trey burns sweet pass sculpture park
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Terra Femme
Courtney Stephens

April 27 - July 13, 2024

In Terra Femme (2021), filmmaker Courtney Stephens delves into the travelogues of female travel-filmmakers from the early to mid-20th century. Through her eloquently narrated montage over a spare and pulsing score, Stephens reclaims the voices of these amateur filmmakers while presenting us with something more. In her search for what, she muses, might provide "evidence of the female gaze," she embarks on a layered exploration of what the narrative of travel offered to women in a rapidly globalizing world. Stephens insightfully notes, “Archives reflect not only what people did and what they saved, but what it meant to cross the threshold.”

Stephens performed a live narration of Terra Femme at Sweet Pass, coinciding with the opening of Anika Todd's site-responsive work Dark Study. Subsequently, the work was installed as a loop in the black box of SP2.

trey burns sweet pass sculpture park

Courtney Stephens is a writer/director of non-fiction and experimental films. The American Sector, her documentary (co-directed with Pacho Velez) about fragments of the Berlin Wall transplanted to the U.S., was named one of the best films of 2021 in The New Yorker. Her essay film, Terra Femme, comprised of amateur travel footage shot by women in the early 20th century, was a New York Times critic's pick and premiered at the Museum of Modern Art. It has toured widely as a live performance. Her films have been exhibited at The National Gallery of Art, The Barbican, BOZAR, the Thailand Biennale, Pacific Film Archives, Walker Art Center, The Royal Geographical Society, and in film festivals including the Berlinale, Viennale, IDFA, Hong Kong, SXSW, and the New York Film Festival. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholarship, fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, and the Wexner Center, and grants from California Humanities, the Sloan Foundation, and the Foundation for Contemporary Art.

In addition to co-curating the miniature cinema Veggie Cloud since 2014, she has organized film screenings for The Getty, Flaherty NYC, Human Resources, and Museum of the Moving Image. Her writing has appeared in BOMB, Film Comment, Cabinet, Filmmaker, and The New Inquiry.

trey burns sweet pass sculpture park