James Benning has played a central role in the history of American independent cinema. He is well known as the structuralist and documentarist who introduced the dimension of cinematic time into the landscape. His experimental work has screened around the world at the Vienna International Festival, London Film Festival, Rotterdam, Berlin, Museum of Modern Art, and Whitney Museum Biennials. Benning’s work is not easily categorized as he fuses elements of American structuralism, narrative avant-garde and experimental documentary. He is also professor of experimental filmmaking at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles.
James Raymond is a L.A. based artist but has lived in many other exotic locations such as Hudson, New York and Baltimore, Maryland. He specializes in making video about TV culture, psychedelic and traumatic experiences. Raymonds’ work has been exhibited at the Human Resources Gallery in Los Angeles, The Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and a group show curated by Heat Lightning Exhibit in Miami.
Experimental filmmaker James Benning and video artist James Raymond collaborate to create a world founded on modern day fears. Together they present a darker image of chainsaws, teddy bears, porno and masked men.
James Benning confronted his student James Raymond to collaborate on a project. They decided each would make one half. James Raymond was in production on a new project called Terrodrome and sent a clip to Benning not knowing what his response would be. Several months later Benning presented STIHL.
STIHL brings a new chapter to Bennings’ work by abandoning the content of landscapes shot on film and HD and replacing it with grungy found footage of commercials and pornographic images mined from the depths of the internet. While the American iconography is still present in the work, the aethstetic of the movie is radically different from any of Bennings previous work and envisions a darker world than ever before.
James Raymond’s contribution shares the same dark sense of humor and American iconography but portrays a completely different approach. The scene envisions a masked man dismembering stuffed animals with an overtly large chainsaw. While the image depicts the loss of innocence, the scene digs much deeper into the psychosis of the creator’s mind. Together both halves of STHIL create a fantasy world founded on insecurities and fears of the modern world.
EDITOR: James Benning
ACTOR: James Raymond
PHOTOGRAPHY: David Soffa
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: Travis Kniffen
Somewhere between time, space and imagination lies a world called Terrodrome.
The place hasn’t really been the same since the psychopathic Dark Wizard took over. He has been kidnapping innocent people from other worlds and turning Terrodrome into his personal dungeon. The only chance for Terrodrome to survive lies in the hands of a teddy bear-robed warrior and a young girl determined to rescue her captured boyfriend. Together they travel across a magical world meeting various different monsters and villains.
Heavily inspired by children’s movies, Terrodrome presents a darker and more adult version of The Never Ending Story and Dark Crystal.
Terrodrome combines many different genres such as comedy, action and horror to create a new cinematic experience.
Work in Progress, to be released Summer 2012