THE PINE BARRENS
by David Scott Kessler, featuring a live score by
THE RUINS OF FRIENDSHIP ORCHESTRA
A wilderness, sculpted by fire, stands defiant of the encroaching megalopolis surrounding it. Once deemed inhospitable, individuals made their homes here. Through a veil of folklore and myth, their sense of identity is inexorably linked to the diminishing island of darkness in a sea of traffic and lights within the most densely populated state in the nation - New Jersey.
The film, by 2015 Pew Arts and Heritage Fellow David Scott Kessler, is an epic tone-poem, where raging forest fires and crackling campfires generate rebirth of the physical ecology and the identity of the land and its inhabitants. It is a celebration of nature and a portrait of a particular place, but one that casts doubt on its knowability, and our ability to discern reality from superstition. The Pine Barrens explores the symbiotic yet sometimes destructive relationship between man and nature. Through moments with individuals spanning several years, it reveals the influence of place on identity during a period of gradual loss of both a way of life and of the environment that gave birth to it.
by Nancy Holt
1975, 30:24 min, color, sound, 16 mm film on HD video
"Pine Barrens is concerned with evoking through film a barren wilderness in south-central New Jersey. The camera is always in motion — tracking, pivoting, and walking through the landscape. Though they are never seen in the film, the voices of the local people, the 'Pineys,' are heard relating their feelings about the land, their attitudes about city life, their myths of the area, etc. their voices and the music of 'Bill Patton's Pine Barrens Trio' add a psychological dimension to the landscape." — Nancy Holt
Nancy Holt (April 5, 1938 – February 8, 2014) was an American artist most known for her public sculpture, installation art, and land art. Throughout her career, Holt also produced works in other media, including film and photography, and wrote books and articles about art. The creator of some of the most significant Earthworks of the Land Art movement, Nancy Holt’s exterior installations and public sculpture exist in dialogue with the elements and perceptions of time and space.