• PBS

photos by Jono Melamed (2023)

photos by Whitney Browne (2023)

E r y k a   D e l l e n b a c h (they)
is a genderfluid filmmaker, performance artist and educator based in the Sonoran Southwest (Turtle Island/US). Their embodied films and performances are rites of passage for themselves and collaborators driven by consent practices, inquisitive hedonisms, corporeal excavation and a belief in the capacity for mutual transformation through collaboration and art-as-life process. Their works mine relationships to power, the malleability of consciousness and psychophysical thresholds.

Their process and technique have been informed by studies in dances of resistance including Butoh, flamenco and martial arts. They are grateful to the teachers who have offered potent dances and knowledges influencing their path: Wendy Clinard & Sonia Sanchez (flamenco), Atsushi Takenouchi, Yumiko Yoshioka and Vangeline (Butoh), Chen Huixian (Chen Taiji) & Yunuen Rhi (Baguazhang), and Mestre Besouro Preto Manganga (capoeira). They have worked with artists across mediums including Yunuen Rhi, Martin Toloku, Atsushi Takenouchi, Tino Sehgal, Amanda Gutierrez, Tori Wrånes, Éva Mag, Matty Davis, Nola Sporn Smith, Amelia de Rudder/La Casa de Satanas and the band HOGG

Eryka has presented work at venues such as Alliance Française Kumasi (Ghana), crazinisT artisT studio (Ghana), Communitism (Greece), Movement Research at the Judson Memorial Church, Coaxial Arts (LA), Casa Moloch (MX), Lausanne Underground Music & Film Festival (Switzerland), Ann Arbor Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, Roulette Intermedium, Green River Cemetery, Virginia Commonwealth University, Intuit Outsider Art Museum, Links Hall, No Nation Gallery, and at the Shiryaevo Bienalle of Contemporary Art (Russia). They have been a resident artist at perfocraZe International Artist Residency (Ghana), eX...it! international butoh dance exchange and performance festival (Germany), Earthdance (MA), Echo Luna (Ukraine) and Cucalorus (NC).

They earned a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University 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.

They are a Senior Videographer and Editor at Arizona Public Media, and continue to work independently as a freelance filmmaker, performance artist, choreographer, educator and interviewer. They are a celluloid filmmaking instructor at MONO NO AWAREa collaborator of the transnational group HEKLER and an advocate with California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP). They are a board member of Movement Culture, LLC (Tucson, AZ).

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image by Raven Jackson


A s h l e y

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.