1. Throughout this essay I will use the term experimental or avant-garde interchangeably. I am familiar with all the arguments regarding these terms and that some would prefer to call it underground, personal, art cinema or other terms. I myself prefer the term artisanal—meaning one who practices skilled labor in the arts—but will persist in using the most commonly understood terms despite their inadequacy. [return to page 1 of essay]

2. The term art world is drawn from Howard Becker (1982) whose theory of art worlds begins with the assumption that the production of an art work is the result of not just the artist or artists, but of the cooperation of a network of individuals, from those who produce the materials that the artist uses, to the artist(s) themselves, to those who show the work or buy it, and everyone in between. Becker considers art or art works to be the result of collective activity, not only in its creation/production/distribution but also in its reception/consumption. Thus an art world is “the network of people whose cooperative activity, organized via their joint knowledge of conventional means of doing things, produces the kind of art works that an art world is noted for” (Becker 1982: x).

3. The MadCat Women’s International film festival ran for 13 years out of Ariella Ben-Dov’s very small San Francisco Apartment hosting screenings at the El Rio outdoor cinema. The last festival in San Francisco was held in September of 2009 although rumors of a travelling festival of the same name have been circulating. Currently Ms. Ben-Dov resides in New York City and is programming the Margaret Mead Film Festival. [return to page 2 of essay]

4. In the intervening years more established experimental filmmakers have gone to gallery presentation of their work in some cases making specific objects to sell. For example, Jonas Mekas has been working with the Maya Stendahal gallery for many years producing limited edition objects (such as an iPod with his films on it) for them to sell.

5. Although I concur with MacDonald that Lockhardt’s films are works of art and should be valued on par with her photography, the mechanism for valuation being strictly financial places the film work outside the community of practice of experimental film because the work is held apart from the regular routes of circulation and distribution of avant-garde work in order to keep it scarce and save its value.

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