Witch’s Cradle (1943) by Maya Deren

Video (11:54): Witch’s Cradle (1943) by Maya Deren (1917-1961) is an experimental short film, written and directed by Maya Deren with Marcel Duchamp. This version of the short film has a soundtrack, though Maya Deren wanted her films to be silent.

Shot in the rooms of Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century in Manhattan in 1943, the film is inspired by Duchamp’s installation “Sixteen Miles of String”, prepared for the installation of the “First Papers of Surrealism”, a surrealist exhibition of 1942 held in New York and comprised of sixteen miles of rope. The film, Witch’s Cradle, was never completed and the images of the shot were later recovered and edited by the Anthology Film Archives after the director’s death, so we will never know what Deren actually intended to achieve.

Biennale Arte 2022 in Venice Italy has named a surealist art artshow at the art festival, the ‘Witch’s Cradle‘, after Maya Deren’s film. This big historic artshow include works works by the following surealist artists who were ‘queer’ or ‘gender fluid’: Maya Deren, Claude Cahun, Leonora Carrington, Leonor Fini, Florence Henri and others.

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