James Benning is an independent filmmaker from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. To most, Benning’s cinema can come as a shock, even intimidating. His films extend the audience’s direct gaze- exploring the properties of both the world and our perceptual apparatus, typically with a static camera- into increasingly extreme duration. His career has been equally restless, ranging from his early experimentation with an avant-garde aesthetic to his embrace, during the 1980s and 90s, of explicitly autobiographical elements and increased human content. With his “California Trilogy” (2000-2001) Benning entered a new phase, refining his formalist style and political concerns while distilling his abiding interest in place and organizational structures. His most recent works suggests that duration and a rigorous formal aesthetic can give way to films that allow us to see differently and read the inscription of the political in the places that surround us.
James Benning is featured in Edition: Guest Editor, Stephan Breuer