Project Description

Deborah Stratman

Portrait of Deborah Stratman

Gardner FSC Fellow 2016-17

Deborah Stratman is a Chicago-based artist and filmmaker interested in landscapes and systems. Much of her work points to the relationships between physical environments and human struggles for power and control that play out on the land. Recent projects have addressed freedom, expansionism, surveillance, sonic warfare, public speech, ghosts, sinkholes, levitation, propagation, Orthoptera, raptors, comets, and faith. She has exhibited internationally at venues such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Centre Pompidou, Hammer Museum, Mercer Union, Witte de With, and the Whitney Biennial. Her work has also been featured in festivals, including at Sundance, Viennale, CPH/DOX, Oberhausen, Ann Arbor, Full Frame, Rotterdam, and Berlinale. Stratman is the recipient of Fulbright, Guggenheim, and USA Collins fellowships, a Creative Capital grant, an Alpert Award, and Harvard University’s Robert Gardner Fellowship.

FSC Works

Film Still from Vever


Deborah Stratman, 12 min. (2019)

A cross generational binding of three filmmakers seeking alternative possibilities to power structures they’re inherently part of.

The film grew out of abandoned film projects of Maya Deren and Barbara Hammer. Shot at the furthest point of a motorcycle trip Hammer took to Guatemala in 1975, and passed through with Deren’s reflections of failure, encounter and initiation in 1950s Haiti.

A vever is a symbolic drawing used in Haitian Voodoo to invoke a Loa, or god.

Film Still from Optimism


Deborah Stratman, 15 min. (2018)

The urge to relieve a winter valley of permanent shadow and find fortune in alluvial gravel are part of a long history of desire and extraction in the far Canadian north. Cancan dancers, curlers, ore smelters, former city officials and a curious cliff-side mirrored disc congregate to form a town portrait. Shot in location in Dawson City, Yukon Territory.