Shot, Edited and Produced by Ruth K. Burke. Soundtrack "Garden" by Methods Body.
Black Dirt is an experimental cinematic essay that utilizes reflexive, subjective, poetic narration to personify the now-disappearing Midwest prairie. Visual methodologies layer, reveal, appropriate, and obscure the history of a landscape, once rich in biodiversity and now colonized, to build a body around a perpetually inaccessible narrator. The work was shot on site at farms around the Midwest United States and appropriates footage and partial phrases from the 1936 propaganda video The Plow that Broke the Plains, directed by Pare Lorentz. The text, spoken in first person, appears only on screen, inviting a viewer to insert their own ideas of voice, intonation, and cadence in speech and pattern. Black Dirt asserts overarching questions of who speaks for the land, and what might she say if we could listen.
This work is currently being submitted to film festivals. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a private screening link.