Ombre Dal Lupercale

Ombre dal Lupercale (Shadows from the Realm of Wolves) was a nightlong series of site-specific works lasting from dusk until dawn. On June 21, 2006, Midsummer’s Eve, a fusion of river, sound, and light drew the public to the Tiber River. A frieze of 12 majestic She-Wolves etched from the patina of time stood guard on the high embankment walls, marking the site. Seven artist-composer collaborations transformed the space with ambient sound-image installations.

The summer solstice of 2006 was celebrated by a number of artists and composers for this site specific installation that ran from dusk til dawn between the Ponte and Ponte Mazzini. Each artist took turns at interpreting the myth of Romulous and Remus.

Design and Direction: Maureen Selwood

Animation: Maria Vasilkovsky

Music: Alvin Curran


Project Director: Kirstin Jones

Artists: Kiki Smith, Kristin Jones, Francesca Fini, Roberto Catani, Maureen Selwood, Andrea Biagioni and Gabriele Manecchi, Daniel K. Brown and Erika Kruger

Composers: Walter Branchi, Alvin Curran, David Monacchi, Nico Muhly, Roberto Laneri, and Eugenio Giordani

Drawing Lessons

Duration: 6:00

A woman finds a tape cassette at a yard sale. It comes with a drawing exercise, the upside down drawing lesson from, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. The exercise becomes an obsession yet keeps the woman’s insomnia at bay. Her night visitors, animals of the night, allow her to reconnect with nature. The voice over by Mark Strand adds to her attachment to the tape. Its humorous quality informs her not to take it too seriously but that is not possible.

Maureen Selwood

Tanya Haden

Voice Over
Mark Strand

Sound Design
Jesse Gilbert


“Stone is employed worldwide to keep memory captive.”
– Joseph Brodsky

Resistance is a performance with film scenes from Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria. The movement of the live performance contrasts with the slowness of the gestures of Giulietta Masini being in thrall to the spectacle of religious procession.


Video Projection with Performance

Live Performer: K.C. Wiley

Cinematography: Danita MacDonald

Costume Design: Pat Olesko

Performance at the American Academy in Rome 2003

As The Veil Lifts

A woman experiences the suffering of her parents due to some unnamed event perhaps a war. The animation is based on an instinctive line about how a woman’s body carries a narrative. The veils suggests the many veils a woman puts on in her lifetime. In addition the transparent veils reflect the many levels an animator works with while studying movement.

The song accompanying the film is from Songs from the Quechua (a collection of folk poetry from Peru and Bolivia)

Il Messaggio

Ho ciesto ad una farfalle,
(la farfalle, quelle farfalle)
di trovare mio madre,
di cercare mio padre.

E tornata la farfalle,
(la farfalle; quella farfalle)
dicendo sta piagendo tua madre,
sta soffrendo tuo padre.

Sono andata e ho,
Quardato in me stessa,
Edera vero il messagio.
(della farfalle, quella farfalle)

La mio madre stave piagendo,
Il mio padre stave soffrendo.

The Butterfly Messenger
Translated by Mark Strand

I asked a butterfly,
I sent a dragonfly,
To go out to see my mother,
To go out to see my father.

The butterfly came back,
The dragonfly came back,
Saying, your mother is crying,
Saying, your father is suffering.

I went myself,
I took myself there,
And it was true my mother was crying,
And it was true my father was suffering.

Translation: Mark Strand

Performance: Michaela Gentili


American Academy in Rome June 2003
Villa Massimo July 2003
300 Exposition du Frac Picardie, France

All the Places I Have Ever Lived

A noir tour with film clips

Using the language of film noir. All The Places I Have Ever Lived traces the westward migration of upward mobility in Los Angeles through the post-war years and explore the social and political climate that informed it. The chartered tour departs from the Schindler House and includes on-site discussions and film excerpts. Selwood explores an understanding of L.A. as a subjective landscape whose geography is expressed by shifting sets of motives and values.

Sites include:

The Hollywood Athletic Club, Bullocks Wilshire, the Bradbury Building, and Bunker Hill

July 21, 2001

MAK Center for Art and Architecture

Mistaken Identity

Duration: 28:15

All night, I walk the city, watching the people go by.
I try to sing a little ditty, but all that comes out is a sigh.
The street looks very frightening, the rain begins and then comes lightning.
It seems love’s gone to pot, I’d rather have the blues than what I’ve got…

Mistaken Identity revisits the forgotten characters and deserted landscapes of Robert Aldrich’s classic film noir, Kiss Me Deadly, (1955), Broken steps, the ocean pier at night, and the expressways are just some of the scenes rephotographed and then drawn over to produce a commentary on the artifice of cinema and memory.  The film takes a feminist perspective on the role of the detective’s “moll” who as a temptress shows us film noir’s need to portray women in polarized roles of temptress versus victim. Women are sexually liberated and not struck down for it yet how this story fits into a contemporary setting in Los Angeles today is another question.

Directed by
Maureen Selwood

Marissa Chibas

Nancy Jean Tucker

Hail Mary

Duration: 3:25

A woman’s voice obsessively uses numbers to tell us something while handling a set of rosary beads. This allows her to keep her memories alive and to give meaning to the traces left by her life. The prayer, Hail Mary, is seen with new insights into its power. Numbers play a role in her recitation and desire for control against the things that are happening to her. The detritus from her life animates her inner life.

Written and Directed by
Maureen Selwood

Voice over
Marni Castor

Sound Design
Fausto Caceres

Flying Circus: An Imagined Memoir

Duration: 11:07

Inspired by the 1917 ballet, Parade, by Satie, Cocteau and Picasso, the film takes a childhood memory of loss and uses metaphoric allusions to create a different outcome. A sketchbook opens up to reveal a circus tent and a rich world of events allowing for a poetic interpretation of a memory now richly animated and masked by beauty, danger and desire.

Directed by
Maureen Selwood

Music by
Miroslav Tadic

Sound Design
Fausto Caceres


Duration: 0:50

An animation exploring metamorphosis accompanied with music by Meredith Monk.

With minimal tools and the limitation of a single image of a woman’s head a set of pearls activates a woman’s inner drive expressing freedom of movement. Animation suggests quickly a series of possible choices. The decision is ultimately hers.

A Film by
Maureen Selwood

Music by
Meredith Monk

The Rug

Duration: 10:36

“One of the most exquisite stories ever written, by anyone…”

Ellis Ni Dhuibhne, The Irish Times

The Rug is an adaptation of the short story by the Irish writer, Edna O’Brien, with voice over by the legendary Irish actress Anna Manahan. It is a story of loss told through the daughter looking back on her mother’s life in rural Ireland who receives a package one day from the postman. The look and feel of it come from paintings by the Fauvists who created orgies of color to project a mood yet not being true to the natural world. The composer, Michael Riesman, took inspiration from the folk tales of Stravinsky. Its skillful development of narrative evokes the character of a woman and a way of life.

A Film by
Maureen Selwood

The Rug
by Edna O’Brien

Anna Manahan

Michael Riesman