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"Deteriorate in your own time": Martha Rosler reads Vogue and performing feminist critique

"Deteriorate in your own time": Martha Rosler reads Vogue and performing feminist critique
"Deteriorate in your own time": Martha Rosler reads Vogue and performing feminist critique
Delivered in the Feminism and Embodiment Session (chaired by Susanneh Beiber) on 1 November 2014 at the 5th Annual Feminist Art History Conference at the American University, Washington, DC (31 Oct - 2 Nov 2014). This paper considers a still under-examined work by Martha Rosler, one which Rosler produced for a live televised performance for public-access Paper Tiger Television’s ‘…Reads…’ series in December 1982, recorded as it was broadcast. The product was subsequently distributed in video format as a performance work: Martha Rosler Reads Vogue. The performance deconstructs the aspirational identifications and false class-consciousness engendered by Vogue magazine, dissecting it as an ideological vehicle tied to particular histories, producers, consumers and industries. Utilising a number of poetical / incantatory tropes, along with her usual deadpan delivery, Rosler misappropriates images from the then current and back issues of Vogue magazine. The real critical jolt, however, is delivered when the performance moves out of the studio and, via videotape, into a Manhattan sweatshop, where clothing destined for Bloomingdales was produced by Chinese female seamstresses. Rosler converts her documentary footage into a de-glamourized music video for Blondie’s “Die Young Stay Pretty”. This paper offers a close reading of Rosler’s video, examining how its construction instantiates a unique feminist performative critique of the exploitation of gendered and immigrant labor; of women as both certain kinds of producers and consumers. It is an exploration of how both these positions are positions of labor, allied to notions of maintenance labor and the marginalisation of women’s agency. It proposes Rosler’s work as a critical map of an especially female reification constellated within the nexus of Vogue seen in its broadest sense, whilst explicating the nuances of this less than crude unpacking of aspiration, fantasy, identity formation, and feminist challenges to superficial sublimations of women’s agency within patriarchal popular cultural formations as exemplified in Condé Nast’s flagship publication
Davis, August Jordan
2511504e-30cf-4a65-a4a6-242ff3f9c20c
Davis, August Jordan
2511504e-30cf-4a65-a4a6-242ff3f9c20c

Davis, August Jordan (2014) "Deteriorate in your own time": Martha Rosler reads Vogue and performing feminist critique. 5th Annual Feminist Art History Conference. 31 Oct - 02 Nov 2014.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

Delivered in the Feminism and Embodiment Session (chaired by Susanneh Beiber) on 1 November 2014 at the 5th Annual Feminist Art History Conference at the American University, Washington, DC (31 Oct - 2 Nov 2014). This paper considers a still under-examined work by Martha Rosler, one which Rosler produced for a live televised performance for public-access Paper Tiger Television’s ‘…Reads…’ series in December 1982, recorded as it was broadcast. The product was subsequently distributed in video format as a performance work: Martha Rosler Reads Vogue. The performance deconstructs the aspirational identifications and false class-consciousness engendered by Vogue magazine, dissecting it as an ideological vehicle tied to particular histories, producers, consumers and industries. Utilising a number of poetical / incantatory tropes, along with her usual deadpan delivery, Rosler misappropriates images from the then current and back issues of Vogue magazine. The real critical jolt, however, is delivered when the performance moves out of the studio and, via videotape, into a Manhattan sweatshop, where clothing destined for Bloomingdales was produced by Chinese female seamstresses. Rosler converts her documentary footage into a de-glamourized music video for Blondie’s “Die Young Stay Pretty”. This paper offers a close reading of Rosler’s video, examining how its construction instantiates a unique feminist performative critique of the exploitation of gendered and immigrant labor; of women as both certain kinds of producers and consumers. It is an exploration of how both these positions are positions of labor, allied to notions of maintenance labor and the marginalisation of women’s agency. It proposes Rosler’s work as a critical map of an especially female reification constellated within the nexus of Vogue seen in its broadest sense, whilst explicating the nuances of this less than crude unpacking of aspiration, fantasy, identity formation, and feminist challenges to superficial sublimations of women’s agency within patriarchal popular cultural formations as exemplified in Condé Nast’s flagship publication

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e-pub ahead of print date: 1 November 2014
Venue - Dates: 5th Annual Feminist Art History Conference, 2014-10-31 - 2014-11-02
Organisations: Winchester School of Art

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Local EPrints ID: 401376
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/401376
PURE UUID: e415c4fd-7745-41da-b656-4d58568ee7bf

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Date deposited: 17 Oct 2016 08:18
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 18:02

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