La Cinémathèque québécoise

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Wendy and Joyce (unfinished) (1967-1969)

Photographs of Wendy Michener and family : Image of Wendy Michener (holding film camera) and Joyce Wieland (with back to camera). [1969]York University Library, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Joyce Wieland fonds, ASC07123
Photographs of Wendy Michener and family : Image of Wendy Michener (holding film camera) and Joyce Wieland (with back to camera). [1969]
York University Library, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Joyce Wieland fonds, ASC07123
Wendy and Joyce was a collaboration commenced by Joyce Wieland with her friend, film critic Wendy Michener in 1967, the same year that Wieland began another collaboration with filmmaker Hollis Frampton, A and B in Ontario, which she completed after his death in 1984. As an unfinished film, Wendy and Joyce is a rough assembly, film and sound elements labeled as “Wendy and Joyce” housed at the Cinémathèque québécoise. Paper-based notes are at the Joyce Wieland fonds at the Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections at York University.

This still photograph from the York archives, which appears in Wieland’s rough assembly, documents Wieland and Michener on a train and captures their film-making method, as they each cradle Bolex cameras pointed towards each other. Biographer Jane Lind describes: “In January [1967], Joyce had a retrospective at the Vancouver Art Gallery and decided to travel west by train, accompanied by Wendy Michener and Rose Richardson. She took her camera, and filmed hours and hours of footage of the train window to capture the winter landscape as they went.”  Wieland commented on the trip:

[I] got on the train with the Bolexes and tape machine, and as soon as we got past Lake of the Woods the snow started, and it was the most idyllic, exquisite trip I think I’ve ever taken in my entire life. As soon as we came to the Prairies, it was just this vast glacial winter and then into British Columbia where the trees were heavily laden with snow and I photographed every day all day from the train window. I used every possible combination of the camera, fooling around with exposures, using different film stocks, different camera speeds.

Wendy Michener, Joyce Wieland and Michael Snow
1/4 inch audio tape, Coll. Cinémathèque québécoise
Join Wendy Michener, Joyce Wieland and Michael Snow as they walk through the cold winter streets of New York City in search of a warm cup of tea, a bowl of soup and some herbal distractions. Together this giggling group of friends and artists express their joint desire to get out of the city and go on a vacation. They reminisce about old times and describe how wonderful it would be to take a train trip across Canada, each of them taking turns at every stop to project films; at 25 cents a pop they could bring in some money and entertain all of the bored passengers. Woven into this TransCanadian plan for a travelling cinema are a mix of stories from their past about their individual experiences with the railway. This includes Michener’s trip across Canada when she was a young girl and could only afford to feed herself on bread and cheese, and Wieland’s solo excursion on the train which turned into a psychedelic evening where she redecorated a train car. As an an entirety, these sound bites provide a delightful behind-the-scenes look into the lives of a group of friends who, among other things, will open up the hilarious and unexplored creative potential of the Canadian Railway – all the while gossiping about the goings on of the New York/Toronto art world and their experiences with psychedelics and photography. (Vanessa Meyer)

Image of an undated, untitled drawing by Joyce Wieland of a female figure holding a mask between her and a film camera (centre) and a female head looking into a mask (right).York University Library, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Joyce Wieland fonds, ASC33278
Image of an undated, untitled drawing by Joyce Wieland of a female figure holding a mask between her and a film camera (centre) and a female head looking into a mask (right).
York University Library, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Joyce Wieland fonds, ASC33278
© National Gallery of Canada
Image of a poster titled « Wieland 57-67 The Vancouver Art Gallery Jan. 10 – Feb. 4 » Includes the artist, Joyce Wieland standing between two arches, holding a mask in front of her torso. 1968
York University Library, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Avrom Isaacs fonds, ASC33272
The Vancouver Art Gallery
Image of invitation to the opening of the Joyce Wieland Retrospective 1957- 1967 at The Vancouver Art Gallery Jan. 10 – Feb. 4 [1968]
York University Library, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Avrom Isaacs fonds, ASC33273
The Vancouver Art Gallery