Domination and the Everyday

1978 | 00:32:10 | United States | English | Color

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: Media Analysis, Performance, Politics, Video History

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Rosler calls Domination and the Everyday, with its fragmented sounds, images, and crawling text, an artist-mother's This Is Your Life. Throughout this work, we hear—but do not see—a mother and small child at dinner and bedtime while a radio airs an interview with a gallerist about Californian art of the 1960s. The soundtrack moves into overdrive with feedback, a passing train, barking dogs, and a bedtime story. The visuals, all still images, are drawn from television, movies, advertising, and the family album. The sequence begins with a portrait of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and his henchmen; soon a crawling text, based on the writings of Frankfurt School philosophers, begins, contrasting the dire situation in Chile with the soft domination here at home by mass culture and social expectations about family life. The entwined soundtracks (the mother and child, the interviewer and interviewee) continue while the image-and-text portion repeats. Private lives go on despite the canned routines aimed at domination and control.