At Bennington, students work closely with faculty to design the content, structure, and sequence of their study and practice—their Plan—taking advantage of resources inside and outside the classroom to pursue their work.
We practice video at Bennington in the framework of visual art, casting a wide net that encompasses analog and digital, experimental and documentary, critical and poetic approaches to the medium. Students make films, videos, and installations in a dynamic studio environment that includes production facilities, editing and screening rooms, and the breathtaking landscape of the campus itself. We emphasize formal innovation, conceptual rigor, historical consciousness and the capacity to collaborate as hallmarks of a vibrant moving image practice. Students analyze works from film history alongside contemporary art in order to build a vocabulary to articulate their own perspectives and critique one another’s work. Students learn the fundamentals of form (composition, mise-en-scène, lighting, editing, sound) in harmony with thematic inquiry (politics, race, gender, social justice, the environment) before pursuing advanced independent work. Courses in animation, media studies, music, dance, drama, and across the humanities are crucial to broadening students’ perspective and essential to making work that is significant, relevant, and alive to the possibilities of video today.
In her work as a documentary filmmaker and film editor, Kate Purdie focuses on finding and portraying insights into the human experience by delving into lives and ideas that speak to themes of work, family, and community.
Visiting Faculty & Technicians
Ilana Harris-Babou uses music videos, cooking shows and home improvement television as material in an abject exploration of the American Dream. She works primarily in ceramic sculpture and video installation and frames messy scenes with studio lighting and HD video in order to ask questions about intimacy, violence and consumption.
Fern Silva uses moving image to produce a sonic and cinematographic language for the hybrid mythologies of globalism. His films consider methods of narrative, ethnographic, and documentary filmmaking as the starting point for structural experimentation.