Peggy Ahwesh is an American film maker and video artist who makes experimental film using found material, VHS, digital film and Pixelvision. Her work refuses categorisation as an open and evolving exploration of female identity, language and media production.
Since the beginning of her career in the 1970s she has made an extensive and diverse range of film work. One of her more recent works She Puppet (2001) uses imagery from the video game Tomb Raider to recreate a simulation like gaming experience, foregrounding the power relations therein.
The Lara Croft icon is a conduit for empty projections of control and desire, and voice overs contrast the screen play as different female voices hijack the imagery with readings of the work of Sun Ra, Joanna Russ and Fernando Pessoa. Peggy takes an experimental approach to new mediums of film such as using drones and heat-sensitive cameras, featured in her work Kansas Atlas exhibited at JOAN Los Angeles in 2020. Artists such as Carolee Schneeman and Joyce Wieland have been influences for Peggy and she references punk culture and horror as means to deconstruct the violence of surveillance and ownership. Her work reformulates the capacity of filming and viewing as a political act and presents not fully resolved mediatised worlds, but new perspectives on reality in a digital age.
By Ruth Miller
all works © Peggy Ahwesh