Why was I so awful tonight (2014)

Why was I so awful tonight? is a three-channel video installation exhibited across two rooms of a traditional gallery space. It takes an archetypal private event—a fight between a couple—as its conceptual starting point, and explores the dynamics and interpretations of this interaction through public exhibition in the gallery space. The work considers why the perfectly common experience of couples arguing is seen as something shameful, and how contemporary art can be used as a space to contemplate and disrupt this social norm.

The research material for this work is derived from a personal incident that I have contextualised within Western social culture in a way that “self-consciously explores the interplay of the introspective personally engaged self with the cultural” (Ellis & Bochner 2000, 744). In the work, a series of couples (including my partner and I) perform a scripted mise-en-scène of an argument. The script functions as a tool to map a normative narrative of ‘the private’ — that inter-couple conflict is unmentionable and shameful.

This project fulfilled the requirements of my Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Arts) Honours degree (First Class).