Harpo Foundation is pleased to have supported the publication James Benning / Two Cabins, a project-based book that documents, frames, and analyses a body of work that James Benning has been researching and developing for the past three years.
Edited by Julie Ault, the book includes photography by James Benning, essays by Julie Ault, James Benning, and Dick Hebdige, and extracts from Thoreau’s and Kaczynski’s writings and is a co-publication between A.R.T. Press, NY and East of Borneo, and California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA.
For this project, Benning reconstructed Henry David Thoreau’s and Ted Kaczynski’s iconic cabins, and uses these structures to reflect on utopian and dystopian versions of social isolation. Mounted on the walls of each cabin are copies of paintings by so-called outsider artists, also made by Benning. On the surface Benning’s two cabins are night and day, invoking contradictory sets of reclusive intentions and divergent paths leading back out. Deeper inquiry reveals the Thoreau / Kaczynski equation to be inspired. Benning’s engagement makes discernable a multitude of contacts between their motivations, beliefs, and experiences of seclusion. Benning’s armature artfully unfolds a complex articulation of practices of dissent, nonprescriptive ways of living, and the politics of solitude.
Text source from A.R.T Press website where you may visit for more details.