The next installment of our weekly moving image presentation is Kiss And Cry, a video by New York-based artist Liz Magic Laser which appeared in SI’s 2016 group exhibition Against the Romance of Community.
For Kiss and Cry Laser worked with figure skating coach Marie Jonsson Mackenzie while she trained her two children, seven-year-old Anna and eleven-year-old Axel. Skirting the line between fiction and documentary, warm-up and performance routines are interwoven with scripted dialogue and voice-overs that trace the social construction of the innocent child. The script draws on family values rhetoric, progressive era propaganda and sociology texts on the history of childhood and child rights movements, as well as on Lee Edelman’s No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive (2004). The underlying ideas were informed by the debates surrounding the culture wars of the 1990s when the imperative to protect children became an excuse for limiting the liberties of others.
“The kiss and cry” is a term that refers to the area to the side of the skating rink where coaches and competitors gather after performing to await the judges’ verdict––a media strategy invented to elicit empathy for the skaters.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Special support is provided by Council Member Carlina Rivera.