Semiotics of the Kitchen

Martha Rosler

1975, 06:09 minutes, colour, english


Semiotics of the Kitchen is perhaps Rosler's best known video. In it, she glumly faces the video camera from behind a kitchen counter. Looking decidedly uncomfortable as she dons a fussy apron, she proceeds to handle, in alphabetical order, an array of kitchen utensils, announcing their names and miming their functions... "bowl... chopper... dish..."
Narratively, the development of these gestural variations reveals several semiotic readings of simple kitchen implements. They are first transformed into tools of labour, then agents of oppression. Finally, they are raised up as political weapons and emblems of revolution.
Semiotics of the Kitchen is a coolly furious piece of homicidal comedy.

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