friskies paté (for joyce wieland)

2017, 13.5 min., digital

in 1967, 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  the fish has been replaced by a processed loaf in a can, unrecognizable as the animal that it came from.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 reframes the everyday, a movie that trades in expected labor for chosen labor.

 

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