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Winchester, from the Winchester Trilogy

2002
21st century

Jeremy Blake (Fort Sill, Oklahoma, 1971 - 2007, New York) Primary

Object Type: time based media
Artist Nationality: North America, American
Medium and Support: Digital animation with sound
Credit Line: Partial and pledged gift of Jeanne and Michael Klein, 2003
Temp ID: T2003.1

According to Jeremy Blake, “Winchester is the first in a series of short, continuously looping films inspired by my interest in the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California. The mansion is an architectural wonder constructed by Sarah Winchester—widow of the heir to the Winchester rifle fortune—over the course of thirty-eight years, beginning in the late 1800s. After . . . the premature death of her husband and child, Winchester . . . decided that the angry spirits of those struck down by her family’s guns had cursed her . . . [and she resolved to] build an enormously large house [to] ward off evil ones with the sounds of never-ending construction. The result is a sprawling mansion . . . with staircases going nowhere, doorways leading out into open air several stories above ground, and miles of darkened hallways to roam.
“This DVD work, which combines static 16mm shots of old photographs of the house and intricate frame-by-frame digital retouching, is meant to provide an abstract or emotional tour . . . of some of the more fearful chambers of Sarah Winchester’s mind. Paranoiac glimpses of shadowy gunfighters, painterly gunshot wounds blossoming into Rorschach tests, and a spectral and embattled American flag derived from an old Winchester advertisement are all made visible to the careful observer.”

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