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Wendy and Joyce (unfinished) (1967-1969) > The original footage from Wendy and Joyce has been rejuvenated

Wieland’s undated handwritten notes for a grant completion report refreshed the status of Wendy and Joyce in the following way: “At this point,” she writes, “the original footage from ‘Wendy and Joyce’ has been rejuvenated, a work print made and a rough cut completed.” She continues:

Interesting film footage, photographs and sound material has been newly “discovered” with the assistance of Wendy’ [sic] husband Les Lawrence.

This material includes a 60’s newsreel film of the Michner [sic] family at a formal meeting in India with Madame Ghandi and then Prime Minister Nehru, as well as film footage of a television interview at the time of my show at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1968. Sound “discoveries” include early audio tape interviews between Wendy Michner [sic], film critic, and Indian film director Satyajit Ray, and between Wendy Michner [sic] and Italian director Fellini. Also discovered are early audio tape dialogues between myself and Hollis Frampton, and American experimental directors Mike and George Kucher [sic].

Sound will be a key element in “Wendy and Joyce”. As in “Birds at Sunrise” and “A and B in Ontario”, no sound was recorded at the time of filming.

In “Wendy and Joyce” a complex collage/narrative will have to be created, especially taking into consideration the newly discovered material. In order to do this I will utilize the skills of a script writer to ensure that the fragments of audio recordings, dialogues, letters and memoirs are assembled in a manner that provides a loose, informative, yet poetic narrative for cinema. Image/text will also be used.

A great deal of work has already gone into “Wendy and Joyce”. The new material will add yet another important element into the life of Wendy Michner [sic]. I plan to have the film “Wendy and Joyce” completed for the AGO screening in April 1987.

Wendy and Joyce – clip 1. Coll. Cinémathèque québécoise.
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Wendy and Joyce – clip 2. Coll. Cinémathèque québécoise.

Joyce Wieland and Wendy Michener on a train (16:35)
1/4 inch audio tape, Coll. Cinémathèque québécoise.
9 minutes of train sounds lead up to a beautiful medley of singing brought by Joyce Wieland and Wendy Michener. Amidst concerns about the temperature of the train car, the two friends, in harmony, sing their unique rendition of “Oh Canada,” “Stars and Stripes,” and more.(Vanessa Meyer)

Joyce Wieland and Wendy Michener on a train (16:12)
1/4 inch audio tape, Coll. Cinémathèque québécoise.
Joyce Wieland and Wendy Michener move about as they slip in and out of random conversations with passengers on a train. It’s hard to get a handle on the train’s exact location but at least there are friendly people willing to tell Joyce and Wendy all about the faces in the mountains. This audio clip is a textured imprint of an afternoon on the train. (Vanessa Meyer)

Wendy Michener Interviews Joyce Wieland (side #1 of 2) (16:17)
1/4 inch audio tape, Coll. Cinémathèque québécoise.
Wendy Michener interviews Joyce Wieland as they leisurely walk through The Vancouver Art Gallery as Joyce’s retrospective (1957-1967) is being set up. Together they discuss elements of Joyce’s work over the years. Clanking footsteps on the museum floor break up their talk as Wendy probes Joyce on her use of the color red and her fascination with religious themes. Joyce elaborates on a small sketch she did for the pollution mural at the Art Gallery of Ontario, stating that this work said everything about pollution that she had intended it to. Continuing to wander through the gallery Joyce takes note of the fact that she seems to be always giving paintings away for free and jokingly mentions creating a book of the Vancouver show and potentially making a million dollars from it. Taking the time to explain how she views her work in relation to those who have inspired her (like Joan Miró) -– Joyce describes how she feels as though she is “reliving the artists she admires.” As Wendy and Joyce move around the gallery they touch on everything from picnics, grass, flags and mandalas to comics, Canada, and LSD – exemplifying only a portion of the themes and inspirations that have characterized Joyce’s work. (Vanessa Meyer)

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Wendy and Joyce – clip 4. Coll. Cinémathèque québécoise.
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Wendy and Joyce – clip 6. Coll. Cinémathèque québécoise.
Wendy and Joyce – clip 3. Coll. Cinémathèque québécoise.

Wendy Michener Interviews Joyce Wieland (side #2 of 2) (16:06)
1/4 inch audio tape, Coll. Cinémathèque québécoise.
In part two of Wendy and Joyce’s roving interview through The Vancouver Art Gallery Joyce remarks on some of her older work, stating how different the pieces look to her now. They stop for a while and discuss some of her cityscapes that she created inside miniature rooms in small houses. Noticing a small dog in the piece Wendy highlights Joyce’s frequent inclusion of dogs in her work. Moving from canines to her more famous use of sailboats, Wendy asks Joyce to speak a bit about where her interest in them came from. Joyce replies that she doesn’t know and that she has never actually been on a sailboat. For Joyce sailboats in the rough seas appear to be more of a reflection of her sense of needing to “sink or swim” then an actual interest in the boats themselves. Noting the buoyant up and down movement of the sailboats, the girls jokingly use sexual innuendo to segue into a discussion of the prominent inclusion of both phallic imagery and flowers in much of Joyce’s work. Finally, in a discussion of her use of clothes and aprons, Joyce makes an interesting distinction between the sculptor Claus Oldenburg and herself – stating that while he worked with similar concepts, everything he did was so big, whereas she chose to make her work smaller, focusing around themes of nostalgia and domesticity. (Vanessa Meyer)


*Citations: Jane Lind, Joyce Wieland: Artist on Fire (Toronto: James Lorimer and Company, 2001), 168; Wieland quoted in Lind, 168; quotation from Wieland notes, Joyce Wieland fonds, Accession 1993-003 / 002 (13). York University Libraries | Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections.