Discipline: Film/Video – documentary

Ben Russell

Discipline: Film/Video – documentary
Region: Paris, FRANCE
MacDowell Fellowships: 2014

Ben Russell is a media artist and curator whose films, installations, and performances foster a deep engagement with the history and semiotics of the moving image. Formal investigations of the historical and conceptual relationships between early cinema, documentary practices, and structuralist filmmaking result in immersive experiences concerned at once with ritual, communal spectatorship, and the pursuit of a “psychedelic ethnography.”

A 2008 Guggenheim Fellowship and 2010 FIPRESCI award recipient, Russell has had solo screenings and exhibitions at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Rotterdam Film Festival, the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, the Viennale in Vienna, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He began the Magic Lantern screening series in Providence, RI, and, was co-director of the artist-run space BEN RUSSELL in Chicago, IL, Russell has toured worldwide with film/video/performance programs, and was named by Cinema Scope in 2012 as one of the “50 Best Filmmakers Under 50.”

During his time at MacDowell, Russell is working on audio compositions via modular synthesis, and editing a film installation about Xhosa dream divination and Christian animists from Swaziland. He lives between the U.S. and Europe and is currently calling every new location home.



Ben Russell worked in the Nef studio.

Nef Studio, the first entirely new studio built after 1937, was donated by esteemed photographer, explorer, author, and MacDowell Fellow Evelyn Steffanson Nef in 1992. Endowed funds for the studio’s maintenance in perpetuity and an annual Fellowship for photographers were given in addition to funds for construction. Mrs. Nef said she had known about MacDowell all her…

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