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The 3-channel video installation Untitled Fragments brings together four histories: the 1860s scorched earth policy of Kit Carson used to drive out the Navajos from their homeland in Canyon de Chelly, the 1967 execution of Che Guevara in Bolivia, the 1972 carpet bombing of Hanoi, and the 2016 Cedar Fire in the California Sierras. The radio transmission is from a US Air Force B-52 (Stratofortress Bomber, code name Lilac 02) recorded on the evening of December 26, 1972 during which 116 B-52s attacked Hanoi and Haiphong dropping all of their bombs within 15 minutes. The recording was declassified in 2016. The installation is part of a larger project that further includes paintings, drawings, serigraphs, tapestries, film loops, and historical objects.

James Benning, born in 1942 in Milwaukee, USA, began working as an independent filmmaker in 1972, even before studying film at the University of Wisconsin. From 1977 to 1980 he taught at the universities of California and Oklahoma, then moved to New York to continue his work as an independent filmmaker. In 2009 he switched from 16mm to digital filmmaking. Since then his work has included installation and site specific art with many shows in galleries and museums. Besides his current film/art work, Benning has taught at the California Institute of the Arts since 1987. Last year he was a visiting artist at the International Film and TV School (EICTV) in Cuba.

Format: 3-channel video installation, color
Running time: 75 min
Language: English

Photo: © James Benning

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media
  • Logo des Programms NeuStart Kultur