Family Tyranny/Cultural Soup

Paul McCarthy. With Mike Kelley.
1987, 15:03 min, color, sound

Writes McCarthy: "I was given access to a community television studio for two days of shooting and one day of editing. I had been given the grant based on a proposal to do a video tape on child abuse. I taped for one day alone and one day with Mike Kelley. I asked Mike Kelley to be the son and I would be the father. There was no written script. After taping for two days, I edited the tapes, making two separate tapes: Family Tyranny and Cultural Soup. They are often shown together."

Writes Kelley: "Paul McCarthy is an artist familiar in the performance art world who is, finally, starting to become more visible in the general art world. I have been a fan of his work for years. I suppose you could say that Paul is an Automatist but the work is grounded not in Jungian Archetypes but rather in everyday social conventions. His version of the primal the one found in store-bought Halloween masks and embodied in plastic dolls. This tape, Family Tyranny and another one, Cultural Soup, come from one taping session. In a public access television studio, Paul built a rough set approximating the type seen in television situation comedies. He called me in to help him out. When I asked what I was supposed to do he said, 'I'm the father, and you're the son.' That was it. When I arrived at the studio the cameras were turned on and, I would guess, at least six hours of tape was shot. The two tapes that came out of the taping are just short sections of this mass of material."

 
 

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