Jamming the machine: the personal-political in Annabel Nicolson’s Reel Time
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This chapter concerns a performance of cinema that was presented on only a handful of occasions at a few London venues, such as the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) and the London Film-Makers’ Co-op cinema space, which was located at that time in a former Victorian dairy, during the early 1970s. Entitled Reel Time by the young woman who created it, this artwork is ephemeral, only existing for the duration of the few minutes of its live performance. There is no record of these events beyond some brief, written accounts of audience members and the artist herself, and a few black and white documentary photographs. Yet this ‘projection performance’ resonates almost forty years later with a nuanced complexity that is breathtaking, seen from our perspective here in the twenty first century: for its thinking-through-practice and inscription of the feminine, and for its articulate address of the very real issues faced by women at that time, and in the years following.
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