James Benning, born in 1942 in Milwaukee, USA, began working as an independent filmmaker in 1972, even before studying film at the University of Wisconsin. From 1977 to 1980 he taught at the universities of California and Oklahoma, then moved to New York to continue his work as an independent filmmaker. In 2009 he switched from 16mm to digital filmmaking. Since then his work has included installation and site specific art with many shows in galleries and museums. Besides his current film/art work, Benning has taught at the California Institute of the Arts since 1987. Benning has employed diverse methods, themes, structures, and aesthetics, investigating narrative and anti-narrative modes, personal history, race, collective memory, place, industry, and landscape. His philosophy of “landscape as a function of time,” and “Looking and Listening” is particularly evident in his films since 1999 in the form of fixed, stable shots. These shots often shift viewers’ experience of time in relation to a specific space, which can unfold through autobiographical, cultural, political and historical perspectives. His explorations of place and landscape, race, personal history and collective memory are unified by a characteristic formal rigour. Benning’s philosophy of “Looking and Listening” manifests in the performative, sculptural, architectural and pictorial components of his works, challenging viewers’ habitual ways of seeing and listening.