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Jeanne C. Finley and John Muse Present Major Project in Connecticut
Jeanne C. Finley and John Muse, Leatherman in Saybrook, 2009. Courtesy of the artists

RIDGEFIELD, CT.- The collaborative team of Jeanne C. Finley and John Muse have based their first major project in the northeast on the sweep of over 200 years of Ridgefield, Connecticut’s, history. The exhibition will debut on Sunday, January 31, 2010.

The exhibition, entitled Sleeping Under Stars, Living Under Satellites, explores different ways of keeping time and moving through space by presenting the wanderings of legendary historical figures from Ridgefield, Sarah Bishop and the Leatherman. The paths of these figures will be traced by the artists through the use of multi-channel video projection, sculptural elements, and geo-caching, an online, GPS-driven treasure hunt.

Finley and Muse have created three new Ridgefield-centric geo-caching circuits. One is based on the Three Hundredth Anniversary Parade Route, which passes several historic buildings in town; and the other two simulate routes traveled by the historical figures: Bishop, a hermit who lived for over 30 years after the Revolutionary War in a small cave on the east side of West Mountain between North Salem and Ridgefield; and a wandering vagrant who was nick-named the Leatherman because of his 60-pound handmade animal-skin suit. The Leatherman completed a 365-mile clockwise circuit through parts of New York and Connecticut with rigid regularity every 34 days between the years of 1856 and 1889.

Viewers will discover elements of the exhibition both in the Museum’s gallery and on routes taken by Bishop, the Leatherman, and the artists—who will place artifacts in local caches to commemorate and repeat the journeys of the historical figures. The project comes into focus in the gallery—a cache included on all of the routes—where there will be a replica of Sarah Bishop’s cave as well as an observatory where various video components create visual and sonic rhythms that regulate the relations of the three circuits. The hermit’s life is based on changing seasons; the vagrant ticked off the days, year after year, on his industrious regimented route; and the days of contemporary Ridgefield inhabitants are marked by the minutes and seconds of their hand-held devices.

Since 1988, Jeanne C. Finley and John Muse have worked collaboratively on numerous experimental documentaries and installations. These works have been exhibited nationally and internationally, at festivals and museums, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Biennial, San Francisco International Film Festival, Berlin Video Festival, and World Wide Video Festival. In 2001 they received a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship. Additional awards include a Creative Capital Foundation Grant and an Artists Residency at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.

The exhibition ends on June 6, 2010 at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum.

Connecticut | Jeanne C. Finley | John Muse | Sleeping Under Stars |

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