"I return again and again to filmmaking because of the resistance that image and sound material have to being contained by a simple logic or an assignment of meaning. Spilling over in excess, the subversive power, beauty and emotional charge of the material always surprises me. When these fluid conditions are activated and the performers are really on, my job is to massage a form out of what has been conjured up. My kind of storytelling, multi-centered and multi-layered, with the drama of all the in-between moments, uses a kind of non-technique as technique and non-narrative's narrative."
While the weight of ordinary activities and the style of the "home movie" fashion Ahwesh's earlier Super 8mm films, more eccentric manifestations, in the form of perversion, abjection, the subcultural and supernatural, are emphasized in the recent work. Mixing styles, formats, low-end and obsolete technologies, and foregrounding the process of inquiry, Ahwesh uses various cameras not to get a "look," but to express and represent a specific way of knowing the world. Her strong, defiant women characters, each in some way a doppelganger, play out their roles in an ongoing survey of the feminine. Apt to damage, even mutilate the film surface with splotches, creases, and flecks, Ahwesh's strategy stands in stark contrast to the sensitivity with which she commits people to film. Edgy and often rude, this work keeps American avant-garde film on boil.
  "It is incredibly liberating to take a film or video camera and do all the things with it that you're not supposed to do. Try shooting out of focus or with the color too blue or overexposing the image. Whatever you can think of which is "wrong." I find this to be a strong key to discovering the boundaries of what the technology can or can't do and, more importantly, it can jump start the process of inventing a personal language for what images can do and mean."

  Born 1954, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Lives in New York City

1978 B.F.A., Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio

1990-present Assistant Professor, Bard College, Annandale, New York

1990-present Film Faculty, Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Bard College

  2000 The Star Eaters
  1998 Nocturne
  1998 The Secret Charts, a collaboration with painter Amy Sillman
  1997 the vision machine
  1997 Discorporation, a web project
  1994 The Color of Love
  1993 Strange Weather, made with Margie Strosser
  1990 The Deadman, made with Keith Sanborn
  1989 Martina's Playhouse
  1985-95 The Fragments Project

  1999 Creative Capital Grant
  1998, 90 Jerome Foundation
  1998, 95 New York State Council on the Arts Film Production Grant
  1996 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship
  1993 New York State Council on the Arts Video Production Grant

  1999 Guggenheim Museum, New York
  1999 Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (residency and retrospective)
  1999 Warhol's Grave, The Balie Theater, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; traveling exhibition
  1998 Retrospectief Peggy Ahwesh, Filmmuseum, Brussels, Belgium
  1998 Big As Life: An American History of 8mm Films, Museum of Modern Art, New York
  1997 Girls Beware!, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; traveling exhibition
  1995, 91 Biennial Exhibition, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
  1994 Pixilvision: The Philosophical Toy, New York Video Festival, New York
  1993 Coming to Power: Xplicit Films by Women, Filmmuseum, Frankfurt, Germany, traveling exhibition
  1990 Cineprobe, Museum of Modern Art, New York