Harriet – King Cotton – Pelicans

This tape consists of three short videos: "Harriet" by Nancy Cain, and "King Cotton" and "Pelicans" by Rita Ogden.

00:00Copy video clip URL This tape begins with a blue screen.

00:39Copy video clip URL “Harriet.” Fade in to a shot of a house and a long stretch of road in the small mountain hamlet of Lanesville, New York. Harriet Benjamin can be seen in the distance escorting her children on to a school bus. The sound and video quality is extremely poor throughout this piece.

02:18Copy video clip URL The camera follows a young child into a house. Harriet handles a multitude of chores, deals with small screaming children, bickering teenagers, and feeds the family. Spliced in between footage of the chores, there is a fantasy sequence where Harriet packs up her car and leaves her home and family.

09:16Copy video clip URL Harriet’s fantasy takes over and the chore footage becomes a flashback. As she drives down the long stretch of road, Harriet begins to laugh and celebrate her new found liberation. “I’m sick of Lanesville and I wanna see something different… I’ve had 17 years of it, and that’s enough.” For several minutes, the camera shoots the winding road in front of the car as Harriet travels towards her new future, with upbeat country music and Harriet’s distinctive laugh providing the audio.

14:32Copy video clip URL “King Cotton.” Close up of a cotton field.

14:45Copy video clip URL One of the videomakers interviews a cotton farmer, Mr. Colton, about his family’s work in the cotton business in Grand County, Utah. Colton talks about the changes he’s seen in the cotton industry and states that the major change came from the switch from handpicked cotton to machine picked cotton.

16:11Copy video clip URL The suction line is hoisted into a large bin of fresh machine picked cotton. Colton talks about the cotton picking process. The cotton enters the cotton gin, and then farmers prepare the cotton. This lasts for several minutes.

18:41Copy video clip URL Colton talks about one of his employees who has been working for him since 1938. Two employees offload a fresh load of cotton out of the gin. Colton then weighs the cotton using an industrial scale. The bundle of cotton ends up weighing 570 pounds.

22:45Copy video clip URL Cut to footage from the cotton fields. A stark difference from the mechanical clatter of the cotton gin, the fields are tranquil. The videomaker speaks with an older man about working in a cotton farm for most of his life. He states that he doesn’t farm very much. He goes on to say that he once picked five hundred pounds of cotton in a day. After talking about his cotton picking days, the man shows the videomakers how to properly pick cotton. When asked for his age, the man does not recall and states that he’s between 75 and 80 years old. The man picks cotton as the piece comes to a close.

28:33Copy video clip URL “Pelicans.” Groups of brown pelicans dive for fish. Video footage is intercut with still footage of the pelicans feeding. This lasts for the remainder of the tape.

32:52Copy video clip URL Tape ends.



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