[January 31 2017]
In a letter to friends, artist and filmmaker Miranda July discloses that she will be donating her vast archive of Joanie 4 Jackie, a large, feminist collection of short movies and video art to the Getty Research Institute. Joanie for Jackie (originally called Big Miss Moviola) was a feminist video chain letter series begun by Miranda July in 1995 in the midst of a thriving Riot Grrrl scene in Portland, as a way of instigating and distributing video work, especially for younger or underrepresented female artists. Frustrated with the irrelevance of mainstream and even independent movies to the lives of women, July wondered if moviemaking could be reconceived as something intimate and easy – a medium for dialogue between women, like music and fanzines had recently become.
Read Miranda’s letter here —
This is a difficult time to send a group email about anything but our current, crucial resistance. Rather than distract from that fight, I hope that this email will give energy to it.
When I was twenty-one I started an underground network for women and girls making movies. For more than ten years women sent their movies to Joanie 4 Jackie (aka Big Miss Moviola) and received a “Chainletter” tape in return — their movie compiled with nine others. In a pre-YouTube world, this was one way we could see each other’s work and know we weren’t alone. I also toured the country screening the movies and meeting audiences of challenging, brilliant women. It is not an overstatement to say that everything I have ever made has been with these artists and audiences in mind. We granted each other a powerful space that I have kept my heart in and built upon, often in the face insidious, dispiriting mysogyny.
Today The Getty Research Institute announced the acquisition of the complete Joanie 4 Jackie archives. Twenty-seven boxes of tapes, posters, letters, embarrassing notes, to do lists, and grandiose plans that will be made available to researchers and preserved for all time in a feminist and queer context, alongside the archives of artists such as Yvonne Rainer, Robert Mapplethorpe and Carolee Schneemann. I am tremendously grateful to Glenn Phillips (curator and head of modern & contemporary collections at The Getty Research Institute) for his understanding and conservation of radical American histories.
I am also excited to announce that joanie4jackie.com launched this morning — this site guides you through the materials and the story of the project. I made it with Yuri Ono, Matt Wright, Astria Suparak, Vanessa Haroutunian, Jaqueline Goss and the students of the Joanie 4 Jackie Tutorial at Bard College. A labor of love; it took us seven years.
Below is the press release from The Getty Research Institute and today’s NYT feature on project; thank you for sharing the news as you see fit.
all my best,
Find out more at joanie4jackie.com
Photo of Miranda July, pictured in 1996 in her Portland apartment, by Heide Foley