Underground Film Journal

Vivienne Dick

Portrait of filmmaker Vivienne Dick holding a camera

Vivienne Dick is an Irish-born media artist who was a seminal figure in the No Wave film movement of New York City in the late 1970s.

Born in Donegal, Ireland in the 1950s, Dick emigrated to New York City in either 1976 or 1977 to pursue her career in art and photography. One of her first jobs in the U.S. was creating slides for the theatrical performances of Jack Smith. At this time she also met and became friendly with zero budget filmmakers in NYC's Lower East Side (LES), such as Beth and Scott B., James Nares and Eric Mitchell. These filmmakers, including Dick, would later be considered the "No Wave" film movement for their stark and crude movies made on Super 8mm with close to no budget.

Dick initially created film portraits of female punk rock musicians without the intent of making actual "films." However, these portraits were ultimately combined into the short film Guerillere Talks (1978), which featured musicians such as Lydia Lunch and Pat Place. Dick followed up Guerillere Talks with actual plotted-out short films with Dick's musician friends, like Lunch and Place, cast as actors playing roles rather than themselves.

Like her No Wave cohorts, Dick screened her films in non-traditional locations such as clubs and storefronts in the LES, as well as Mitchell's short-lived 50-seat New Cinema on St. Mark's Place. In this scene, with films such as She Had Her Gun All Ready (1978) and Beauty Becomes the Beast (1979), Dick became well regarded for her use of color and strong feminist themes. In addition to films, she also played keyboards in the band Beirut Slump.

In the early 1980s, Dick left NYC and returned to Ireland, then London where she continued making films in 16mm and video; and belonged to the London Filmmakers Coop. Currently, Dick resides in Galway, Ireland and continues to create films. Although she now primarily works with video, her work is still primarily centered around feminist themes and imagery.

Watch Streaming Films By Vivienne Dick:

Filmography

Augenblick (2017)
Felis Catus (2016)
Red Moon Rising (2015)
The Irreducible Difference of the Other (2013)
Saccade (2004)
To Be Two (1999)
A Skinny Little Man Attacked Daddy (1994)
Three A.M. (1990)
Two Pigeons (1990)
New York Conversations (1990)
London Suite (Getting Sucked In) (1989)
Image Ireland (1988)
Rothach (1986)
Like Dawn to Dust (1983)
Liberty’s Booty (1980)
Visibility: Moderate (1981)
Liberty’s Booty (1980)
Beauty Becomes the Beast (1979)
Staten Island (1978)
She Had Her Gun All Ready (1978) (Watch online)
Guerillere Talks (1978)

Articles:

She Had Her Gun All Ready — Vivienne Dick
She Had Her Gun All Ready By Vivienne Dick (1978). This is the second film by Vivienne Dick and the first one that included a plot and actresses playing roles. Her first film was Guerillere Talks (1978), a collection of filmed portraits of female punk musicians, including Lydia Lunch and Pat Place, both of whom