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film

Michel Auder

I FIRST ENCOUNTERED Michel Auder’s video work in the early 1980s. The tape that left an indelible impression depicted Auder’s daughter Alexandra at age five or thereabouts watching a video of her own birth. Auder was not the first artist to record moving images of his wife giving birth; that honor almost certainly goes to Stan Brakhage. Unlike Brakhage, however, Auder did not set out to make the home movie into a high-art form. He did not mull for months, as Brakhage did, over the problem of “aesthetic distance” and whether it would evaporate if he showed explicit images of the birth process. (It was specifically the image of the afterbirth in Window Water Baby Moving [1959] that troubled Brakhage.) Auder simply found the most informative angles for his video camera—one shot was indeed of the placenta being expelled. Another was a head-on view between the bent legs of his wife Viva,

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