Domination and the Everyday: Videos and Films by Martha Rosler – ​Part II

Domination and the Everyday: Videos and Films by Martha Rosler – ​Part II

Worker at a leather goods factory, CapeTown South Africa, 1990; from Martha Rosler, South Africa: Crossing the River Without a Bridge, 2016.

Domination and the Everyday 

Videos and Films by Martha Rosler

Domination and the Everyday: Videos and Films by Martha Rosler – ​Part II
Screening and discussion with Martha Rosler, Ernie Larsen, and Sherry Millner

Admission starts at $5

March 19, 2022, 6–8:30pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Join us at e-flux Screening Room for Martha Rosler's South Africa: Crossing the River Without a Bridge (2016, 60 minutes), How Do We Know What Home Looks Like? The Unité d’Habitation de Le Corbusier at Firminy, France (1993, 31 minutes), and Prototype (God Bless America) (2006, 1 minute), followed by a discussion between Rosler and video artists Ernie Larsen and Sherry Millner.

The evening constitutes the second part of Domination and the Everyday: Videos and Films by Martha Rosler, a three-day program taking place on the evenings of Friday through Sunday, March 18-20 at e-flux Screening Room. The program will present a selection of film and video works by Martha Rosler, and discussions with the artist and invited guests Nora M. Alter, Ernie Larsen, and Shelly Milner. Throughout the three days, a projection of Rosler's silent Museums will eat your lunch (2013, 2 minutes) will be on view at the Screening Room library, where a reading group with Rosler will also take place as a post-script to the program (date and more details to be announced).

See the full three-day program here.


South Africa: Crossing the River Without a Bridge
2016, 60 minutes

South Africa: Crossing the River Without a Bridge is a video edited from tapes from Rosler’s time in South Africa a few months after Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990, in which she taught video to Cape Town university students and worked with NGO-supported township community groups ratcheting up their media production. In the months she spent there, she was in contact with various groups in the radically charged political landscape, often documenting her encounters. She videotaped conversations with South Africans across the social spectrum: comfortable academics, black squatters and township residents, dissatisfied Cape Colored tenants of public housing, colonials in Lesotho, white farmers, and the small group of Colored and Black people striving toward home ownership. Through these interviews and images of homes and shantytowns—interiors and exteriors, newly built or perpetually crumbling—Rosler accumulates what seems to become a body of shifting subjectivities collectively renegotiating what citizenship can mean in a post-colonial African state.

How Do We Know What Home Looks Like? The Unité d’Habitation de Le Corbusier at Firminy, France
1993, 31 minutes
This work was shot in a Unité d'Habitation, or housing project, in Firminy Vert, a complex in south-central France designed by architect Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret). The Unité is part of a utopian complex of Le Corbusier’s buildings that includes a church, stadium, and cultural center. The work traces the building’s history through an engagement with the lives of its residents and traces of its past. Called Le Corbu after its renowned architect, the complex was built after his death. The wing in which the tape was primarily shot had been closed for over ten years, thus enshrining the decor of the late 1960s when the building was first opened. The mayor of the town, who had facilitated its development, subsequently tried to have the complex destroyed, and in this work the tenant association president describes the struggle—only half-successful—to save it.
The tape includes interviews with residents and with workers at the project’s low-power radio station. The opening sequence of views and snapshots is silent. Here is the space for an unspoken text about architecture and the warring interpretations of Le Corbusier’s idea of what might constitute a human, humane, humanizing space.

Prototype (God Bless America)
2006, 1 minute
A mechanical toy figure dressed as an American soldier bends and sways, playing “God Bless America”—the sentimental, unofficial, and highly favored national anthem during World War II—on a tiny bugle. The camera pans down, revealing that the toy’s camouflage-clad trouser leg has been rolled up to uncover a mechanism that looks uncannily like a prosthetic limb.

On view at the library

Museums will eat your lunch
2013,  2 minutes, silent
In this silent video, still images of stores and residential build­ings along a stretch of the Bowery in New York City appear in a stream within a cutout template, based on the “giftbox heap” silhou­ette of the New Museum, newly located on the Bowery. As these images of shiny storefronts, dwellings, and official Certificates of Occupancy of the “new Bowery” of the twenty-first century go by, set phrases rel­ating to the merits and demerits of museums roll desultorily down from above to below.
This silent video was commissioned by the New Museum for a street festival but barred by a ruling of the City of New York, which prohibits the projection of words on buildings except in certain designated corridors, as they might be taken for advertising.

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Video Art, Experimental Film
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Domination and the Everyday: Videos and Films by Martha Rosler

Martha Rosler utilizes various media in her work, primarily video and photography, and also installation and sculpture; she also writes about art and culture. Her work has for decades considered matters of the public sphere and mass culture; war and geopolitical conflict; housing, urbanism, and the built environment, and systems of transportation—especially as these affect women. Many of her projects have been extrainstitutional or developed and enacted with groups of people. Rosler sees her work, her teaching, and her writing as continuations of a broader engagement with the currents of cultural critique and social and political change. Her work may best be summed up as both a conceptual art and an activist practice—focused on questions of representational form but joined, however uneasily, to a commitment to political agitation. Video, which she adopted in its infancy, presented itself as at the crossroads of both. Rosler spent the 1970s in California and Canada. In 1980, she returned to her native Brooklyn, where she lives and works.

Sherry Millner and Ernie Larsen collaborate on film, video, photo-text, book, curatorial, and other research projects. They have produced at least a dozen films exhibited in festivals, museums, cultural centers, squats, windows, and storefronts. Their work includes the situationist film Disaster (1976), collaborative video project State of Emergency (2003-2006), the video essay How Do Animals and Palnts Live? (2018), and the collaborative book Capital’s Greek Cage (Autonomedia, 2013), as well as Disruptive Film, a two-volume DVD set of experimental short-form non-fiction films and videos which they co-curated for Facets Media. Millner’s installations include Protective Coloration and The Domestic Boobytrap, which detournes U.S. army manuals to manifest the vulnerability of domestic space, with blueprints and models of boobytraps placed in everyday life situations. Ernie writes fiction and media criticism. His books include Not a Through Street (1981) and The Trial Before The Trial (2018). He and Sherry are both associate editors of the media journal Jump Cut. They are completing a book version of their email-distributed photo-text altered postcard novel, Monumental Mistakes, an offshoot of Sherry’s ongoing No Respirator Included series comprised of 500+ altered postcards. They are currently editing a lockdown film about the primordial significance of masking in everyday life.

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