Naomi Uman
Another example of the diffuse influence of Lettrist film can be seen in Naomi Uman's Removed (1999), in which Uman took a dubbed European 1970s porn film and proceeded to erase the figure of the woman, frame by frame, using nail-polish remover and bleach. The writhing white wraith that remains interacts--but never sexually consummates--with a series of leering men, providing a satirical take on tropes of the male gaze and the inability of the female voice (here, reduced to a series of gasps and moans) to be heard. Here, abstraction is put into service of sexy and funny feminist critique, a disfigurement to the point of erasure that denies heteronormative masculine visual pleasure in order to rethink the representation of women in film. Another of Uman's films, Hand Eye Coordination (2002), explicitly references the handmade by demonstrating the creation of the film being shown, showcasing images of hands from found and original footage (cops' hands directing traffic, or hands dialing phones, using a dropper, painting, pushing buttons on a blender, filling out a message pad), the latter including images of a hand being tattooed with the word "hand." Uman also cut out images of hands, stitched them together, and made a photogram of the pattern directly onto the film. These hands dance across the film in jagged movements, left to right and in descending patterns. We also see Uman applying scratches and nail polish to other images of hands. It is possible to see both of these works as chiseled films in the Isouian sense, with their emphasis on materiality and its self-reflexive subject matter. Indeed, the last sustained shot of the film shows Uman's hand patiently scraping away at a piece of 16mm, presumably some of the material we have just watched--handiwork, in the literal and metaphorical sense.

Sample Media:

Removed (1999)