Maya Deren: A Study in Choreography for Camera

No, it’s not Harkness related . . . but I thought you’d be interested anyway

[the following video and writing are from]

Maya Deren (1917-1961 and born Eleanora Derenkowsky) was an American avant-garde filmmaker and film theorist of the 1940s and 1950s; she was also a choreographer, dancer, poet, writer and photographer.

Deren wrote articles and books, made avant-garde films, conducted “lecture study demonstrations”, received a Guggenheim fellowship (1947) for creative work in motion pictures, and created a scholarship for experimental filmmakers, the Creative Film Foundation. These efforts established her as an important voice in postwar avant-garde film.

In the early 1940s, Deren used some of the inheritance from her father to purchase a used 16 mm Bolex camera. She used this camera to make her first and best-known film, Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), which is recognized as a seminal piece.

In A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945), Deren articulates the potential for transcendence through dance and ritual, in this exquisite black and white composition.

In 1943, she adopted the name Maya Deren. Maya is the name of the mother of the historical Buddha as well as the dharmic concept of the illusory nature of reality. In Greek myth, Maia is the mother of Hermes and a goddess of mountains and fields.”


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