"What Day Is It Again?" 24-Hour Video Art Festival
Time and Location
About The Event
Spotlighting five works from OCMA’s collection, What Day Is It Again? is a 24-hour video art festival that addresses our new relationship to home during quarantine. Our cyclical living mode, once divided by in and out, day and night, has distorted our perception of time and space. Shot at home or home-like spaces, the selected video works lampoon the absurdity of normality and unease underlying daily life. While most of the works were made at the advent of consumer camcorders in the 1970s, the visual jokes, sarcasm and daily motifs remain relevant in the digital age; or, rather, they collectively offer a coping mechanism for self-isolation.
RSVP to receive the access link. The videos will be available for 24 hours from May 21 at 6am to May 22 at 6am PDT.
Martin Kersels, Pink Constellation, 2001, 20:18 minutes
In Pink Constellation (2001), Martin Kersels toys with the laws of gravity by using a classic cinematic special effect. A childlike bedroom is constructed inside a cylinder, which rotates with a camera attached to it. The bedroom appears still, while the occupants must adjust their bodies to the whirling space. A teenage girl appears to effortlessly scale the walls and walk on the ceiling with choreographed gestures. When Kersels shows up, his clumsiness eventually leads to a collapse of the interior, pulling the audience into a vortex of dislocation. The threat of chaos infuses tragedy into the comedy.
Susan Mogul, Dressing Up, 1973, 7:42 minutes
Dressing Up (1973) is one of Susan Mogul’s earliest video works, made when she was a student in the feminist art program at the California Institute of the Arts. In the video, Mogul steps out of a curtain, naked. She alternately puts on clothes and chomps on corn nuts, while jabbering about bargain hunting. Classified as a feminist self-portrait, the work de-fetishizes the voyeuristic gaze and patriarchal images of femininity through an inelegant reverse striptease. Though she does not crack any jokes in her talk-show-like monologue, bringing mundane behaviors in front of the camera creates its own spectacle.
Ilene Segalove, The Mom Tapes, 1974, 27:08 minutes
Ilene Segalove’s The Mom Tapes (1974) offers a poignant yet funny portrait of a typical mother–daughter dynamic, specifically the gaps between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers. The artist’s mom Elaine, almost the only protagonist in this series of interview clips, idly answers a barrage of random questions posed by her daughter about household affairs. Her role setting as “empty-nester,” the spacious and emotionless Beverly Hills house, and the absence of domesticity contrast with the woman’s abundant knowledge about home. An avid admirer of TV cultures, Segalove references home movies, family sitcoms and television schticks to create a genre that combines documentary and comedy.
Suzanne Lacy, Learn Where the Meat Comes From, 1976, 14:25 minutes
Suzanne Lacy’s Learn Where the Meat Comes From (1976) enacts a cooking show/anatomy lesson using recontextualized words from chef Julia Child and cookbook author Adelle Davis. While some regard Child as a revolutionary icon who freed women from kitchen drudgery, Lacy’s mimicking of the television personality disrupts the feminine image through a series of metamorphoses: from an intelligent housewife illustrating the body parts of a lamb, to an unladylike mimicry of the lamb itself, to a carnivorous beast with vampire teeth. The objectification of animals as meat runs parallel to the objectification of women as media products. The roles of consumer and consumed merge into one in this entertaining performance that intends to be too obscene to broadcast on TV.
William Wegman, Selected Works: Reel 7, 1976-77, 18:51 minutes
In Selected Works: Reel 7 (1976–77), William Wegman creates a series of deadpan one-liners, visual gags and dual roleplays employing everyday objects, his own body parts, and his beloved dog Man Ray, named after the Dada artist. Set up in an unfurnished space, his parody of daily gestures and actions evokes comedic TV commercials and the silly games that homebodies play with their indoor pets. In some protracted single shots, Wegman manipulates Man Ray’s predictability and obedience to preposterous effect, which appears to mock the serious conceptual performances. The opening scene and the finale both use a close-up of Man Ray resting under a carpet with a clock to the side pointing at eight, which suggests a full circle of this daily irony playing from day to night and back again. Wegman’s visual jokes in the 1970s can be seen as part of the genre of humor that has evolved to include the punchlines, TikTok videos and deranged Instagram stories that people now consume daily on screen and at home.
Image: Martin Kersels, Pink Constellation, still, 2001