This is Called Moving: A Critical Poetics of Film
(University of Alabama Press, 2005)

Writings on film from an award-winning filmmaker and poet.

As the writer, director, producer, and cinematographer of almost all her 30 films, videos, and shorts, Abigail Child has been recognized as a major and influential practitioner of experimental cinema since the early 1970s. Hallmarks of her style are the appropriation and reassembly of found footage and fragments from disparate visual sources, ranging from industrial films and documentaries to home movies, vacation photography, and snippets of old B movies.

The resulting collages and montages are cinematic narratives that have been consistently praised for their beauty and sense of wonder and delight in the purely visual. At the same time, Child's films are noted for their incisive political commentary on issues such as gender and sexuality, class, voyeurism, poverty, and the subversive nature of propaganda.

In the essays of This Is Called Moving, Child draws on her long career as a practicing poet as well as a filmmaker to explore how these two language systems inform and cross-fertilize her work. For Child, poetry and film are both potent means of representation, and by examining the parallels between them—words and frames, lines and shots, stanzas and scenes—she discovers how the two art forms re-construct and re-present social meaning, both private and collective.


Sergei Eisenstein, Dziga Vertov, Andy Warhol, Michael Snow, Hollis Frampton, Len Lye, Luis Buñuel, Edward Curtis, Laura Mulvey, Abel Gance, Ken Jacobs, Warren Sonbert, Peter Kubelka, Martin Arnold, Dan Eisenberg, Sheila Dabney, Bruce Conner, Arthur Lipsett, Mauel De Landa, Vivienne Dick, Henry Hills, Aline Mayer, Mary Lattimore, Nancy Miller, Anita Miles, Hannah Weiner, Nicole Brossard, Larry Eigner, Sally Silvers, Camille Roy, Johanna Drucker, Chris Tish, Jean Day, Michael Amnasen, Madeline Leskin

Read the introduction by Tom Gunning.

Abigail Child is Professor of Film and Animation at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and author of A Motive for Mayhem and Artificial Memory. Tom Gunning is Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago and author of D. W. Griffith and the Origins of American Narrative Film: The Early Years at Biograph.

Book page at Univeristy of Alabama Press website.