Ericka Beckman and Mike Kelley at Hallwalls, 1983.

Blind Country (1989)

Ericka Beckman and Mike Kelley

19.57 minutes 

A collaboration between filmmaker Ericka Beckman and me, Blind Country was inspired by the H. G. Wells short story “The Country of the Blind,"1 one of my adolescent favorites. I was both fascinated and repulsed by this tale of a man obliged to give up his eyes to live in an alien, sightless society. Rereading it as an adult, I was struck by the fact—to which I was oblivious as a boy—that it is a castration story, informed by thinly veiled sexual and racial fears. Blind Country makes no discernible reference to the Wells story, but instead plays with these subtle underlying themes. The designation of sight as a male attribute and the other senses as female ones is the starting point of the tape. I have known Beckman for many years and have acted in some of her other films, including You the Better (1983) and Cinderella (1986).

- Mike Kelley


1H. G. Wells, The Country of the Blind and Other Stories (London: T. Nelson, 1911).

As published in:

Welchman, John C., ed. Mike Kelley: Minor Histories. Statements, Conversations, Proposals.Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2004.