Paradise Crushed

2003, 12:10 min, color, sound

Peggy and Fred in Hell, Thornton's ongoing and open-ended series, maps a surreal, quasi-apocalyptic realm littered with the detritus of a pop culture bursting at the seams. Castaways in this wilderness of signs, Peggy and Fred are, as Thornton states, "raised by television," their experience shaped by a palimpsest of science and science-fiction, new technologies and obsolete ones, half-remembered movies and the leavings of history. An exploration of the aesthetics of narrative form as well as the politics of the image, Thornton's rigorously experimental oeuvre has forged a unique and powerful syntax.

Paradise Crushed could be the black hole at the center of the film and video constellation that is Thornton's Peggy and Fred cycle. Scraps of sound and image, barely recognizable from previous episodes, collide and recombine as the story of the two children "raised by television" buckles under the pressure of digital technologies, electronic surveillance and millennial apocalyptic fervor.

Found, shot and edited by Leslie Thornton. With: Janis and Donald Reading.