Tacita Dean on location for JG at Intrepid Potash, Wendover, Utah, with Ponds Supervisor, Russ Draper, and his daughter, Jessica (May 2012). Photograph: Richard Torchia.
Tacita Dean, JG, 2013. Color and black and white anamorphic 35mm film with optical sound, 26 ½ minutes. ©Tacita Dean courtesy Frith Street Gallery, London/Marian Goodman Gallery, New York/Paris.
Tacita Dean filming JG.
Center funding made possible a new 26 1/2-minute work in 35mm anamorphic film by Berlin-based, British artist Tacita Dean. Titled JG in homage to the writer J.G. Ballard, the film was shot on location in the saline landscapes of Utah and central California and was inspired, in part, by Dean's correspondence with Ballard, his short story "The Voices of Time" (1960), and Robert Smithson's iconic earthwork and film Spiral Jetty (both works, 1970). Ballard advised Dean to treat Smithson's jetty "as a mystery that her film [would] solve."
Dean made JG using her patented process of gate masking, wherein multiple scenes, shot at different times, are combined into composite images. Because gate masking requires that the 35mm film be run through the camera several times, the analogue process is time-consuming and risky. But the resulting images are wonderfully tactile and echo the collapsing of time so prevalent in Ballard's work.
In addition to supporting the making and exhibition of the film, the grant supported a separate presentation of three of Ballard's favorite films at International House Philadelphia; lectures by V. Vale (RE/Search Editions) and Richard Wertime (professor of English, Arcadia University) on Ballard; a lecture by Shekhar Deshpande, professor of media arts at Arcadia University) on the impending extinction of film as a medium; and lectures by both the artist and the curator, Richard Torchia, Arcadia University Art Gallery's director.