Endurance Performance Proposition #1 (Birth of a Nation)

Six performers enact, frame by frame, what is both the first great chase of Cinema, and one of the most infamous and distasteful moments of American film history–the Flora/Gus scene from D.W. Griffith’s 1916 blockbuster. Griffith’s filmic language remains ubiquitous: his editing, tension, suspension, parallel plots, and onscreen movement of a body–originally deployed for White Supremacist purposes and riddled with his own perverse erotic desire–is now part of our own DNA as viewers.

To defamiliarize and exorcise Griffith’s tactics from our bodies, my performers repeated the sequence for as long as it took to submit to total exhaustion.  When we presented it at the Greater LA MFA show in 2010, the piece ran for four hours.


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