Cynthia Madansky, ESFIR


ESFIR, a new 16mm film project by Cynthia Madansky reflects on an unrealized script entitled Women by the prominent Soviet filmmaker and editor Esfir Shub.

In Shub's biography Cinema My Life (1959) she wrote that she wanted Women to be an "artistic documentary," one that integrates scripted narrative, observational documentary, and archival material in portraying the status of women in Russia after the Bolshevik revolution. 

For ESFIR, Madansky is creating a hybrid film based on the structure and conceptual framework of Women that reflects on the status of feminism in contemporary Russia as well as on Shub's cinematic articulation of the compilation film. 

At Garage, Madansky will research Russian feminist performance and video art from the 1960s until now, looking at the diverse iterations of feminist issues. In addition she will conduct research at the film archives in Moscow, looking at material about Shub specifically in relation to her writings about the process of editing and the importance of the film archive. 

Status: 2018

Researcher: Cynthia Madansky


Cynthia Madansky (b. 1961, Los Angeles; lives and works in New York and Istanbul) is a video artist and film director. She works with 16mm, super 8, and video, creating films and videos which integrate hybrid forms and traditions including experimental tropes, cinema verité, scripted narrative, ethnographic observation, and dance and performance. Her work engages with cultural and political themes, such as identity, nationalism, the transgression of borders, displacement, nuclear arms, and war, foregrounding the human experience and personal testimony. Her films have screened at international festivals including Rotterdam Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Iran International Documentary Festival, Milano International Film Festival, Cinema du Réel, Oberhausen, Transmediale, Viennale, Homeworks Beirut, and at international human rights film festivals. She has screened her work as single-channel cinematic projections and multi-screen installations at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Istanbul Modern, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; MAXXI, Rome; Walker Art Museum, Minneapolis; MUSAC, Léon; and SALT Istanbul.


Here we’ve put together materials to help you get ready for a visit to the Museum or to take a deep dive into the current programs at Garage.