Amy Greenfield

Filmography (partial)

Encounter (l970), 8 minutes

For God While Sleeping (l970), 3 minutes

Transport (l97l), 5.5 minutes

Dirt (l97l), 3 minutes

Element (l973), l2 minutes

Dialogue For Cameraman and Dancer (l974), 25 minutes

Dervish (l974), 20 minutes

Fragments: Mat/Glass (l976), l7 minutes (double screen video)

One-O-One (l976)

Videotape for a Woman and a Man (l978), 30 minutes

4 Solos For 4 Women (l980), l5 minutes

Tides (l982), l2 minutes

Antigone: Rites of Passion (l989), 90 minutes

Corporeal Music (1996), 7 minutes

Light of the Body (l998), l0 minutes (video)

Light of the Body is ten minutes long and is composed of five basic elements: l) a dancer, Francine Breen; 2) a pair of internally illuminated fiber optic lights she holds in her hands; 3) a background screen (physical) and a foreground screen (electronic, constructed in the video editing process); 4) external illumination that pulses and flickers at a rhythmic but changing rate; and 5) a music score by Marilys Ernst. So described this videotape sounds simple, but in combination the parts draw the spectator into a series of questions even as the image of the dancer casts a sensual spell. This linking of questions with eroticism is a continuation of strategies Greenfield has been using since the early l970s. What drives this work, and through whose eyes or perspective do we regard it?

Initially Greenfield has Breen moving in a kind of ecstatic state, reaching and turning in brief bursts of action and stasis, with skip and freeze framing. Because the dancer is nude (except for a metallic band around her hips, of which more in a moment) we can readily see the flex and tension of muscle and tendon as she reaches upward or away. Greenfield almost insists that we see this by her repeated use of freeze frames. But as the videotape progresses our attention moves outward, to the pulses of darkness that flood the screen more and more, and also to the fragments of the dancer's body which appear/vanish in the foreground. The effect of these foreground images is to draw us into the video image, in a sense to share in the consciousness that Breen has of her own body--as if she imagines this is how I raise my arm, or this is how I felt two seconds ago. One breathtaking moment has the crown of Breen's head at the base of the frame, looking like a hill, and a second image of Breen, in long shot and therefore much reduced in size, sweeping her hands (with the fiber optic lights) across the top of her head--and we respond that the gesture is across the surface of her mind.

I have mentioned the bursts of light and darkness that envelop the dancer. When darkness comes--and it comes ever more frequently as the tape nears its conclusion--it is not total darkness. Breen's human presence is always evident because of the trails and smears and swirls of light left by the fiber optics in her hands, and the light that still glows on the silver bracelet that coils around her hips and over her genitals. These three loci of light, bobbing and weaving in the dark are an affirmation of movement, for life, against the oblivion of the dark.--(RH)