Sandra Binion
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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, sound, and photography. 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. My proposal is to exhibit these elements, along with some objects used in their creation. DISTILLÉ is not a recreation of the original narrative structure, but instead a collection of images and scenes redistributed as an installation of evocative moments, impressions, and fragments -- a remembering (re-membering) of the book in video, sound, photographs, and objects, conjuring associations and poetic states without words.

My plan is to present the elements of DISTILLÉ in a way that responds directly to the architecture and atmosphere of the site. My current thinking is that the photographs will be presented in a large book (40cm x 50cm) placed on a reading stand; the videos will appear on several monitors; three sound pieces will playback through small loudspeakers; and objects used in the project will be placed in a glass-door cabinet. This may be changed or adapted, of course, during the installation process as the space suggests its own possibilities.

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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 video, son et photographie. 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. Ce que je propose de faire, c’est d’exposer ces éléments, en plus de certains objets qui ont servi à leur creation. DISTILLÉ n’est pas une recréation du récit original, mais plutôt une collection d’images et de scènes redistribuées comme installation de moments, d’impressions et de fragments évocateurs – un re-membrement du livre en video, son, photographie et objets, qui conjurent associations et états poétiques sans mots.

Je projette de présenter les éléments de DISTILLÉ d’une manière qui réponde directement à l’architecture et à l’ambiance du site. Ce que j’ai en tête, à présent, c’est de presenter les photographies dans un grand livre (40cm x 50cm) placé sur un lutrin; les videos apparaîtront sur plusieurs moniteurs; trois morceaux sonores se feront entendre de petits haut-parleurs, et des objets employés dans le projet seront placés dans une cabinet à portes-vitrées. Tout cela pourra être changé ou adapté pendant le procédé de l’installation, selon les possibilités suggérées par l’espace disponible.

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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.