TESSA HUGHES-FREELAND is a filmmaker, curator, and writer— a crucial downtown denizen by way of England, a scintillating vestige from the heady days of Danceteria and Club 57, and still one of the best we’ve got. Landing in the city in 1980 and beginning her film work with a super-8 camera gifted from David Wojnarowicz, her work spans four decades, tracing a unique arc that rubs elbows with many of the canonical figures and movements of NYC underground film culture. No Wave Cinema turns to Cinema of Transgression; expanded cinema bleeds into ‘multimedia’; the East Village descends and the underground breaks—Hughes-Freeland was there, camera in hand. Shifting in style and sensibility, ranging from 8mm scuzz to experimental documentary to elegiac film-portrait, her work in aggregate is difficult to summarize, better seen than described. Certain themes run through—sexuality, voyeurism, ritual, dream, and decay.
Spectacle is honored to host Tessa for two evenings in September screening and discussing her work. This series looks ahead to her solo exhibition at Howl! Happening titled Tessa Hughes-Freeland: Passed and Present, featuring multiple projections, an “interactive kaleidoscope,” sculptural fans, and the debut of her forthcoming, recently completed LOST MOVIE/THE BUG.