Jeremy BlakeAmerican (Fort Sill, Oklahoma, 1971 - 2007, New York City, New York)
Century 21, from the Winchester trilogy
Century 21 is part of Jeremy Blake's Winchester trilogy, which also includes Winchester(2002) and 1906 (2003). The three video projections were inspired by the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, an elaborate and bizarre 160-room Victorian mansion built between 1884 and 1922 by Sarah L. Winchester, heir to the Winchester rifle fortune. Believing herself to be cursed by those killed by her family's firearms, she was convinced that continuous construction on her house would keep their malevolent spirits away.
For Blake, Winchester and her mansion offered ideal vehicles for exploring American mythologies and identities. Century 21 ventures away from the house toward the three domed movie theaters next door: Century 21, 22, and 23. Whereas the mansion represents irrationality and the nostalgic reconstruction of the past, the neighboring space-age buildings embody twentieth-century aspirations toward a presumably rational modernity. The cinemas also double as venues for the Hollywood westerns of the 1950s and 60s, which often glorified the violence upon which the Winchester fortune was made.