Amber Christensen & Karen Polowick
Essay by Megan Morman
January 17 – 31, 2014
Public Reception: Friday, January 17@ 8:00.
Amber Christensen and Karen Polowick have been working together since 2009 and are inspired by the work of early feminist video artists such as Martha Rosler’s Semiotics of the Kitchen and also by contemporary artists Shawna Dempsey & Lori Millan. Their collaborative project, bearing the full title Daddy Sets the Beat: the subjugation of an orphan girl, is a self-reflexive parody of the dogmatic politics that often accompany “second wave feminism.”
Filmed on Super 8 and hand processed, the medium is employed to evoke a sense of nostalgia, given that the scratches and imperfections of hand processing also reflect qualities associated with found footage. Daddy sets the Beat acts as a performance of an imaginary history, evoking the possibility that these works could potentially be the product of a feminist video artist working in another era. Christensen and Polowick mix this content with a contemporary perspective; one which is caught between rejection and adoration for the didacticism of early feminism.