I was initially attracted to research the Arctic explorer (and Marin heiress) Louise Arner Boyd when Lisa [Mezzacappa] sent me a link to a film Boyd shot during one of her expeditions. The existence of archival footage contemporaneous to her voyages in the early 20th century piqued my interest, as did my view of her as a woman who sought control over her own destiny. Having the privilege of making my own research trip to the Norwegian Arctic Region 1987, I was eager to see what Boyd had shot 60 years prior to my own trip. To my delight, the textures of film materials separated by many decades, reverberated with inherent resemblances. Her thousands of feet of film and more than 700 photographs of the Arctic region are garnering increased interest today, as scientists compare the conditions she recorded with ongoing alterations influenced by climate change.
Shut Out the Sun
The digital film was created, in part, with archival film footage that Marin County, California, resident, Louise Boyd shot in the Norwegian Arctic in 1928 —footage I obtained through the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington. Interwoven with Boyd’s 16mm and 35mm footage is super-8mm footage that I shot on a trip I made to the Norwegian Arctic 60 years after Boyd’s .
Shut Out the Sun was originally presented as a component in Lisa Mezzacappa's Glorious Ravage, a song cycle for live improvisational performers between 2015 and 2017 in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.
Music by Lisa Mezzacappa
Archival footage by Louise Arner Boyd provided courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration. Research assistance and access to the Boyd Archive provided by Jocelyn Moss, Museum Librarian at the Marin History Museum