There But For

Lawrence Weiner

1980 | 00:20:00 | United States | English | Color | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: Family, Video History

There But For resembles a soap opera; its characters—a couple whose relationship has seen better days, a ball-and-jack playing adult/child, and a couple that comes to visit the family—are in the midst of their day-to-day lives (an imitation of life). The music was composed and performed live on the set as the play unfolded. There But For is a free-form chance operation within the defined boundaries of place (an apartment) and the assigned roles of the players: the mother (bitch), the father (jerk), their kid (retard), and their visitors. The players continually argue as they feel their way through this structure, where ambiguity is the form. The kid asks, “Is mediocrity its own reward?” Perhaps the clue for the viewer is in the tape’s title: There But For (the grace of God go I)."

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