Since the beginning of the 1970s James Benning (1942) has been considered a key figure in the American avant-garde. He elaborates on elements from structural film, but at the same time he is perceived as a protagonist of the ‘new narrative’ movement during the 1980s. His rigorous structures and tightly composed images betray his mathematical background, whereas the often autobiographical subjects reflect his working-class roots and outspoken political activism. His films are enquiries into the relation of time with the perception and understanding of the notion of space. In 1977 Benning set out to document the traces of urban decay in a valley of Milwaukee. His experiment resulted in sixty, static, one-minute shots of the industrialised metropolitan landscape and offers a carefully crafted meditation on destruction and progress. 27 years later Benning returns to the very scenery and captures the exact same shots with the same actors, the second time around using Milwaukee as a microcosm to explore how much the entire country has been affected by nearly three decades of industrialism. The time-travel that the confrontation of the two ‘identical’ films - based on the same soundtrack, - suggests, has subtly been tempered with making this film a genuine exploration of how memory functions.

2005, 121’24”, 16mm, colour, sound

The Ecran d’Art series is a monthly screening of artists’ film and/or video jointly organised by argos and Cinema Arenberg, in collaboration with La Cambre Academy.

James Benning, One Way Boogie Woogie, 2005  
  • Thu 10.5.2007
    21:30 - 21:30
  • Practical info

    Cinéma Arenberg
    Koninginnegalerij 26
    1000 Brussel

    Entrance fee:
    7 / 5,20 Euro

  • Artists