2017, 13.5 min., digital
In 1967, artist Joyce Wieland made the film Catfood, in which a cat eats fish after fish upon a small table. With the film, Wieland transforms domestic space—round table, white tablecloth, door in background, drinking cup—into artistic space. She takes an everyday, oft-ignored—and, probably to some, unwatchable—action and renders it important, forces the audience to look. She carries out the labor of art-making in domestic space (or a space coded to represent that) where women are traditionally expected to perform the labor of home-making. These are political acts. Feminist acts. Acts carried out via a playful and deceptively simple film. Fifty years after Wieland made Catfood, I re-performed the creation of the film, though loosely and with some changes—some chosen, some unavoidable. The fish has been replaced by a processed loaf in a can, unrecognizable as the animal that it came from. Likewise, the film of the original has been supplanted by a digital file, made of 1s and 0s that bear no resemblance to the objects they depict when the data is processed for our consumption. I created the work in a different era, that of YouTube cat videos and a near-constant flood of remake/reboot movies motivated by dollar signs. And yet it is still a 13.5-minute movie of a cat eating, a movie that denies the domestic and re-frames the everyday, a movie that trades in expected labor for chosen labor.