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Christopher Bennie

Author 
Andrew Frost

Christopher Bennie’s videos capture the unseen mathematical beauty that underscores even the most seemingly insignificant event. Binary Equation [2001] is a single continuous shot of a public swimming pool at dusk. Lap swimmers create wave patterns on the water as reflections ripple across its surface. Off camera, a voice attempts an explanation of the mathematical concept of permutations. In the later work Mothership [2004] Bennie is seen dancing to minimal techno music in a tightly furnished and decorated lounge room. As the music slowly evolves, so do Bennie’s dance moves - variations in the dancer’s body movement accompany each change in the music. Although these videos avoid drawing an overly explicit parallel between what is seen and what is heard, the sound and image cue the viewer into the artist’s main concerns: finding patterns and repetitions within enclosed systems. 

To explore these ideas Bennie mixes science with science fiction. That Which Requires Space [2001] is a gently humorous homage to sci-fi cinema in which the artist plays with crudely constructed space ship models in the darkness of his backyard. One of the models is remarkably similar to the spaceship Discovery from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey [1967]. Bennie directly references Kubrick’s film in Down To Earth [2005], a trippy light show of lens refractions created by pointing the camera at a video projector. Although made using very limited means, Down To Earth suggests the planetary encounters of Kubrick’s masterpiece using nothing more than available light. In Supernova [2005], Bennie records a sideshow ride called The Whirlitzer in which giant cups spin on a huge carousel-like construction, sideshow workers providing a random element of movement.

Bennie’s recent video works have continued to explore his main thematic interests. The Average [2007] shows two people turning lights on an off in a darkened house while attempting to anticipate the changes to electronic music playing in the background; Pop [2007] documents the encounters of a tiger-shaped balloon with passers-by on a busy riverside promenade, while Elasticity [2007] is a recording of the patterns of movement on a woman’s buttocks.

Date 
b. 1975
Period of activity 
from 2001

Lives and works

NZ
Selected works
From The Aliens Back, via d'archive
From The Aliens Back, via d'archive – from The Aliens Back, via d/Archive