Five2Watch: Feminist Video

In response to our digital residents Kim Coleman and Jenny Hogarth we've selected five artists who have made feminist video works: Laura O'Connor, melissandre varin, Sara Brannan, Dawn Woolley and Saskia Takens-Milne.

Women Looking Out, 2012 - 2013

Laura O'Connor

Large scale installation of women posing in statuesque manner for a duration of time.


of flour and Earth, 2020

melissandre varin

mothering in the midst of a pandemic is to me as Saidiya Hartman said elsewhere attached to waywardness it is ‘a queer resource of black survival. It is a beautiful experiment in how-to-live’ (Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, Saidiya Hartman). This performance - assemblage of bodies in motion called for collective authorships. But not as in melissandre varin and Eole but as melissandre for/with Eole. The collaboration, the co-living experience pushed my limited understanding of what it meant or felt like to work from home or stay at home into an inquiry of : how to be from/at home.

of flour and Earth ? explores the queer use of domestic materials as performative tools to facilitate counter-hegemonic ways to hold conversations touching upon race, gender, and collective care with a little one. of flour and Earth 1/3 interrogates white maintenance arts in relation to unregulated and fluid Black intimacy and parenting.

Sticky whiteness, sticky flour that never really clears out.

In silence this piece echoes the labour of Black beings in my lineage holding space to think critically about childcare, domestic work, and activism. Behind closed doors - one of the multiple battlegrounds in which decolonising work ought to be re-invested with love and multi-textured feelings.

i argue that actively looking for ways to hold difficult intergenerational conversations at home and beyond is an essential work right now. With this account of home working with a baby, i am attempting to shift, to re-member, and redirect artistic and academic activism to my immediate communities as an expansive and healing gesture towards archiving and imagining beyond white scripts. And as i open up space to imagine i take up space to be - in space.

‘It is not easy to name our pain, to theorize from that location.’ (bell hooks : Teaching to transgress)


Sarah, 2013

Sara Brannan

In this work Sarah, takes works with with the lead female character from two more recent films Terminator & Terminator 2. The above process of re-editing has been repeated (but allowing the soundtrack to remain), and the videos are placed alongside one another and played simultaneously. This creates a dialogue between the two versions of the same character: a past and a present. The dialogue between them is serendipitous & uncanny. She communicates to herself over time, looking back on herself and into the future.

This is what feminism means to me, to be engaged in a dialogue between the past, present & future me. This leads me to question my role as a woman, mother, daughter, and artist. In my work film is used as a metaphor for the external forces (usually often derogatory), which define our gender and our behaviour.


Interloper, 2008

Dawn Woolley

My work is increasingly concerned with the experience of the viewer and I attempt to define a direct relationship between the cut-out and the person looking at it. Using digital video or photography I create the illusion of a domestic scene in which my cut-out becomes a substitute for me. Rather than depicting an encounter between a man and a cut-out woman, I have attempted to create a direct relationship between the cut-out and the spectator. The overtly sexual nature of the body compels the viewer into the position of voyeur, only to reveal itself as an inanimate object. I aim to prolong the suspension of disbelief so the disjuncture between the presence and absence of the body is more pronounced. By creating photographs that are ambiguous I hope to further explore the relationship the photographic image has to the animate object. By making cut-outs that appear lifeless I attempt to integrate them seamlessly into the real world that surrounds them and play on the notion of the animated photographic subject.


Untitled, 2011

Saskia Takens-Milne

Video montage. Footage from Vertigo, Hitchcock (1958) © Universal Studios 


Published 26 February 2021