Holt/Smithson Foundation Friday Films — "Pine Barrens" on May 8, 2020
Through April and May 2020 Holt/Smithson Foundation invites you to join us for our Friday Film Program.
Every Friday until the end of May we present a selected moving image work by Nancy Holt and/or Robert Smithson on Vimeo and IGTV for twenty-four hours. The program starts at 12 noon Friday on Mountain Time (the time zone of our home base in New Mexico), and runs to 12 noon on Saturday.
Our sixth Friday screening continues our journey to New Jersey with Nancy Holt’s 1975 film Pine Barrens. The film will be available between 12 noon Friday May 8 and 12 noon MDT Saturday May 9.
In an article published in the Rumbles section of the magazine Avalanche (No.11, Summer 1975) Nancy Holt describes how the “Pine Barrens is a wilderness of sand and pine trees 1,000 square miles in area in the central part of southern New Jersey. It’s the forgotten land of the northeastern urban belt: New York is an hour and 45 minutes away to the north, Philadelphia to the west, Atlantic City to the south.” Holt grew up in New Jersey: from the age of eight she made regular visits to the Pine Barrens, and started filming the area in 1968.
Pine Barrens is a dynamic portrait of the New Jersey wilderness, shot on 16mm film by Holt as she ventures through a strikingly desolate landscape. The camera is in constant motion. She films while driving and walking, and makes two circular pans - one handheld, one from a tripod. The soundtrack comprises interviews with local “Pineys” and the music of Bill Patton’s Pine Barrens Trio, local musicians who played regularly at the Green Bank Inn.
Holt was consistently interested in listening to people telling their own stories. In Pine Barrens it is the Pineys who describe their home. Holt recorded seven hours of interviews, choosing fifteen minutes for this film. “A Piney is a person who’s lived in the Pines all their life and seldom ever goes to a city, because we don’t care for the city. There’s too many people there. We like to be more alone, you know. I’m not cutting the city down or nothin’ like that, but here you got open spaces, you got a tree to go to if you know what I mean, and stuff like that.” As they talk, the Pineys show their pride and vexation for the fruitless land they call home.
As the Pineys relate their struggles to make a living and describe supernatural encounters with the “Jersey Devil,” Holt’s lens intimately investigates the site, revealing the beauty of its details.
Still from Nancy Holt, Pine Barrens (1975)
Pine Barrens, New Jersey, USA
16 mm film
Duration: 30 minutes, 34 seconds
© Holt/Smithson Foundation, licensed by VAGA at ARS, New York
Distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix