Tuesday, March 26, 7p.m.
2012. USA. Sadie Benning. 28 min.
A Place Called Lovely
1991. USA. Sadie Benning. 14 min.
Sadie Benning’s In Parts, premiering in Tell It To My Heart, explores American landscapes through the recent acquisition of a vintage black-and-white tube-video camera, a technology dating from the earliest days of portable video equipment. Shot in the American Southwest and New York, the video begins with a single-shot study of a leopard pacing in its cage, framed by bars and glass and concrete; it is an extended take on the need to move. What follows this is a journey through the Joshua Tree environs of Julie Ault and Martin Beck, where some of the collection in Tell It To My Heart resides, before a return East. The images are burned in flares, and feature vignetting at the frame’s edge and high-fidelity sound, recalling Benning’s PixelVision videos of the 1980s and ’90s in their attention to primal technologies as philosophical tools.
In Parts is followed by Benning’s A Place Called Lovely, from the collection of the Museum für Gegenwartskunst. The following interview excerpt is from Retrospective/Sadie Benning, Wexner Center for the Arts, February 2004:
Solveig Nelson: The examination of fear… is also present in A Place Called Lovely.
Sadie Benning: Well, I made A Place Called Lovely for a lot of reasons. I was really affected by the Atlanta child murders, even though it wasn’t my family, it wasn’t me, but I identified with a fear of being stolen or murdered.
SN: Were you also questioning the ways that people try to feel safe—for example, through a notion of innocence?
SB: There’s this thing I say in the video about my Grandma, she always wanted me to be like some people’s idea of what is right or good in the world, which is this white girl, you know, blond hair and innocent. She thought maybe that would protect me. When I had nightmares, she told me that bad things happen to bad people. I just knew even as a child that that wasn’t right, that tragedy can happen to anyone… I feel like a lot of childhood is about being lied to, about the censoring of truth about history, and just about keeping you innocent.
These films are shown on the occasion of the exhibition Tell it to my heart: Collected by Julie Ault at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel.