In summer 2011, James Benning returned to his hometown of Milwaukee to make a third version of his seminal 1977 film One Way Boogie Woogie. In 1977 he filmed 60 locations in Milwaukee’s industrial valley each for 60 seconds, creating short, minimal, playful narratives. In 2004 he remade the film as Twenty Seven Years Later, with the same 60 camera positions. This 2012 installation version, presents 18 locations similar to, and reminiscent of, the original.
Following AV Festival 12 One Way Boogie Woogie 2012 was exhibited at Argos Centre for Art and Media in Brussels from 30 September to 16 December 2012.
James Benning was born in Milwaukee, America in 1942. He returned to the University of Wisconsin in 1972 to take up film studies after having completed his mathematics degree. By the mid-1970s his development had crossed paths with a significant movement in the American avant-garde.
In films like 8 1/2 x 11 (1974), 11 x 14 (1976) and One Way Boogie Woogie (1977), he showed a structural analysis of image, sound, narrative and landscape. Using framed shots Benning conceived a new iconography of the American Midwest. During his New York years (1980-88), topics such as history and memory became central to his films, including American Dreams (1984) and Landscape Suicide (1986).
After his move to California, Benning began a series of experimental documentaries and political essay films, such as North on Evers (1991), Deseret (1995) and Four Corners (1997). And with the California Trilogy (1999-2001), 13 Lakes and Ten Skies (both 2004), he shifts these considerations into a radical new direction altogether: focusing viewer attention on one sole image for several minutes. This focus on immersing in a sense of place, built from long, unedited takes, has continued in more recent work such as Ruhr (2009) and Nightfall (2011). In 2003, Reinhard Wulf made a 90-minute documentary about Benning and his work called James Benning: Circling the Image. Since 1987 he has taught filmmaking at CalArts.
Curated by AV Festival 12. World Premiere.
Preview: Fri 2 March 2012, 3-6pm
Thu 1 March – 9 June 2012
City Library and Arts Centre
Sunderland SR1 1RE
Mon, Wed 9.30am–7.30pm
Tue, Thu, Fri 9.30am–5pm