Visibility Machines Film Program: Ten Skies

Tuesday, February 11 | 6:00 p.m.
Visibility Machines Film Program: Ten Skies
Presented by the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture at Johns Hopkins University (off-campus event)

The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture presents a two-night film program curated by Sonja Simonyi in conjunction with the exhibition Visibility Machines: Harun Farocki and Trevor Paglen. For this evening, Trevor Paglen has chosen Ten Skies (James Benning, 2004, United States, color, 109 minutes, 16mm) and Drone Vision (Trevor Paglen, 2010, United States, b&w, 5 minutes, video).

Trevor Paglen’s selection, James Benning’s Ten Skies, shows the skies and the continuous shifts in cloud formations above and around Val Verde, a small town in California. A formally rigorous work, it documents the effects of the physical transformation of the landscape below, brought about by natural processes as well as marks of human intrusion into the setting, such as wildfires and industrial pollution. This poetic experimental film, displaying a series of static shots, provides evocative links with Paglen’s work, for whom the sky frequently becomes an abstracted sphere in which one can probe, and potentially detect traces of military activity. Importantly, despite the seemingly unassuming subject matter of Ten Skies, Benning has repeatedly highlighted its political significance as an “anti-war artwork … about the antithesis of war, the kind of beauty we’re destroying.” The screening will follow Paglen’s video Drone Vision, which shows images as recorded by a momentarily aimless drone, as the machine eerily mimics the wandering motions of human vision.

This screening is presented in association with the Center for Advance Media Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and will be held at the AV Center, Milton S. Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus, 3400 N. Charles Street in Baltimore City. Admission is free.

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