Barbie London: Trouble in Space

2001, 19:15 min, color, sound

"My mother didn't want me to play with Barbie dolls because she was of the generation where she thought it was against creativity and against women ... . So I had to secretly play with dolls. Ironically, as a child Barbie games gave me the possibility of controlling my world – so in fact this kind of playing was actually empowering to me. This imaginary world was my way to be creative ... . I suppose this still translates into the way I make art. But I also have questions about what I've learned, because even now I try to be cute and sexy and nice, and all the things that Barbie represents. The works I make also represent the complications I see in separating – observing myself apart from those ideals.

"For years I explored in my art what Snow White was dreaming/desiring while she was in a coma in the glass coffin. After Snow White was awakened by the prince's kiss ... the pair became Barbie and Ken ... Barbie wants to be the perfect lover for Ken, but there is alcoholism and anger and the consequent violation of their actual love. Based on a text called Alcoholism: The Merry-Go-Round of Denial, Barbie struggles throughout to retain her innocence. Consequently, the style of the video is handmade and childlike. The songs in the video, by Willie Nelson and Julie London (which I lip-sync), become the interior dialogue between Barbie and Ken." — Ellen Cantor