Paige Taul: The Boundaries of Identity 

I am, Paige Taul, USA, 2017, 16mm digital transfer, 3 minutes, English

Watch the films: the films in this programme can be viewed anytime between 23 March and 29 March via the Essay Film Festival online screening room

Paige Taul in Conversation: Watch Paige discussing the films in this programme here:


In this online programme for the Essay Film Festival, we present an overview of the work of American filmmaker Paige Taul, making a significant number of her films available between 23 March and 29 March, in addition to hosting a live discussion of her material with the artist herself.

The body of work created by Paige to date focuses on a range of issues and subjects, but one underlying thread which seems to persist is a recurring interest in cultural and personal memory, particularly in relation to questions of Blackness in an American context and further afield. 

Shot primarily on 16mm, there is a strong sense of materiality and presence in Taul’s films, her camera engaging with stories told and retold by her immediate family and displaying a particular interest for images of the body in motion. Cultural references range from famous sporting figures to an engagement with the work of Bruce Nauman via the pimp walk. When viewed together, these objects sketch out a fascinating journey through the personal and subjective, alongside idiosyncratic, localised reference points which come together to present a view of community and the trials and tribulations of an everyday struggle.

By presenting a variety of Taul’s films in this manner and facilitating a discussion with the filmmaker, we invite audiences to plot their own path through her work and to make connections between the myriad subjects that she engages with.

Paige Taul is an Oakland, California native who received her B.A. in Studio Art with a concentration in cinematography from the University of Virginia and her M.F.A in Moving Image from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She currently resides in Chicago. For more information, see 

Films: I am, Paige Taul, USA, 2017, 16mm digital transfer, 3 minutes, English

‘An interview with my mother about her relationships with her family, religion, and blackness.’

It makes me wanna, Paige Taul, USA, 2017, 16mm digital transfer, 3 minutes, silent

‘An exploration of the expression one makes when the music is just that good. Meant to capture the intense emotion of the performers as they listen and dance to music while simultaneously addressing the universality of Black expression and whether or not such a feeling is a common experience.’

Transit, Paige Taul, USA, 2017, 16mm digital transfer, 3 minutes, English

‘A conversation with University of Virginia alumni about the Transition Program during Black Alumni weekend.’ 

DiviNation, Paige Taul, USA, 2017, HD video, 10 minutes, English

‘A conversation with Tyneeka about her feelings on community, fraternity and sorority life, and the complicated social expectations of belonging.’

7-7-94 For my babe, Paige Taul, USA, 2018, 16mm digital transfer, 3 minutes, silent

‘A short film based on a polaroid sent to my mother from her father before he was sent to federal prison. This film is an attempt at connecting to the emotion and process of deciding how you want a loved one to perceive you and the performance of “cool”.’

After DeCarava, Paige Taul, USA, 2018, 16mm digital transfer, 2 minutes, silent

‘In reference to the Roy DeCarava photograph Face out of focus it’s an attempt to find softness, protection, and care in the abstraction.’

In the face of god, Paige Taul, USA, 2018, HD video, 4 minutes, English

‘My mother tells the story of how she met and left my dad. The film is an expansion on the serendipity of their meeting and the end result being my sister and my existence.’

Its a condition, Paige Taul, USA, 2018, 16mm digital transfer, 3 minutes, silent

‘An answer to a proverbial question. An exploration of the concept of double consciousness and an attempt to render it visually.’

Reid’s Records, Paige Taul, USA, 2018, 16mm digital transfer, 4 minutes, English

‘An interview with David Reid, current owner and inheritor of Reid’s Records in Berkeley, California, reflecting on the impact of gentrification on business and the neighbourhood.’

What’s Good Bruce?, Paige Taul, USA, 2018, 16mm digital transfer, 4 minutes, English

‘A critique of the phenomenology of the studio space presented by Bruce Nauman’s piece Walking in an Exaggerated Manner Around the Perimeter of a Square (1967). The “exaggerated manner” being the pimp walk, or swagger; both a culturally specific and masculinist gesture in contrast to Nauman’s original gestures.’

10:28,30, Paige Taul, USA, 2019, 16mm and VHS digital transfer, 4 minutes, English

10:28,30 examines the relationship between myself and my sister, and our relationship to our mother. I am interested in the dissonance of our lives apart and the tension in the desire to be together.’

The Promise, Paige Taul, USA, 2019, Super8 digital transfer, 6 minutes, English

‘An exploration of the control one has of one’s own life and the lives of others in it. As illustrated in my mother’s retelling of a near death experience.’

Teef, Paige Taul, USA, 2019, 16mm digital transfer, 8 minutes, English

‘An exploration of personal and popular culture as it relates to black dental aesthetics.’

Maciré, Paige Taul, USA, 2020, Super8 digital transfer, 4 minutes, English

‘Maciré details her experience as an Afro-German woman in Germany. Filmed in Berlin, Germany as a resident of the Institut für Alles Mögliche.’ 

Too Small to be a Bear, Paige Taul, USA, 2020, archival footage digital transfer, 5 minutes, English

‘My mother describes a profound event in her father’s life. She reflects on the event being the possible cause for his demeanour. The second half features my grandmother, Dorothy Taul. She guides us through her memories of the players and the era that she met Cub, Jesse Taul, her husband.’