Bill Domonkos

Poppy
Digital video
2009

Artists' Television Access

Artists' Television Access
992 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
June 8, 2010
7pm

Video Program:

Elliot Anderson, Unsanitized
Sarolta Jane Cump, California is an Island
Bill Domonkos, Poppy
Bug Davidson, Screen Tests
Dino Dinco, El Abuelo
Mitch Gould, This Beginning of Me
Bill Hsu, Glories, performance trailer
Charissa King-O'brien, Riva and Allison
Peter Max Lawrence, Queer in Kansas
B. Steady and the Lost Bois, Reading Rainbow
ZA Martonhardjono, Five Haikus for the New York City Subway
Jules Shendelman, Bathhouse Poetics

Work in Exhibition:

Poppy
Digital video
2009
(Video screening at ATA and on video loop at SOMArts)

LINEAGE Project Artist

"One by one I have been matchmaking people with the archives of those who have died, asking each to invent a response." - E.G. Crichton, LINEAGE curator.

Bill Domonkos is an award winning experimental filmmaker and media artist. His work has been broadcast and exhibited internationally in cinemas, film festivals, galleries and museums. "The Poppy" is a short experimental film by Bill Domonkos inspired by the poetry of Eleanor Sugg. Using a combination of manipulated archive film footage, digital animation and special effects, the film evokes an inner landscape of poetic juxtapositions, exploring themes of identity, isolation, longing and alienation.

Helen Harder (a.k.a. Eleanor Sugg) was born in 1918. She was a flight instructor in the Woman's Army Air Corps during World War II. After the war, she became a single mother with a son, working at a variety of jobs. She wrote poetry and sought answers through astrology and a variety of spiritual approaches.

"My experience with the archive was initially very unsettling. I felt as if I had stepped into a stranger's house and started rummaging through their drawers. I was immediately attracted to all the deeply personal poetry Helen (Eleanor Sugg) wrote. Some of the titles were "Melancholia," "The Poppy," "Gloom," "Mediation of a Lonely Heart," "Soliloquy of Despair," "Invocation to Death," and "Madness"- to name a few. As someone attracted to the darker side of human nature, I found Helen's personal, uncompromising poetic voice captivating." - Bill Domonkos

When E.G. matched Bill with Helen Harder (1918-1984), he was struck by the coincidence that his favorite movie, the Russian film "Wings," is about a woman who - like Helen Harder - was a pilot in WWII and a single mother. Bill tuned into the rather dark poetry Helen wrote after the war under her real name "Eleanor Sugg," especially one poem titled "The Poppy" that is framed beneath the monitor. His film combines footage from an educational film titled "Who's Right (1954)" from the Prelinger Archives. Bill says "The name of the actress is unknown, as are most of the faces you see in these public domain archive films. I love that aspect about using public domain archive footage...the celebrity aspect is so not the point...the actors are mostly nameless celluloid ghosts from the past." Helen Harder's son, Arion Stone who was at the opening reception of this exhibition (Lineage 1), loved Bill's film.