About

The subject(s) of my films are women through my own self-inscription into texts and narratives about female characters, experience and as subjects. The predominant feeling is of loss, longing and sadness. The subjective voice and narrative combines with the moving image as a means of enabling a feminine perspective.

An ‘intense subject’ is at the centre, experimental film as a form of authorship to overcome absence and ostracism through presence – as ‘woman’.  

A font of energy is expressed in vocalisation and spoken narration through the woman as text through which she mediates herself in the act of inscription where the ‘feminine’ intersects with or breaks out of, the institutional.  In the films of the 90s, archetypes and real women – saints and mystics are empowering texts and figures – the Virgin, the visionaries, Chapter 18 of Ulysses, St Teresa of Avila that are adopted in an inscriptive process to transport the viewer. These figures become inscribed in scripts and film soundtracks.  Her work searches for the possibility of speaking through inscriptive practice and for communicating emotion through the trope of the subject – within the visual rigour of  experimental film language.  She developed a style of camera movement and fast editing in the films of the 90s which are  released by LUX in the DVD Rupture/Rapture/Jouissance – The Religious Trilogy 1990-1997 and which mix religious iconography with psychoanalysis, experimental film and vocals.

The absence of the subjective in the legacy of structural film is negotiated through Peter Gidal’s structural/materialist concept of the ontology of film within the ethos of the London Filmmakers’ Co-operative – where she was based 1981-1987 making 16mm films – and still does. Non-film theory is adopted also to do this – Julia Kristeva’s writing and psychoanalysis, writings which deconstruct the gaze, feminist literary theory and critical writing mediated through the intersection of L’ecriture feminine (broadly incorporative of different psychoanalytic approaches to creative production and the ‘feminine’), a Catholic understanding of the image and the trope of religious ecstasy, to produce a form of heightened filmic experience which is a territory that she conceived in the films of the 90s and introduced into experimental film.

Her films engage with the female voice in soundtracks with singers and experimental vocalists combined with her own speaking voice to reach the expressive potential of each film.   The original film soundtrack to “Now I am yours” (1993) is performed by American vocalist Shelley Hirsch and is released on the CD States and the soundtrack to her feature film Temenos (1997) BFI is performed by Tuvan singer Sainkho Namtchylak with other parts by Shelly Hirsch and English soprano Catherine Bott and is released on CD by Leo Records. Her method in experimental filmmaking developed her concept of materiality as a form of close working and of pressure on the image. Filming continues a jouissance-based/seeking self inscription as a form of visibility.

Since 2010, for the important show From Floor to Sky (2010) when she made a film installation, she has shown her films and audio in installations in historic, industrial and religious buildings.

The 2010-2016 group of film portraits have a religious theme:  Communion (2010) a black and white 35mm film of her daughter as a young girl, photographed by Oscar winning cinematographer Billy Williams BSC,  Jennifer (2015), a feature-length documentary of a childhood acquaintance who became an enclosed Carmelite nun and resides with the Carmelites in Ronda, Spain and Sorelle Povere di Santa Chiara (2015-16) which includes a 16mm film, video interviews, audio and artists’ publication of the ten-woman community of enclosed contemplative Franciscan nuns in their monastery in San Marino – who were gracious in accepting her presence to record their life. These studies were all made using observational and realist forms.

Una Vaga Zona Geográfica/ A Vague Geographic Zone is an ongoing series of mixed media works on audio, video and writing which includes Terrace (2012), Gibraltar-Genoa (2013), Apparitions (2013, 2017, 2018), Meteorologies (2013, 2019) and  “..and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens” Mousse Publishing (2013). These ongoing works share photographs, readings from novels, extracts from films and songs in a Mediterranean climate to map an ephemeral place of loss – a personal geography and a small region around Gibraltar and the Straits.

Her films are in the collection of the British Film Institute National Film Archive.Visionary Landscapes is an illustrated monograph by Black Dog Publishing (2005).

In 2017 she completed a PhD by publication Experimental Film: Catholic and Feminist Readings of my films 2010-2016.

Writing is part of her work; she was a member of the editorial collective of the journal Undercut (1982-1988) and co-Editor of the Undercut Reader (2002).  The magazine was based at the London Filmmakers’ Co-op and had a central role in experimental film culture throughout the 80s. It especially published artists’ pieces and critical writing. Her current research is in Women Experimental Filmmakers at the London Filmmakers’ Co-op in the 80s.    She convened the roundtable discussion Women of the London Filmmaker’s Co-op  (MIRAJ Vol 4 1+2) 2016.

Her new film, I Die of Sadness Crying for You (2019) is a personal essay film on ‘copla’ a form of Spanish song about the profound sorrow of ‘woman’ and women’s experiences of ostracism and unrequited love.

Nina Danino lives and works in London. She is Reader in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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Filming First Memory, Royal College of Art, 1981