Jan 28 at 7:30 pm

Women in Public: Gone to Earth


322 Union Ave,
Brooklyn, NY 11211

This event is part of 'Women in Public," a multidisciplinary program curated by Kara Oehler, Courtney Stephens and Mathilde Walker-Billaud. This three-event series features a visual lecture, a workshop, and a screening/discussion. 

Screening and live presentation followed by discussion with Jessica Bardsley and Elvia Wilk, moderated by Courtney Stephens and Mathilde Walker-Billaud

"I want to dissolve into sulfide and magnesium" Jessica Bardsley wishes silently, as a stranger enters the hot spring where she bathes naked.  How do female figures walk within, threaten to become landscape? The narrator finds herself absorbed by the plants, animals, and minerals around her: Is this ability to merge with nature a death trap, or a possible future?

In a series of short films and live presentation, real and fictional travelers take risks and cross gender-delineated territories. Through these acts of transgression, and the educational experiences of fear, solitude, and desire, new horizons come into relief, revealing the complex and often rigid relationships between bodies, patriarchy and landscape.

Schedule (subject to change)

Elvia Wilk, Death By Landscape, visual lecture, 25 min

Death by Landscape is the title of a Margaret Atwood story in which a young woman disappears into a forest. She is gone, but there is no evidence she has died; it appears she has become the landscape. Her disappearance is unexplainable and fundamentally weird. The weird, in the words of Mark Fisher, is an “outside space that lies beyond standard perception, cognition, and experience.” This outside might include the world of the nonhuman: plant, animal, mineral, alien. Or it might be a complex system of humans and nonhumans: forest, internet, financial capital, climate. Weird stories are what happens upon encounter with this outside, when the categories we have for describing the planet fall short. Mystical encounters with the divine and the cosmos provide a historical framework for contemporary stories about weird outsides. Like mysticism, such fictions defy genre categorization. In the zone of weird fiction, “death” is not the death of a human or humans, but the death of a kind of story: the kind of story with the human at the center of the world. 

Jessica Bardsley, GoodBye Thelma, film, 16 mm, 13 min

GoodBye Thelma synthesizes footage from the 1991 film Thelma & Louise and footage of the author's own making to create a mysterious, and at times disturbing, auto-fictional exploration of the joys and terrors of traveling as a woman alone.

For more information: https://uniondocs.org/event/2020-01-26-gone-to-earth/


Women in Public: Gone to Earth

Jessica Bardsley is an artist and PhD Candidate in Film and Visual Studies at Harvard University, where she is also a Film Study Center Fellow. Her films have screened across the U.S. and internationally at venues such as CPH:DOX, Visions du Réel, European Media Arts Festival, Kassel Dokfest, RIDM, True/False, and Flaherty NYC. She is the recipient of various awards, including a Princess Grace Award, Grand Prize at 25FPS, the Eileen Maitland Award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and Best Short Film at Punto de Vista. She received an MFA and an MA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Elvia Wilk is a writer and editor living in New York. She often focuses on art that engages emerging technologies, feminist practices, and questions of ecology. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Frieze, Artforum, Bookforum, Granta, n+1, The White Review, BOMB, Mousse, Flash Art, and Art Agenda, and she is currently an editor at e-flux Journal. Her first novel, Oval, was published by Soft Skull press in 2019. She is the recipient of an Andy Warhol Arts Writers Grant and a 2020 fellow at the Berggruen Institute.

Courtney Stephens is a filmmaker and programmer based in Los Angeles. Her non-fiction and experimental films have appeared at NYFF, SXSW, Hong Kong IFF, Dhaka IFF, Mumbai IFF, San Francisco IFF, The Exploratorium, DokuFest, Onion City, Orphans Film Symposium, Crossroads, and elsewhere.  She founded and co-programs the Highland Park microcinema Veggie Cloud, and has curated programs at numerous institutions including the Museum of the Moving Image, the Getty, Flaherty NYC. and has programmed She attended the American Film Institute, has received fellowships to Yaddo and MacDowell Fellow, is the recipient of a Fulbright scholarship to India.  She has lectured and written on subjects related to female travel and material history at the Royal Geographical Society and elsewhere.

Mathilde Walker-Billaud is a curator and cultural producer based in New York City. She worked as an editor, programmer and manager for Centre National de la Danse, company nora chipaumire, Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, UnionDocs, and Villa Gillet (a center for fiction and non-fiction based in Lyon, France). Walker-Billaud programs and hosts at UnionDocs an ongoing interdisciplinary series of events about spectatorship entitled “What You Get Is What You See“. She co-curated the 2019 Fall Flaherty NYC: Surface Knowledge and won the BKH Curator Award 2019. Her writing and voice have appeared in BOMB Magazine and the podcast Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything.


UnionDocs (UNDO) is a non-profit Center for Documentary Art that presents, produces, publishes, and educates.

We bring together a diverse community of activist artists, experimental media-makers, dedicated journalists, big thinkers, and local partners. We are on a search for urgent expressions of the human experience, practical perspectives on the world today, and compelling visions for the future.