Mourning a Living Man

Mourning a Living Man (2013)

‘Mourning a Living Man’ (2013) is a double channel video, with the combination of both videos being from the viewpoint of a recollection. The two women represent a same-sex relationship. Their communication is a reflection of unsatisfactory per-locution, as stated by J.L. Austin in How to Do Things with Words. One woman speaks English, the other, French. The woman who speaks in French, recites a poem by Nikki Giovanni called ‘Choices.’ The wife is the representation of Mawimbi's mother, and in the domestic situation, not as prominent as her ‘husband.’ Although this domestic situation is reflecting Mawimbi's parents’, it also reflects Mawimbi's own relationship, as an adult lesbian woman. The ‘father’ articulates his statements to the ‘wife,’ but they could also be directed to the unseen daughter. The father is unsatisfied sexually by both mother and daughter and leaves them both. The chopping of the carrots directly represents castration, but also represents the castration of the daughter from the father’s influence; and ceases his performance as his daughter’s superego. This video is the representation of dysfunctional domesticity, with miscommunication, incest and/or adultery achieved through gender performance. The daughter is represented in the second video as archival footage of Mawimbi and her father during Mawimbi's childhood. This video is a recollection of a childhood that occurred in between the first video’s dynamics and shows her father’s head multiplied in place of other people’s heads in the photographs: Attesting to the debilitating consequences of sexual abuse, but also to the abuser’s narcissism.

This piece is exhibited in a bedroom scene. The first video is viewed on a television set from the 1990’s and the second video is projected on a bed next to the T.V.