When she began making the film that would become Autoficción (2020), experimental filmmaker Laida Lertxundi gave it the working title ‘Daytime Noir’. The film was thinking through the political foment of the United States and the living circumstances it was creating, increasingly untenable for many including the artist, who was then a new mother residing in Los Angeles, struggling with the lack of public healthcare. Shot when she returned to LA after completing a residency at the University of Auckland, shortly before she returned to her home country of Spain, the film captures a moment of un-belonging for Lertxundi as she reckoned with the hostility of her surrounds. Her experience bleeds into that of the women featured in Autoficción, which dwells in their conversations and with their weary bodies—an homage, Lertxundi says, to the West Coast cinema of Chick Strand and Agnès Varda. Under the Californian sun, this canon of women’s filmmaking collides with that of film noir, as an atmosphere of intimacy collides with one of latent corruption.
Though Lertxundi ultimately abandoned this title for her film, it now graces a forthcoming book, the artist’s second publication, which will feature new texts from the artist, Ren Ebel and Luna Miguel, alongside an extensive collection of full-colour film stills. Daytime Noir will be launched at Artspace Aotearoa in conjunction with the exhibition Scores for Transformation, where Lertxundi’s work is on view alongside that of Özlem Altın, Quishile Charan, Judith Hopf and Rosemary Mayer until 18 August. It is the third instalment of Artspace’s year-long programme of exhibitions that ask ‘Where does my body belong?’”