The latest iteration of my multimedia project Distillé is being presented at the Maison de George Sand in Nohant, France, from October 7 - November 26, 2017. Distillé re-figures imagery from Gustave Flaubert's novel Madame Bovary through video, sound, photographs, scents, and objects. In homage to the profound and complex friendship between George Sand and Gustave Flaubert, this iteration of Distillé is an intervention into Sand's home, where Flaubert and many others were guests of one of the 19th century's most remarkable women. Intermingling the spirits of the two writers, the installation permeates the rooms, corridors, and stairways of the Maison de George Sand. It is an intervention through invitation, and like the many guests invited by George Sand into her home, it seeks both to conform to the hospitality of its surroundings and to remain resolutely itself.

En hommage à la profonde et complexe amitié entre George Sand et Gustave Flaubert, je présente Distillé à la Maison de George Sand dans Nohant, le 7 octobre - 26 novembre, 2017. L'installation choisit et retravaille les images et sons que j'ai tirés du roman de Flaubert, Madame Bovary, et les réintègre dans une série d'associations poétiques qui font revivre les chambres, les couloirs et les escaliers de la Maison de George Sand. C'est une invitation à rencontrer un hôte de George Sand. À l'image des nombreux invités d'autrefois, l'installation cherche à la fois respecter l'hospitalité de Sand et à demeurer tout à fait elle-même.

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DISTILLÉ, as the title suggests, is the distillation of an existing work into a new form – specifically, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, a book that has been with me my entire life. I first read Madame Bovary when I was thirteen, and re-read it several times as an adolescent. At the time it represented a warning regarding the consequences of leading a singular, sensual life, but it also functioned as a call to adventure. It continues to impress, move, and trouble me, embodying the conflicts of passion, religion, family, and fulfillment, brought to life through Flaubert’s extraordinary capacity for detail and linguistic rhythm. DISTILLÉ takes a multi-disciplinary form, including video, photographs, objects, sounds, and scents. My method has been to extract from Madame Bovary an abundance of images, from which I constructed a storyboard, and then, with the performance actress Eponine Cuervo Moll, interpreted these scenes in the landscape of Berry in central France. The result is a series of video vignettes edited into short imagistic episodes, digital photographs focusing on details of the environs, and sound recordings capturing the acoustic atmosphere. In none of these cases do I use Flaubert’s language, preferring to let the images work as open referents, rather than illustrations of the text.

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DISTILLÉ, comme le suggère le titre, est la distillation d’une oeuvre déjà existante en une forme nouvelle –dans ce cas, Madame Bovary de Flaubert, livre qui m’a suivie toute ma vie. J’ai lu Madame Bovary pour la première fois à l’âge de 13 ans, et je l’ai relu plusieurs fois pendant mon adolescence. A cette époque, ce roman montrait pour moi les risques d’une vie singulière et sensuelle, mais c’était aussi un appel à l’aventure. Ce livre m’impressionne encore, m’émeut et m’agite, en ce qu’il incarne les conflits nés de la passion, de la religion, de la famille et de l’accomplissement auxquels le grand pouvoir qu’a Flaubert pour les détails et pour le rythme de la phrase donne vie. DISTILLÉ prend une forme multi-disciplinaire, incluant les vidéos, les photos, les objets, les sons et les odeurs. Ma méthode a été d’extraire de Madame Bovary une abondance d’images à partir desquelles j’ai construit une table de montage séquentiel, et puis, à l’aide de l’actrice Eponine Cuervo Moll, j’ai interprété ces scenes dans le paysage du Berry au centre de la France. Le résultat en est une série de vignettes video éditées en courts episodes d’images, de photographies digitales qui portent sur des details des environs, et des enregistrements de sons qui en capturent l’ambiance acoustique. En aucun de ces cas, je n’emploie la langue de Flaubert, préférant laisser les images jouer leur role de referents, plutôt que d’employer des exemples du texte du roman.

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Sandra Binion is an interdisciplinary artist who makes live performances, video installations, and visual artworks. Her video installations focus on distilling new associations from her travels by recontextualizing these images in particular architectural settings. She has presented over 40 performances and installations since 1978 at numerous festivals, galleries, museums, and theaters in the US, Canada, and Europe, including the Sakyadhita International Conference, Vaishaili, India; Il Borgo degli Agrumi, Buggiano Castello, Pistoia, Italy; the Hyde Park Art Center; PAC/edge Performance Festival Chicago (for which she was given two consecutive Excellence in Visual Exhibition Awards); Evanston Art Center;Columbia College Art + Design Gallery;Fourth Presbyterian Church Chicago; Plan B in Santa Fe; Galerie Nuova Icona in Venice, Italy; University of California Berkeley; Kunstraum Stuttgart; Powerhouse Gallery Montreal, and others. Her most recent project, Rough Beauty, was presented in May 2012 in the hamlet of Tereglio, Lucca, Italy. Ms. Binion holds a BFA in Dance from the University of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music, and an MFA in Filmmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has received grants from the DEW Foundation, Reale Mutua Assicurazioni, the Pro Suecia Foundation, American Scandinavian Foundation, Genline, SWEA-Chicago, Hugh M. Hefner Foundation, the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Illinois Arts Council, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Art Matters Inc., and the Goethe-Institute. Sandra lives in the Chicago area and is married to audio artist, Lou Mallozzi, who is director of the non-profit Experimental Sound Studio. They are frequent collaborators.