October 6 – December 9, 2023

A pioneer of Argentinian experimental or “underground” cinema, Narcisa Hirsch has referred to herself as una famosa cineasta desconocida (a famous unknown filmmaker). Although she can be said to have been triply marginalized–as a Latin American, as a woman, and as an experimental artist who always moved outside of the traditional global and local art circuits–her low-budget projects allowed her radical freedom to experiment with the medium of film, always in dialogue with other artists and art forms ranging from filmmaker Michael Snow to composer Steve Reich, fiction writer Jorge Luis Borges to musician Nina Simone. Indeed, before becoming a filmmaker, Hirsch herself experimented with diverse forms and media–painting, graffiti, and happenings on the streets of Buenos Aires, New York, and London–and subsequently published several books. The exhibition’s main gallery will highlight five of Hirsch’s films that engage directly and indirectly, intentionally and unintentionally, with artists such as Michael Snow, Michelangelo Antonioni, Nina Simone, Steve Reich, Glenn Ligon, Julio Cortázar, Julie Dash, and Jorge Luis Borges. 

This exhibition is curated by Professor Erin Graff Zivin.

Erin Graff Zivin, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Comparative Literature, is the Director of the Experimental Humanities Lab and Acting Director of the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at USC. Her research focuses on modern and contemporary Latin American literature and other media, deconstruction, the relationship between ethics, politics, and aesthetics, and the intersection of philosophy and critical theory more broadly. Prof. Graff Zivin is the author of Anarchaeologies: Reading as Misreading (Fordham UP, 2020), Figurative Inquisitions: Conversion, Torture, and Truth in the Luso-Hispanic Atlantic (Northwestern UP, 2014, winner of the 2015 Award for Best Book, Latin American Jewish Studies Association), and The Wandering Signifier: Rhetoric of Jewishness in the Latin American Imaginary (Duke UP, 2008). She is co-editor of Terror: La perspectiva hispana (Guillermo Escolar, 2020), and editor of The Marrano Specter: Derrida and Hispanism (Fordham University Press, 2017), The Ethics of Latin American Literary Criticism: Reading Otherwise (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). She is also editor of a special issue of Discourse on the work of Peggy Kamuf (2019), and co-editor (with Tracy McNulty) of a special issue of Diacritics on the topic of “Women in Theory” (2022). Graff Zivin currently heads the international “Women in Theory” collective, serves on the Executive Council of the Modern Language Association, oversees the digitization of the filmic work of Narcisa Hirsch (between USC Libraries and the Filmoteca Narcisa Hirsch supported by a grant from USC Research and Innovation), and is completing a book on experimental transmedial aesthetics.