three hours, fifteen minutes before the hurricane struck

three hours, fifteen minutes before the hurricane struck
35mm (1.37), 5 minutes, silent, 2006
made with the support of lift & the new directions in cinema series 2006
(winner – The Images Festival Steamwhistle Homebrew Award – 2007)

Inspired by the diorama-like boxes of Joseph Cornell, and with text taken from victims of hurricane Katrina, three hours, fifteen minutes before the hurricane struck imagines moments just before a violent weather storm.

The title opens with an ellipsis, as if something (the most important something?) has already happened. (“I fell in love with him… three hours, fifteen minutes before the hurricane struck). Once again the artist turns to found footage for her inspiration. Line drawings of plants and animals are clipped from different scales and crowd into the frame. Butterflies and bulls and then fade out. A title reads: the lights begin to flicker. Three frogs appear belly up. A title announces: the sky turned black. A picture shows four fish and a bear. Title: i sat in silence. Three hawks landing on two mushrooms and a fox. Title: the wind started picking up. Four diving pigeons and a horse with his head lowered. Title: trees started falling. Alligator eating a couple of chickens. Title: my hands trembled. Four crickets, a resting eagle and four seashells. Title: the night gave way to noises… Four bats, three mushrooms and a creature with a long tail. Title: … and howling in the dark. And a last title, the same as the first, three hours, fifteen minutes before the hurricane struck.

There is time enough to construct (and de-construct) stories from these fragments, these offerings the artist makes in hope that we will meet her half way. The consumer as producer, the audience as collaborator, adding the finishing touch. [Mike Hoolboom, 2007]

In the commissioned work Three Hours, Fifteen Minutes Before the Hurricane (2006), Battle again explores psychological spaces, this time locating her story in a contemporary real-world disaster: the storm that hit New Orleans in 2005, commonly known as Hurricane Katrina. Battle’s narrative explores the advent of the storm from the point of view of the plant and animal worlds. Finely outlined Victorianesque drawings collaged onto the surface of the black film stock seemingly float on the darkened space, intercut with titles that narrate the storm’s impending approach. [Vicky Chainey Gagnon – excerpt from “Behind These Walls: Contemporary Canadian Experimental Short Films”]