Often During the Day

Feminist Feelings, Domestic Affect

Curated by Beth Capper and Jessica Bardsley

"Often During the Day," designed and screen printed by Jieun Reiner

“Often During the Day,” designed and screen printed by Jieun Reiner

Often During the Day brings together works from the 1970s through the present by seven female moving image makers who explore the relationship between domestic interiors, feminine intimacy, and the affective structures that shape the everyday. Across film and video, these pieces consider domestic labor and domestic laziness as well as gendered feelings of depression, loss, and erotic desire. Each of these themes is approached from a feminist perspective, sometimes quietly, other times humorously performed. Many of the works in this screening develop their sensual and affective registers through their use of sound, whether through the buzz of technological frequencies, the unceasing chatter of animal and plant life, the emotional tenor of the love song, or the ambient soundscapes of daily acts of maintenance.

Ximena Cuevas’ Antes de la Televisión (Before Television) (1983) opens this program. In punctual form, Cuevas’ video humorously transforms the vacuum cleaner from a device of female “liberation” into a monster that devours us. In a similar vein, Joanna Davis’ Often During the Day (1979) — which provides our program with its namesake — considers the kitchen as a space where the habits and routines of women in domestic space are normalized. Meanwhile, My Tears Are Dry (2009) by Los Angeles based filmmaker Laida Lertxundi is a melodic composition that lures the viewer into and out of a warm afternoon nap, reveling in the pleasure of female laziness.

Jessica Bardsley’s The Blazing World (2013) assembles and intertwines stock footage of female kleptomaniacs, news reports of Winona Ryder shoplifting, scenes from the film Girl, Interrupted (1999), and the filmmaker’s own experiences of stealing, in order to imagine kleptomania as a distinctively suburban female expression of depression, boredom, and rage. Depression is a theme also taken up by Fronza Woods in Killing Time (1979), an offbeat, wry look at the dilemma of a would-be suicide unable to find the right outfit to die in. Killing Time examines the personal habits, socialization, and complexities of life that keep us going. Cynthia Maughan differently explores the importance of clothing in her short video The Way Underpants Really Are (1975). Maughan’s humorous video sets the record straight by showing us what underpants really look like, pointing to the confining expectations of feminine desirability.

Following Maughan’s piece is A Lax Riddle Unit (2011), another elusive composition from Lertxundi set in a plant-filled, ethereal Los Angeles apartment. Through sound, gesture, and editing, A Lax Riddle Unit teeters between melancholic loss and a swelling sense of being overcome by emotion. By contrast, Bardsley’s Yonder (2014) evokes the overabundant pleasures of labor and life as they intertwine; where women work and play in an undetermined rural locale, surrounded by buzzing bees, braying horses, and vibrant swampland. Finally, Mati Diop’s Snow Canon (2011) considers the turbulence of desire through an unlikely relationship between a girl and her au pair. The sublime landscape of the French Alps becomes a powerful setting for the intensity of relation. Taken together, these film and video works ask us to consider the affective potency and emotional spectrum of our daily dealings with labor, love, and life.

Program:

Ximena Cuevas, Antes de la Televisión (Before Television) (1983) 1.23 min
In punctual form, Cuevas’ video humorously transforms the vacuum cleaner from a device of female “liberation” into a monster that devours us.

Joanna Davis, Often During the Day (1979) 16 min  
Davis’ film considers the kitchen as a space where the habits and routines of women in domestic space are normalized.

Laida Lertxundi, My Tears Are Dry (2009) 4 min
A melodic composition that lures the viewer into and out of a warm afternoon nap, reveling in the pleasure of female laziness.

Jessica Bardsley, The Blazing World (2013) 19 min
The Blazing World assembles and intertwines stock footage of female kleptomaniacs, news reports of Winona Ryder shoplifting, scenes from the film Girl, Interrupted (1999), and the filmmaker’s own experiences of stealing, in order to imagine kleptomania as a distinctively suburban female expression of depression, boredom, and rage.

Fronza Woods, Killing Time (1979) 15 min
Killing Time is an offbeat, wry look at the dilemma of a would-be suicide unable to find the right outfit to die in, and the personal habits, socialization, and complexities of life that keep us going.

Cynthia Maughan, The Way Underpants Really Are (1975) 1.17 min
Maughan’s humorous video sets the record straight by showing us what underpants really look like, pointing to the confining expectations of feminine desirability.

Laida Lertxundi, A Lax Riddle Unit (2011) 6 min
Another elusive composition from Lertxundi set in a plant-filled, ethereal Los Angeles apartment. Through sound, gesture, and editing, A Lax Riddle Unit teeters between melancholic loss and a swelling sense of being overcome by emotion.

Jessica Bardsley, Yonder (2014) 8 min
Yonder evokes the overabundant pleasures of labor and life as they intertwine; where women work and play in an undetermined rural locale, surrounded by buzzing bees, braying horses, and vibrant swampland.

Mati Diop, Snow Canon (2011) 33 min
Snow Canon considers the turbulence of desire through an unlikely relationship between a girl and her au pair. The sublime landscape of the French Alps becomes a powerful setting for the intensity of relation.