16mm outdoor film screening of James Benning's Ten Skies

On April 22 and 23, Assistant Professor James Hansen hosted an outdoor 16mm film screening of artist James Benning's Ten Skies. The film was rented from Canyon Cinema. A book on the film is soon to be published by Fireflies Press.


Ten shots of the sky, each ten minutes long. That’s all it takes to describe James Benning’s film from 2004. And yet, this simplicity conceals a rich and absorbing drama, one of the great works of the American avant-garde. (Fireflies Press)

"This 16-millimeter experimental feature (2004) by James Benning consists of ten upward views from a stationary camera, each ten minutes long and filmed with sync sound from his backyard in southern California. I expected something minimalist, but in fact this is remarkably full—a mesmerizing study in time, light, movement, and moisture that traces the shifting relations between clouds and earth, nature and people. Benning is so attentive that he teaches us how to look and listen, and once we adjust our plot-driven expectations, things that might have seemed static at first are revealed as constantly changing. If you're expecting a test or an ordeal, you could be as surprised by this masterpiece, and as grateful for it, as I was...Part of the epic achievement of Benning’s TEN SKIES is to confound expectations of minimalism with a mesmerising study of time, light, movement and moisture that traces the shifting relations between clouds and earth, nature and people, teaching us how to look and listen in the process." -Jonathan Rosenbaum

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