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Concerning ConsequencesStudies in Art, Destruction, and Trauma$
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Kristine Stiles

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226774510

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226304403.001.0001

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Larry Miller’s Mom-Me (2003)1

Larry Miller’s Mom-Me (2003)1

Chapter:
(p.121) Larry Miller’s Mom-Me (2003)1
Source:
Concerning Consequences
Author(s):

Kristine Stiles

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226304403.003.0008

This chapter analyzes the various substrates of Larry Miller's 1973 video installation and performance called Mom-Me. Miller's dysfunctional family and the events of his childhood influenced his work; he lived in a violent environment in which the violence itself often took place in a sexualized context. Miller became hypervigilant in order to ward of and avoid his stepfather's violence, and he dissociated himself psychologically from the memories of his past; both behaviors are similar to the patterns of individuals who have experienced actual sexual abuse. Mom-Me consists of photographs, texts, and a ninety-minute video documenting Miller's attempt to inhabit his mother's psyche while under hypnosis. Yet Mom-Me is devoid of references to Miller's traumatic childhood. The chapter emphasizes Miller's attention to anomaly, suggesting that it represents not only an extraordinary attention to life, but also a will to live in and through art.

Keywords:   art, Larry Miller, video installation, Mom-Me, violence, sexual abuse, mother, hypnosis, trauma, anomaly

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