@ San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Texts of Light I: A Mid-Career Retrospective of Fourteen Films by David Gatten
Secret History of the Dividing Line, A True Account in Nine Parts—Parts I–IV
series curated by Chris Stults, Film/Video Curator at the Wexner Center for the Arts and presented in association with the San Francisco Center for the Book and the Prelinger Library
screening presented in association with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
David Gatten In Person
David Gatten has been producing a cycle of films that take inspiration from the library of William Byrd II, an American colonial writer, planter and government official. Sweeping in scope, Byrd’s collection of about 4000 volumes was one of the largest in early 18th century North America and a conduit for introducing important works of European philosophical and political thought to the continent. Since happening upon Byrd’s little-known title The Secret History of the Dividing Line, along with its better-known companion History of the Dividing Line, Gatten has delved into the Virginian’s life in four films thus far (eventually the project will encompass nine films under the overall title Secret History of the Dividing Line, A True Account in Nine Parts). Focusing on specific volumes from the library, letters and personal papers, Gatten’s series probes the relationship between printed words and images, philosophical ideas, historical records and biography. Throughout, his thematic concerns are realized in an array of cinematic processes and techniques, constituting a parallel survey of the medium’s history. (Henriette Huldisch, 2006 Whitney Biennial Catalogue) Program to include: Secret History of the Dividing Line; The Great Art of Knowing; Moxon’s Mechanick Exercises, or, The Doctrine of Handy-Works Applied to the Art of Printing; and The Enjoyment of Reading (Lost and Found).