Single-channel video installation with audio
Dimensions: 9’5” x 16′
Duration: 01:46 (loop)
Performers: Mandy Morrison, Tiara Francis, Samantha Siegel
This video installation, references the slapstick comedy of silent films where the protagonists are often working people, encountering circumstances that challenge their human limitations or undermine their efforts at keeping up with expectations. In Housekeeping the protagonist is a middle-aged professional woman who is being challenged by youth, class and time itself. Seated placidly and alone in a hotel room, she is, at alternate moments, in situ with a pair of young hotel maids who are straightening her bedspread, beating her with brooms or mopping her naked body on a bathroom floor. The background audio plays an ad for anti-aging products, along with the sounds of running water. This aging female’s professional body ricochets between poses of entitlement, invisibility, interclass intimacy and naked combat against young uniformed domestic workers in their attempt to smooth, clean, embrace or destroy her. In this way, the corporate hotel room, with its generic ubiquity is a stage for exploring class, domestic work and aging.
For Further Reading:
Hamilakis, Yannis, Pluciennik, Mark and Tarlow, Sarah. Ed. Thinking through the body: archaeologies of corporeality. New York, NY, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, 2002.
hooks, bel. where we stand: class matters. New York and London: Routledge, 2000.
Massa, Steve. Slapstick Divas: The Women of Silent Comedy, BearManor Media, 2017.
Shusterman, Richard. Thinking Through the Body: Essays in Somaethetics. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.