CalArts, Bijou Theater
FILM/VIDEO: "Ben Russell has invented his own cinematic territory, a hybrid expanse where, with rare felicitousness, two approaches that are almost opposite (experimental cinema and observational documentary) are reconciled, communicate and borrow from each other, producing a patently hypnotic result." - Cahiers du cinéma
LET EACH ONE GO WHERE HE MAY (135:00, 16mm, color, sound, 2009)
“Let Each One Go Where He May may be the culmination, for many reasons, not least of which is its gobsmacking formal majesty. But more significantly, Russell’s feature expands the specific problems of Maroon self-representation, and their necessary collaboration within it, to encompass concerns exigent to the experiential facts of being a 21st century body, of movement and adaptability, of self-presentation and dissimulation, of labour and the space that defines it.” - The Unbroken Path: Ben Russell’s Let Each One Go Where He May by Michael Sicinski, Cinemascope
“Let Each One Go Where He May (USA) is the stunning feature debut of celebrated Chicago-based filmmaker Ben Russell. The film traces the extensive journey of two unidentified brothers who venture from the outskirts of Paramaribo, Suriname, on land and through rapids, past a Maroon village on the Upper Suriname River, tracing the voyage undertaken by their ancestors, who escaped from slavery at the hands of the Dutch 300 years prior. Shot almost entirely with a 16mm Steadicam rig in thirteen extended tracking shots, this cartographic portrayal of contemporary Saramaccan culture is a rigorous and exquisite work that partakes in and dismantles traditional ethnography, inviting anachronism and myth-making to participate in the film’s daring conflation of history.” - Andréa Picard, TIFF
Ben Russell (b.1976, USA) is a media artist and curator whose films, installations, and performances foster a deep engagement with the history and semiotics of the moving image. Formal investigations of the historical and conceptual relationships between early cinema, documentary practices, and structuralist filmmaking result in immersive experiences concerned at once with ritual, communal spectatorship and the pursuit of a "psychedelic ethnography."
A 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship and 2010 FIPRESCI award recipient,Russell has had solo screenings and exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Rotterdam Film Festival, the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Viennale, threewalls in Chicago and the Museum of Modern Art. In 2004, he began the Magic Lantern screening series in Providence, Rhode Island, was co-director of the artist-run space "Ben Russell" in Chicago, IL (2009-2011), has toured worldwide with film/video/performance programs and played the light-sensitive skull in a double-drum trio called "Beast."
From 1994 to 1998, Russell attended Brown University, where he received a BA in arts and semiotics. Afterwards he traveled to Suriname with the Peace Corps. From 2000 to 2003, he studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he received an MFA in Film/Video/New Media. From 2006 to 2011 he taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
In collaboration with the British artist Ben Rivers, he is in post-production on a feature film titled A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness - concerning the romantic sublime, social utopia, and Norwegian black metal. He currently resides in Paris, France. – RedCat Curators’ Notes, Steve Anker and Bérénice Reynaud.
2004 Last Days
2005 The Twenty-One Lives of Billy the Kid
2005 The Red and the Blue Gods
2005 Black and White Trypps Number One
2006 Black and White Trypps Number Two
2006 Michoacan: La Muerte/El Traidor (co-directed with Sabine Gruffat)
2007 Black and White Trypps Number Three
2008 Tjuba Ten/The Wet Season (co-directed with Brigid McCaffrey)
2008 Black and White Trypps Number Four
2008 Trypps #5 (Dubai)
2008 Workers Leaving the Factory (Dubai)
2008 The Black and White Gods
2009 Trypps #6 (Malobi)
2009 Let Each One Go Where He May
2010 Trypps #7 (Badlands)
2011 River Rites
2011 Austerity Measures (co-directed with Guillaume Cailleau)