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Mika Rottenberg and the Amazing Invention Factory
What are the stories we tell about objects? In this film, artist Mika Rottenberg considers a survey of her videos in which women work in factory-like settings to create handmade objects. Growing up in Israel, Rottenberg recalls not being exposed to commercials on television until she was a teenager; after moving to New York City, she encountered infomercials such as Ron Popeil’s “set it and forget it” Showtime Rotisserie chicken oven.
Fascinated by the stories surrounding these inventions, Rottenberg creates her own fabricated products as well as idiosyncratic fictions about the origins of objects. Populating her videos with women who have extreme physiques and who sell their services on the Internet—such as wrestling, squashing, and photo opportunities—Rottenberg’s imaginary factories are run by people who “own the means of production.” Throughout her videos Rottenberg draws the viewer’s attention to the architecture of the body and the psychological dimensions of labor and value.
Featuring the works Tropical Breeze (2004), Mary’s Cherries (2004), Dough (2005–06), and Squeeze (2010).More information and credits
Art21 New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Brad Kimbrough. Cinematography: John Marton. Sound: Eric Diebner. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Design & Graphics: Crux Studio & Open. Artwork: Mika Rottenberg. Additional Camera & Sound: Heather Foster, Tall Kat, Ronen Nagel, Queen Raqui, Ronco, Rock Rose, Ann Rossetti, Paul Ruest, Mahyad Tousi & Aaron Young. Thanks: Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery.
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Mika Rottenberg was born in 1976 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was raised in Tel Aviv, Israel, and now lives and works in upstate New York. Working in video, installation, and sculpture, Rottenberg is interested in making reality blend with her personal fiction; she features women with unconventional bodies in performances about labor, production, and the psychological implications of physical existence. The artist describes her art as trying to capture the abstract experience of being alive and to transform it into a tangible object.