When I Grow Up I Want to Be a Cooker

Maria Marshall British, born India

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Marshall’s mesmerizing scenarios of maternal fear and dread strike at the heart of Western culture’s commodification of childhood. For this work, she shot film footage of her two-year-old son playing with a fake cigarette and added wisps, rings, and puffs of smoke, generated using Hollywood special-effects software. The video is both frighteningly real and blatantly fictitious, echoing the anxious internal monologue of a new parent. “Jake was only two and I was projecting on him a future as an addict,” Marshall explained in an interview. “He could be addicted to anything, drugs, alcohol, chain-smoking. How can a mother control these things? I was afraid of what would become of him. How does a mother calm herself and learn to let her children just be?”

When I Grow Up I Want to Be a Cooker, Maria Marshall (British, born India, 1966), Single-channel digital video, transferred from 35mm film, color, silent, 19 sec.

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