At Media City Seoul 2010

Attica (2008)

16 mm film

Seoul Museum of Art, Glass Room Gallery

Artist Profile

Born 1966; Lives and works in Brussels

Manon de Boer’s films investigate the multilayered relations between time, memory, language, and truth through aural and visual interpretations. She is particularly well-known for her series of portrait films that document and reveal the inner thoughts and memories of various people.

Attica, created in collaboration with musicians, is a visual translation of two pieces by the American composer Frederic Rzewski, who was inspired by a 1971 revolt at the Attica Correctional Facility in New York when inmates, demanding their human rights, took over the institution; the uprising ended with 43 fatalities, among them prison officers who had been held as hostages

Attica opens with the last part of Rzewski’s “Coming Together”, a piece based on a letter written by Sam Melville, an inmate killed during the riot. In the spring of 1971, Melville wrote a letter to a friend describing his experience of the flow of time. Rzewksi’s “Attica” tells the story of Richard X. Clark, one of the instigators of the revolt. Upon his release, when a journalist asked him how he felt leaving Attica behind, he replied, “Attica is in front of me.” Jan Rzewski, the composer’s son, repeats these words as a refrain throughout the piece. Shot in 16mm format, De Boer’s film is composed of a 360-degree panning shot that begins showing the musicians one by one as the music plays, leaving them to encompass the entire setting in a circle, and finally ends by returning to the opening frame.


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