Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Reading Martha Rosler Reading at MUSEOXIII
The following is from an essay I wrote about Martha Rosler's reading practice in her 1975-1985 video works, now up at MUSEO XIII online. Thanks to Martha Rosler for allowing me to interview her, and to David Shapiro who edited the essay extensively.
"In three videos from the late 70s and early 80s—Domination and the Everyday (1978), A Simple Case for Torture, or How to Sleep at Night, and If It’s Too Bad to Be True, It Could Be DISINFORMATION (1985)—Rosler elaborates her reading practice as a means of encountering the United States’ geopolitical involvement with Latin America. These works pose questions about how one reads video intertextually, how the medium can be used as a vehicle for counter-hegemonic strategy, analysis, and critical reflection, and perhaps most importantly, how to read the United States’ unofficial wars and conflicts. Given the strategies of blackout, disinformation, and distraction enacted by popular media outlets, how is it possible to redirect a viewer’s reading process and critically navigate a terrain of signs intended to draw attention away from the culpability of the state? How is this a matter of “bringing the war home”—a popular slogan from the 60s which Rosler borrows for her mash-up collage works treating the Vietnam and Iraq wars?"