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Matinee: 'American Derelicts' Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

25 June 2022

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 454th in our series of Saturday matinees today: American Derelicts.

This 3:44 video from C. Grimaldis Gallery presents American Derelicts, a solo exhibition by Baltimore-based photographer Ben Marcin. The exhibit, which includes images from three of Marcin's projects, runs through July 9 at the gallery.

A self-taught photographer, Mancin's photographic essays, which have been exhibted internationally, have been reviewed by The Washington Post, The Paris Review, Slate, Hyperallergic and Wired Magazine, among others.

The three projects represented in this exhibit are A House Apart, Out West, and Last House Standing, which together explore themes of history, memory and the passing of time. They vary in location, taken in three different parts of the country, and in the people who once inhabited them.

A House Apart shows abandoned homes on the remote eastern shoreline of the Delmarva Peninsula while Out West depicts solitary structures from the Dust Bowl still standing in the Great Plains. Last House Standing tells the tale of urban poverty and decay in Baltimore City.

Mancin walks us through the exhibit himself. And we see both how the images are hung as well as full-screen representations of them. Some of which are sequences showing a site's demise over time.

"I'm not really interested in the house as a ruin," he explains. "I'm interested more in the context of its environment and how it sits." There is no car, no mailbox, no sign of life. Just the structure in the landscape.

He doesn't need to know why the building was abandoned. "It's more important that the answers are open-ended."

Unlike the other two projects, there is an element of defiance in Last House Standing, he says. "Some of these people fought back," he notes.

Fighting back. Now there's a thought.

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