Facing a family

EXPORT, VALIE. Facing a Family, 1971. VALIE EXPORT Catalogue of the moving exhibition. Ed. Éditions de L’Oeil. Montreuil: 2003. (p73)

Although exceeding these terms, the work of VALIE EXPORT, can be analyzed for its relation with the house/home. Particularly, the TV-Action work from 1971, “Facing a Family”, a piece of broadcasting video art in which a family is recorded watching television, and the viewer becomes the object of the family’s gaze, while the family is the object of the viewer. This program was transmitted live through Austrian television, and the viewers could be other middle-class families watching television. By creating an eternal loop, VALIE EXPORT talks about the objectification of the family as a bourgeois ideal; the domesticity as a spectacle (as much as in the Dutch windows) and the incidence of the media into the family. In addition, she is 30 years ahead to problematics posed by Reality television.

From the point of view of the terms used in this bibliography, VALIE EXPORT is talking about the home. The home as an idea, with the objectification of the family and a place that needs sources of energy from outside. In this case, the external source of energy is communication. The question that follows this statement was formulated by Michel de Certeau: what do they make of what they “absorb,” receive, and pay for? What do they do with it?