    Thornton's early encounters with experimental, structuralist, and cinéma vérité traditions fueled her iconoclastic take on the moving image and gave shape to her practice of weaving together her own footage and voice with archival film and audio. In part through her forceful and dynamic use of sound, Thornton exposes the limits of language and vision in her works, while acknowledging the ways that language and vision nevertheless remain central to scientific discourse and narrative in general. Her work consistently interrogates modes of representation and the violence of looking, pushing beyond critiques of the gaze to consider biases in perception, or the way voice and sound can undermine an otherwise dominant visual narrative.

    • Paperback $35.00
  • Deux Soeurs

    Deux Soeurs

    Beatrice Gibson and Axel Wieder

    A reader on artist Beatrice Gibson's films that explores representations of parenthood, friendship, and disobedience.

    Deux Soeurs brings together a chorus of voices--from Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich to Basma Alsharif and Pauline Oliveros--that explore representations of parenthood, friendship, and disobedience. The book acts as a reader on artist Beatrice Gibson's films, I Hope I'm Loud When I'm Dead (2018) and Two Sisters Who Are Not Sisters (2019), and includes material that had informed Gibson's working process, together with the artist's texts and notes used in both films. Turning to the figure of the poet as a guide in times of chaos, Deux Soeurs presents a framework for an ethics of artistic and social collaboration.

    With contributions by Erika Balsom, Mason Leaver-Yap, Irene Revell, Basma Alsharif, Beatrice Gibson, CAConrad, Eileen Myles, Adam Christensen; texts by Alice Notley, Eileen Myles, Robert Sanchez, Robert Glück, Ursula K. Le Guin, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Pauline Oliveros, and an interview by Adrienne Rich with Audre Lorde

    • Paperback $19.95
  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

    Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary

    The Commissions Book

    Daniela Zyman and Eva Ebersberger

    A massive anthology of texts, visual material, and research on TBA21's commissions and the foundation's vast collection of over 700 artworks.

    "What survives after the artwork?" asks curator and researcher Natasha Ginwala in one of the essays in Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary: The Commissions Book, a new and comprehensive publication by the art foundation Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), founded by Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza in Vienna, Austria, in 2002. "The artwork is not just the thing in itself, but also the metaphysical infrastructure and unfinished relationships that produce it," Ginwala writes. In that sense, this anthology of texts, visual material, and research on TBA21's commissions and the foundation's vast collection of over 700 artworks serves as vivid testimony to the processes and relationships that enabled them.

    In more than 1,300 pages, The Commissions Book engages with more than 100 works of art, proposing a speculative topography that organizes and weaves together sequences of potential narratives and interrogations along with close examinations of different works of art and a collective archive of images. The stories embedded in these works, as well as in TBA21 and TBA21-Academy's practice--an itinerant site of transdisciplinary research and cultural production engaging with the oceans--is a story of making new connections, or rather creating interconnections. Bringing together visual and written material from TBA21's commissioning practice and vast history of exhibitions and live events, The Commissions Book also goes beyond the foundation's archives to present new works and commissions by Cecilia Bengolea, Claudia Comte, SUPERFLEX, and Territorial Agency, amongst many others. New essays by Natasha Ginwala's and such transdisciplinary feminist thinkers as Astrida Neimanis and Eva Hayward transcend individual artistic positions and ask questions that lie at the core of TBA21's program.

    • Hardcover $35.95