On the Narrative of Abandonment in Pets and Children’s Literature

“Rachel Rose, Lake Valley, 2016

Lake Valley is a cel-animated video set in an imagined suburb. Each frame is a composite of elements from 19th-20th century children’s book illustrations cut, layered, and re-mapped for the present-day. The suburban places encountered in the video—the house, the parking lot, the park—are familiar and not. There is simultaneity of past and present in all surfaces of the video—a plastic garbage bag is an illustration of a woman’s hair; an egg shell is an amalgam of dragon skin, cobble stones, and beer.

The story of Lake Valley follows an imagined pet as it seeks attention on one particularly lonely day. The pet leaves its family in search of connection in the nearby green. The narrative is rooted in the theme of abandonment that permeates childhood in children’s literature. Abandonment, like a suburban house, is relatively ordinary experience sustained by everyday routines and anxieties.

The work of Rachel Rose (b. 1986) explores how our changing relationship to landscape has shaped story-telling and belief systems. Rose draws from and contributes to a long history of cinematic innovation, and through her subjects—whether investigating cryogenics, the American Revolutionary War, modernist architecture, or the sensory experience of walking in outer space—she questions what it is that makes us human and the ways we seek to alter and escape that designation.”

The above 3 paragraphs are about an artist’s project introduction. I think the key words–for example, abandonment is very interesting, which made me contact our group’s object. Because in some video works, we always see that “child or pet” is associated with abandoning the narrative. This may be because in the relationship between adults and pets/children, pets have fewer rights, so I I wonder if I can start from this point to think about the narrative of utopia.

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