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Cecilia Dougherty: Coal Miner's Granddaughter

Microscope Gallery Event Series

Apr 2012

Original Post

Posted on:
March 11, 2016
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Friday March 18, 7:30pm

Microscope is thrilled to present a screening of New York based artist Cecilia Dougherty’s 1991 Pixelvision feature “Coal Miner’s Granddaughter”.

Shot mostly on a Fisher Price PXL2000 camera and premiered in 1991 at MIX Festival in New York, Coal Miner’s Granddaughter is a partly autobiographical story of Jane Dobson, a young working class woman coming out queer to her family in Lancaster, PA – the artist’s town of birth – in the 1970s. Dougherty’s hand-held camera floats around home interiors to frame each of the family members as they move in and out of their stereotyped roles, shifting from script recital to improvisation to the revealing awareness of the camera. Are these roles to be played in a movie or in real life?

“When I made this video, I was just out of grad school and found myself with a story line but with no equipment. A friend suggested we buy a Fisher Price Pixel 2000 toy camera together, so we each pitched in a tiny amount of cash and the camera was ours. I got the cast together and shot this piece chiefly using the pixel camcorder. I borrowed someone’s Canon Hi-8 as well for a few scenes in color.

Besides the inspiration that the beautiful pixel image provided, I was a little pre-occupied with cinema verité and was inspired by verité techniques. I approached Coal Miner’s Granddaughter with a borrowed documentary sensibility and a naïve idea about what I might be accomplishing. We worked from a plot outline and my direction was to tell the players what each scene was about and then to record it unrehearsed. I did not interfere with the cast’s decisions about how to play their characters, but rather watched and recorded as the scenes unfolded. So, with mostly improvised dialogue, each day’s shooting amounted to something close to psychodrama.” – Cecilia Dougherty

Cecilia Dougherty will be in attendance and available for a Q&A immediately following the screening.

$7 general admission
$5 students with ID

Coal Miner’s Granddaughter
by Cecilia Dougherty, Pixelvision and Hi-8 video, 1991, 80 minutes
Starring Leslie Singer, Didi Dunphy, Kevin Killian, Glen Helfand, Amanda Hendricks, Clancy Cavnar, Ramon Charruca, Valerie Soe, and Claire Trepanier
Music by the She Devils, and by Mermaid Tattoo

Cecilia Dougherty is an artist working in video and photography based in New York. She has been making experimental videos since 1985, and her themes have been largely about psychology, language, sexuality, outsider interpretations of popular culture, and everyday life. Her videos have screened extensively in the US and abroad, most recently in 2015 in “Art of the Real” at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, NY, “History of Sexuality” at the New Museum, NY, and “Time/Image” at the Blaffer Art Museum, Houston. Other venues presenting her work in previous years include the New York Film Festival, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Light Industry, Anthology Film Archives, Irish Film Center, Dublin, the Wexner Center, Columbus, Ohio, and many others. Dougherty’s work in moving image extends to animations for iPod and multi-channel video installations.

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