She Writes Video Moment #4: At Land
Written by
Kathleen Sweeney
October 2011
Written by
Kathleen Sweeney
October 2011

When I first saw Meshes of the Afternoon by Maya Deren, it was as if a window flew open in all the houses I ever inhabited. Yes, that kind of weather event.

Visually, Maya Deren broke open the rules on experimental narrative. The links between images create unexpected sentences of allusion and visual epiphany. So what does this mean for writers? A whole host of possibilities for poetics, for dance moves, for wild juxtapositions. And inspiration, oh yes.

Here is a still from my favorite Deren film, At Land.

While often linked to Surrealism, Deren's films surpassed the shock jockage of film like Luis Bunuel's Un Chien Andalou to create new vocabularies of trans-narrative exploration. She leaped out of the assigned art-code box to create film sequences that have been referenced since, but never fully replicated in impact.

That she tapped film to explore movement, time lapse and poetics is a given. That her work, even in still frame continues to stun creative artists everywhere is testament to her singular vision, which still resonates.

(Oh, and p.s. she was the first artist to receive a Guggenheim for the art of film...)

--Kathleen Sweeney is a web content producer (, and author (Maiden USA) who teaches Media Studies and Creativity at The New School for Public Engagement. A Preferred Provider of video services for SheWriters, she recently produced the book trailer for SheWriter Catherine Greenman's debut novel, Hooked.


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