Mike Kelley - Extracurricular Activity & Superman Recites (1999 - 2000)


Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction #1 (Domestic Scene) 2000, 29:44 min, b&w, sound

Kelley has constructed a half-hour drama inspired by a photo found in a high school yearbook. The original, a still from a school play, depicts two young men in a shabby apartment. From this image Kelley has re-staged a 'Domestic Scene': the protagonists' unnerving, at times histrionic, relationship.

Superman Recites Selections from 'The Bell Jar' and Other Works by Sylvia Plath 1999, 7:19 min, color, sound

Mike Kelley writes: "In Superman Recites Selections from 'The Bell Jar' and Other Works by Sylvia Plath an actor portrays Superman and does exactly what the title describes. In a dark no-place evocative of Superman's own psychic 'Fortress of Solitude' the alienated Man of Steel recites those sections of Plath's writings that utilize the image of the bell jar. Superman directs these lines to Kandor, the bell jar city that represents his own traumatic past, for he is the only surviving member of a planet that has been destroyed. Kandor now sits, frozen in time, a perpetual reminder of his inability to escape that past, and his alienated relationship to his present world. For us, Kandor is an image of a time that never was -- the utopian city of the future that never came to be.

This videotape was originally produced as an element for the installation work Kandor-Con 2000, which was presented as part of the exhibition Zeitwenden at the Kunstmuseum Bonn in 2000. The title mimics the term comic-con, which is a comic book collector's convention, and the piece is meant to be reminiscent of the kinds of displays found at such events.

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