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E r y k a   D e l l e n b a c h (she/they)
is a Chicago-bred filmmaker, choreographer, performer and teaching artist based in California’s East Bay on Lisjan Ohlone territory. Her embodied films, soundscapes and evocative, multidisciplinary performances are rites of carefully designed sensation that mine  psychophysical thresholds and the malleability of consciousness. Eryka regards work process as life and values close and longterm collaboration, intimacy with brutal climates, rituals of consent, conflict+resolution, fantasy and world-building.

She has worked with and performed in the works of an eclectic variety of dance/performance artists including  Atsushi Takenouchi, Tori Wränes, Tino Sehgal, Blair Thomas Puppet Theatre, Amanda Gutierrez, HOGG, Michael Zerang & Eva Mag. Her process and technique have been heavily informed by her  teachers Wendy Clinard (flamenco), Atsushi Takenouchi (Butoh), Vangeline (Butoh), Deborah Stratman (celluloid film), Joshua Grainger (capoeira) and the late Dr. Waud Kracke (psychoanalytic-anthropology).

Eryka has presented work at Movement Research at the Judson Memorial Church, Anthology Film Archives, Roulette Intermedium, Green River Cemetery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Intuit Outsider Art Museum, The Art Institute Museum of Chicago, Links Hall, No Nation Gallery, and internationally at the Shiryaevo Bienalle of Contemporary Art (Russia), Spazio Nu (Italy) and Schloss Bröllin (Germany). 

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the Universiy of Illinois at Chicago, and a master’s degree in Film, Video, New Media, Animation and Sound from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

She works as a choreographer, performer, artist teacher, performance documentarian, DP, camera operator, and contracted worker. She is a collaborator of transnational group HEKLER.

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Shot in 2018
Edited in 2020
Location: Arkansas
Material: Two 100 ft. rolls of digitally transferred 16mm film and digital audio recordings

I met Ashley while I was working on another project in Arkansas in 2018. At the time, she was involved with an organization that works with young women teaching them about how to hunt and dress animals through a lens of wildlife conservation. After meeting for coffee, she consented to a semiformal interview regarding her experience in this field as well as her experience as a woman hunter and gun owner.

My interest was twofold: On a personal level, I related to her in that I also grew up the daughter of a hunter father, in the suburbs of Illinois. She grew up amidst the men in her family hunting but did not herself hunt. Although I have never hunted I was from a young age intimately accustomed to the dressing practices associated with the aftermath of hunting. In my case, this took place in the setting of our garage in suburban Illinois whose floor was stained by blood and gasoline. In Ashley’s case, dressing took place on the field. On another level, I wanted to know more about her simultaneous decision to wield the rifle as a weapon of personal defense (at home), as opposed to a handgun.

This film contains only a tiny portion of a longer conversation, with verbal and physical components, some which are visible in the 16mm film documentation. Fragments of this conversation are juxtaposed to highlight the multifold perception of the hunter who kills what they also admire, as well as address their own vulnerability. Documentation features Ashley and her boyfriend at the time shooting at a target with her rifle, and his handgun. What is not captured on film is myself shooting both of these guns as well as they taught me how to after not shooting since adolescence.
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