More than 25 years in the making, PEGGY AND FRED IN HELL follows two children, the eponymous Peggy and Fred, as they wander and make discoveries in an unspecified future. Part science-fiction, part comedy, part coming-of-age tale, part social critique, PEGGY AND FRED stands as one of the most inspired and consequential experimental works of the last quarter century.
In complex digital works that tread a line between film, video, and installation, Leslie Thornton examines how technologies dominate American culture, constructing our realities and shaping our sense of history, time, and the natural world. Thornton is best known for Peggy and Fred in Hell (1985–2010), a video series in which she presents a dystopian vision of two children apparently raised by a television set and living in isolation from others. More recently she produced Luna (2013), a triptych of vertical flat-screen monitors, each displaying shifting, kaleidoscopic images—fluctuating between representation and abstraction—of the iconic parachute jump tower at Coney Island. The 250-foot-tall ride, constructed in 1939, is envisioned in various different time periods, which Thornton alludes to through visual and aural effects. In earlier work, she incorporated archival footage related to Hiroshima and the atomic age, addressing themes of trauma and anxiety.
American, b. 1951, Oak Ridge, Tennessee
The Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn in Moving Image