Winter Sleep, based on a poem by Sheri Benning from her collection, Field Requiem (Carcanet Press), offers affective critique of the agroindustry in prairie Canada. The poem and film, in conversation, ask viewers to reckon with the devastating socio-environmental impact of agribusiness, a clarifying task in re-conceiving new horizons for being here.
Written and Produced by Sheri Benning / Concept by Heather Benning / Direction, Cinematography and Edit by Chad Galloway /
Performed by Andrea McCrimmon / Location Audio by Devon Cooke / Visual Effects by Jack French
By 1913 about a million people, including the artist’s family, had settled the Canadian prairies, reined in by the nation’s grid system of land division that disregarded the natural terrain and displaced Indigenous and Métis people from their traditional homes. A hundred years later, Saskatchewan is littered with abandoned farmyards while even the most vulnerable prairie terrain is under cultivation. Today Saskatchewan’s crisis of place is the unsettling of the settler farm in the face the devastating socio-economic impacts of agribusiness.
For Winter Sleep, Heather Benning collaborated with her sister, the poet Sheri Benning. The central motif is a kitchen table and chairs falling from a pile of grain. Harvest disrupted, instead of the bounty of the farm, a way of life collapses. Together the poem and the sculpture form a gut-wretching fever dream, where the past collides with the present, calling for a reckoning and a different kind of future in this place.
During the creation of this Project Benning collaborated with Sheri and Chad Galloway to create the film Winter Sleep.
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