The press release from the AGO (imaged below), and Wieland’s conversation interview with journalist friend, Wendy Michener (from the CQ archives, below), give the clearest accounts of her performance and film, as Wieland describes how she filmed and photographed hundreds of people wearing her old raccoon hat, including Jackie Burroughs, Jack Bush, Jean Sutherland Boggs, Judy Lamarsh, A.Y. Jackson, Timothy Leary, and Graeme Ferguson, whose son, Munro appears as one of the idyllic children in the opening sequence.
(1/4 inch audio tape, Coll. Cinémathèque québécoise)
Brett Kashmere and Astria Suparak describe Bill’s Hat within a history of Canadian live cinema, referred to as ‘expanded’ cinema as coined by Gene Youngblood in 1970, and also linking it to Expo 67’s multi-screen event, Labryrinth.
Wieland describes in the AGO press release, “The whole film (and slides) are non-art portraits of people in which they do what they want with this hat – and therefore, act or stand in front of my camera. It’s only love: therefore it can’t harm you.” As described in her interview, which offers a complex portal into the cultural politics and lexicons of the 1960s, she observes that people’s personalities were revealed as they donned the hat, embracing and enacting completely new persona, or just sticking it on top of their heads without much reaction.