Arts

Artists Bring Contemporary Film To Historic Swan House

The film installation “When I Whistle...” is a fantastical portrait of the mansion featuring a muse, played by local musician Adron.
The film installation “When I Whistle...” is a fantastical portrait of the mansion featuring a muse, played by local musician Adron.
Credit BENITA CARR AND BILL ORISICH

It’s been the setting for “The Hunger Games” franchise, but for most visitors to the Atlanta History Center, the Swan House seems like a relic of a long-ago Southern past.

Though it has a classical style, the Swan House wasn’t built until 1928. It was a private home for the Edward H. Inman family and is now a museum, offering a peek into the life of an affluent family in the 1920s and 1930s.

There is a growing trend in history museums, however, to reinvigorate these sorts of historical spaces with contemporary projects.

Two Atlanta film artists, Benita Carr and Bill Orisich, are doing just that at the Swan House. They created a film installation called “When I Whistle…” It is a fantastical portrait of the mansion featuring a muse, played by local musician Adron, and two dancers, played by Blake Dalton and Deidre Lynn Currie.

The film is not a history of the house but more of a reaction to the objects and memory inside the house. “What I found most interesting was that Mrs. Inman wanted to pass down the house and everything in it to her children and her children’s children,” said Carr. “But they didn’t want it because they felt like the house had owned her. And they didn’t want to bear that responsibility.”

The installation is projected on three panels inside the house. “We thought early on maybe we’d project on the outside,” said Orisich. “But then it turned out that there are these great panels at the top of the stairs, and the staircase ended up as a central part of the piece.”

“When I Whistle…” screened as part of the opening of the Swan Coach House Gallery’s exhibition “Print or Projection.” It will have one more evening of screenings Thursday at 7 p.m., 7:45 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. There will also be live performances by poet Dennis Coburn and dancer Marymay Impastato.