The Donner Party, 2012. Single-channel video, color, sound.


“As source material, Brewer appropriates content from outmoded documentaries, museum displays and science fiction to examine how popular media consolidates and destabilizes the subject through a web of identifications. Her video installation, The Donner Party, inspired by a 1992 PBS documentary of the same name, re-envisions the original story – the failed attempt to cross the Oregon Pass that resulted in cannibalism – as a family drama played out in a contemporary California home. Mother and Daughter mine a pseudo-survivalist narrative, interwoven with diagrammatic animations. As the subject of Brewer’s video shifts, the work meditates on the boundaries of self – both physical and psychological – on the verge of collapse.”
– Juli Carson, 2011


Written directed and edited by Maura Brewer.
Animation by Maura Brewer with assistance from Olivia Yu.
Director of Photography: Richard Kent
Lighting design: David Kelley
Sound design: Noel Hoffman


Maura Brewer and Dorene Quinn as themselves.
Narrated by Jesse Sharp and Ryan Imhoff.

Thanks to Sophie Lee, Adam Novy and Cassie Riger.