Conscious Knocks Unconscious

1977, 24:26 min, color, sound

Heyward articulates a poetic monologue alongside a surreally spinning Venus de Milo, while performing vocal acrobatics and toying with the meanings of words in a stream-of-consciousness diatribe on patriarchy, sexuality, cultural and religious mythologies, and normative femininity. Heyward sets herself in contrast to the literally "unarmed" sculpture, boasting that she has an "army" replete with "privates," and proceeds to imagine Venus de Milo in the modern world—working for an hourly wage, trying to get pregnant, coping with the "pressures" of war and finances. The video includes shots of bodies (a naked couple in hyper-saturated color), objects (a series of pillows), and domestic and natural spaces (a bedroom, Niagara Falls) that are filmed dynamically and digitally animated. Heyward pairs these images with appropriated advertisements and newsreel footage, placing the artist literally in dialogue with the visual and spoken vocabularies of contemporary media.

From Syracuse University and with Public Funds from The New York State Council On The Arts.