The Long Take pp 177-191 | Cite as

13 Ways of Looking at a Lake

  • Alison Butler
Part of the Palgrave Close Readings in Film and Television book series (CRFT)


The chapter offers a close reading of James Benning’s 13 Lakes (2004), exploring its relationship to the traditions and conventions of American landscape art and the effects of transposing these to a durational medium, as well as considering the film in relation to conceptual and performative practices in contemporary landscape art. This formal analysis highlights the film’s singular point-of-view system, a repeated staging of the encounter between a subject and an object. For the spectator, the film offers a mediated experience of landscape that is contemplative, but also full of longing for something that is constitutively absent. Although the film does not explicitly address the question of the relationship between landscape representation and national identity, close reading reveals its underlying importance.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ReadingReadingUK

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