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Amy Granat

Amy Granat, Circle Jerk (for N.S.), 2006. Installation view, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York. Photo: Amy Granat.

NEW YORK–BASED ARTIST AMY GRANAT makes films but generally dispenses with the camera, producing images by damaging film emulsion through direct manipulation. Or, as she put it in a recent interview, “Whatever kind of assault you can make on film material, I’ve done.” Her first such attacks were carried out when she was studying for her BA at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, in the late ’90s; working in total darkness, she would dump a spool of 16-mm stock into a bathtub full of (highly toxic) chemicals, then mash and grind the film against itself. Around the start of the current decade, Granat developed a somewhat more controlled and less hazardous process that involves manually scratching the film (always 16 mm), using razors, hole punches, and other tools.

Watching one of these manual “scratch films” wending its way through a projector, you can see a certain pattern

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