Vital Statistics of a Citizen, Simply Obtained

Martha Rosler

1977 | 00:39:20 | United States | English | Color | Mono | 4:3 | Video

Collection: Early Video Art, Single Titles

Tags: Body, Feminism, Performance, Science

Taking aim at the social standardization enforced particularly on women's bodies, Rosler critiques the politics of "objective" or scientific evaluation that result in the depersonalization, objectification, and colonization of women and Others. As Joseph Di Mattia has pointed out, "The title of the tape is ironic--just exactly to whom are these 'statistics' 'vital'? They are vital to a society which circumscribes the behavior and roles of women." Throughout this video Rosler situates the female body as the site of an ideological struggle, a site of physically realized domination, which degrades, demeans, and subjugates women.

"[This] is the most pointedly feminist of Rosler's tapes. Every inch of the artist's nude body is measured and recorded by two doctors, while voiceovers comment on standards, body ideals, and their relation to masochism."

— Mary Stofflett, "Art or television," Studio International 195 (June 1982)

This title is also available on Surveying the First Decade: Volume 1 and martha rosler: crossings.

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Exhibitions + Festivals

Centro Cultural Montehermoso, Vitoria-Gasteiz, re.act.feminism #2, October 6 2011-September 1 2013