Storm De Hirsch: "Third Eye Butterfly" and other films

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“I don't want to put any labels on my films… I never impose on you; you need to find what you have to find.” – Storm De Hirsch

Microscope Gallery is extremely pleased to present a rare screening of three films by seminal artist Storm de Hirsch, filmmaker, poet, painter, and a co-founder of The Film-maker's Cooperative in New York in 1961. Despite her extensive presence and influence in the avant-garde film scene of New York in the 1960s, De Hirsch's work and history has largely remained obscure, especially since her death in 2000. De Hirsch's pioneering films often involve direct scratching, coloring, etching, painting on film and animation applied to imagery shot in everyday life.

The program opens with De Hirsch’s first film, “Silently, Bearing Totem of a Bird", a rare silent Super 8mm work by the artist and to be shown in its original format. De Hirsch, who was a poet with published collections at the time of its making, explained her shift to visual formats - two of many recently rediscovered paintings by the artist appear in the gallery’s current group exhibit “Off Screen” - as reaching a point where she no longer had any words to accommodate what she wanted to say.

De Hirsch’s 35 minute 16mm film "The Tattooed Man" (1969), the longest piece of the screening, was described by Stan VanDerBeek as "a major work in terms of style, structure, graphic invention, image manipulation and symbolic ritual”. The soundtrack composed by the artist features the beats of a tabla meticulously synchronized to the film's numerous cuts.

"Third Eye Butterfly" is a double 16mm projection piece in which the two screens  – at times divided within into additional “mini-screens” causing textured kaleidoscopic effects - blur to create a third wider frame, encouraging the viewers to extend their vision beyond ordinary sight. Bradley Eros will project this final film of the night following the guidelines left by the artist.

“[Storm de Hirsch's] films are assaults on the viewer in their brilliant use of color, pure light, and sensory imaginations of memory and beauty. […] it seems to me truly amazing that [her] work is so completely ignored in the canon of experimental filmmaking.” - Gwendolyn Audrey Forster

Storm de Hirsch's films were screened during her lifetime at the Museum of Modern Art, the Cannes Film Festival, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, and the Whitney Museum of American Art among others. De Hirsch has several published books of poetry, including "Alleh Lulleh Cockatoo and Other Poems" (Brigant Press, 1955), "Twilight Massacre and Other Poems" (Folder Editions, 1964), "The Shape of Change", and "The Atlantean Poems". She has also received several awards, including the first independent film grant from the American Film Institute for "The Tattooed Man", and the New York Women in Film & Television's Women's Film Preservation Fund in 2000 for "Divinations".  De Hirsch also taught courses at School of Visual Arts and Bard College.


- Silently, Bearing Totem of a Bird (1962)
Super 8mm, color, 6 minutes 30 seconds
The first short film made by de Hirsch, shot on Super 8mm.

- The Tattooed Man (1969)
16mm film, color, sound, 35 minutes
With an original soundtrack by the artist
“Sound is an integral part of de Hirsch's films, and she creates all of her own sounds and aural effects. In The Tattooed Man, we hear a tabla (an Indian percussion instrument) throughout the 35-minute duration of the film, giving it a flowing movement and extremely sensual quality. De Hirsch painstakingly matches the sound with every inch of film (a process she says is a 'pain in the neck'), so that it corresponds to every cut and intershot movement.” – Owen Gleiberman

- Third Eye Butterfly (1968)
Double 16mm projection, color, sound, 10 minutes
Projection by Bradley Eros
“Where is the light coming from? The flavor of the colors are succulent to the long vision in the soul. How can dust cover the arrows of light? How can darkness favor oblivion in the face of light? The variations of soul-touch exist in the auras of illumination. The Great Eye dominates.” – Storm de Hirsch

$8 – general admission
$6 – students 29 and under and seniors 65 & over w/ valid ID


Microscope Gallery - New York, United States


Sunday, June 19, 2016 - 19:30



Sunday, June 19, 2016 - 19:30
  • 525 West 29th
    2nd Floor
    10001   New York, New York
    United States
    Phone: +1 347 925 1433
    40° 45' 7.776" N, 74° 0' 9.648" W