PRINT May 2007



Matthew Buckingham, The Spirit and the Letter, 2007, color video, 18 minutes 30 seconds. Production still. Mary Wollstonecraft (Kate Miles). Photo: Romain Forquy.

WHETHER EXPLORING the colonial history of the Hudson River, recounting the life story of a freed slave in the American Northeast, staging a tale by Edgar Allan Poe, or recording his own attempts to discover the origin of four home movies from the 1920s found on a Manhattan street, Matthew Buckingham, in his film and video projects, often seems also to be documenting the exploits of an amateur enthusiast: himself. Indeed, the New York–based artist’s practice might be seen as sharing common ground with the fast-growing hobby of historical reenactment, involving as it does the exhaustive researching and re-presenting of the past. Yet Buckingham is less interested in accurately portraying earlier times than in considering how any investigations of what went before inevitably reflect back on our current condition. Buckingham’s works frequently include accounts of his own involvement

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