Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Exhibitions Diary, Part V

Name: Room of Love (Armastusetuba)
Made by: Margit Lõhmus
Material: video
Place: Draakoni Galerii, Tallinn

Video exhibition about two kinds of love, if I may say so: family and sex. According the videos, the sexual life was about: 1) first experience (for a young girl with some glamorous brute), 2) having a family (young pair with a child sitting on the backseat of a car), 3)-5) sexual minorities (adolescent experiments, looking for a partner, facing intolerance - which I will not be talking about or else it will be five-feet-long essay on the topic... may be I should do so for some later post)

Same long essay I can provide due to the family videos, but I'll try to cut it short.
Two videos "With Mother" and "With Father" remind me famous quote from "Anna Karenina": Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Here I saw that all the families are unhappy, even if they are good with that... The Father's video was about a man in his 50-ties who was sitting on the couch. For eight or ten minutes, just sitting side-face and watching in front of him like watching TV or someone off-screen sit there and played the piano (because the sounds were there). Mother's video had more action: the mother was on the kitchen, firstly serving food for one, then eating it, switching TV or talking on the phone in process. One little detail was that a younger woman (or girl) was staying against the door post with a microphone during the whole video. I saw it as a metaphor of the routine, when the family love is expected as some common rule but practically is not perceived. Those videos emphasize that routine: everyone is annoyed with each other, all family members are on their own, separated with wall corners and doors. Like they have boundaries which should not be crossed (a couch for father, a kitchen for mother, daughter somewhere in between like the border district, close to everyone but needed only for avoiding major neighbor).

Another video, I forgot to look the name of it, was about a woman "arguing" with her daughter on a kitchen while the other was preparing a meal. The woman furiously expressed her displeasure and annoyance with her daughter's habits, behavior and way of life. Standard set of phrases like "You don't clean after yourself, you take my food, you use my fridge, you come home late, you take my stuff, you don't listen to me" etc. The woman seemed to be Estonian as she spoke English with noticeable accent.
The video was very psychological. Firstly, because the woman kept her frustration until critical point. Why did she suffered from her daughter's behavior for so long if she was so displeased with it? Why she hadn't told earlier when they were able to talk calm? Why to keep it to the point when the only way out is screaming "Get out of my house"? Actually, she had no right for any demand now that she had never expressed her discontent. Secondly, her arguments were quite egoistic: "my milk, my fridge, my stuff". Her monolog was directed to tragic self-pity with hand-wringing and threats to call the police. It absolutely doesn't wake any compassion to the woman. If she wanted to solve the conflict, she had chosen the wrong way.
This work can be viewed as another metaphor of the conflict of generations: the woman was intentionally planned to talk in English a symbol of them both being on a different wavelength and not understanding each other.

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