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Brian Duggan
Brian Duggan
23 January–28 March 2015

Thursday 12 February 2015, 1 pm. All welcome.

The Last Day Diary’ is a new short HD film by artist Brian Duggan inspired from a specific historical relic from the Johnson County War in 1882 Wyoming.  The film’s initial location of privilage and safety in the grand eighteenth century entrance hall of Charlemont House, is in stark contrast to the narration’s guiding text from a hand written letter found on the body of Nathan D. Champion. 

‘The Last Day Diary’ expands on Duggan’s larger body of work regarding citizenship, community  and resistance  which is influenced by themes in the film ‘Heaven’s Gate’ (1980) a film based on A.S. Mercer’s 1894 book ‘Banditti of the Plains’. The book, which was banned in Wyoming due to political embarassment, is an eye-witness account of  local small homesteader immigrant groups, mostly from eastern Europe, who are harrassed into abandoning their plots of land to earlier, polictically connected settlers having manipulated cattle grazing rights.  The final text is a chilling and unnerving voice simply describing  the very real and present danger the individual was experiencing. 

This powerful but comtemplative film draws parallels to contemporary issues of economic migration and power, and the situations and pressures of social assimilation, between those with land and those without. The film concludes in Kaycee, Wyoming, where the original ambush took place one hundred and thirty three years ago.

Brian Duggan’s invitation to actor John Hurt and actor and composer David Mansfield to contribute to the production of  ‘The Last Day Diary’, echoes their significant roles in director’s Michael Cimino’s original 1980 epic western film (which infamously bankrupted United Artists Film Studio due to spiralling production costs). The strategic inclusion of these two proganists set against the current wider societal backdrop of remembrance and commemoration questions how the written word and historical events are interpreted today with emphasis on ‘experience’ within historical interpretation.

Image © Brian Duggan (2015)