Research 3 (Semiotics of the Kitchen- Martha Rosler)

Posted: December 11, 2010 in Uncategorized

Semiotics of the Kitchen is a feminist parody video and performance piece released in 1975 by Martha Rosler. The video, which runs six minutes, is considered a critique of the commodified versions of traditional women’s roles in modern society.

Featuring Rosler as a generic cooking show host, the camera observes as she presents an array of kitchen hand utensils, many of them outdated or strange, and, after identifying them, demonstrates unproductive, sometimes, violent, uses for each. It uses a largely static camera and a plain set, allowing the viewer to focus more on Rosler’s performance and adding a primitive quality.

Letter by letter, Rosler navigates a culinary lexicon, using a different kitchen implement for each step along the way. She begins with an apron, which she ties around her waist, and, with deapan humor, journeys through the alphabet, until the last few letters. For these, U, V, W, X,Y, and Z. the implements are dispensed with and the woman’s gestures and body become a signal system themselves.  (

Martha Rosler was born July 29th 1943 in Brooklyn, New York. She studied her B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1965 and her M.F.A. from the University of California, San Diego in 1974. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. For a long time she was considered to be an “underground artist”, as she pioneered using different media and combining them.

Martha Rosler uses a variety of mediums, but her most recognizable medium is photo-collage and photo-text. She also works creates video installations and performance art. Her work frequently contrasts the domestic lives of women with international war, repression and politics, and pays close attention to the mass media and architectural structures. (

We looked at this and got allot of ideas as we liked the whole pretending to stab thin air the loud banging, it appealed to me and Sunny as we were looking to recreate the same techniques she used in order for the audience to believe we are doing something bad and violent.


Martha Rosler: Semiotics of tht Kitchen



By Harmeet


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