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Beware of Domestic Objects


Single-channel HD video (6:30 min.)
Set of four hand sewn leather punching bags

Installation View: Queer Biennial, Industry Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

I insist on a prime truth: we must discover, handle, domesticate, make irrational objects for ourselves to appreciate a particular merit for what is before our eyes.


Claude Cahun

Prenez garde aux objets domestiques, 1935


Beware of Domestic Objects is a series made for the 2016 QUEER BIENNIAL.  Produced in response to surrealist artist Claude Cahun’s 1935 text “Prenez garde aux objets domestiques” and the 1963 BoBo Doll Experiment, this series includes: a video performance in which the artist gesticulates to a translated version of Cahun’s original text, and an installation of four handmade leather punching bags with stitched text that reads “Beware of Domestic Objects.”


Claude Cahun was a French writer and artist; she was female, Jewish, left wing, and homosexual. Cahun is perhaps best known for her self-portraits and photomontages, where she disembodies physical attributes to create Surreal compositions. Some of her most well-known photographs are self portraits in which she depicts herself role-playing as a boxer. Cahun took photographs in her home, with minimal equipment, props, make-up and masks to question identity, gender, class, and race.


The BoBo Doll Experiment was originally conducted to investigate if social behaviors (specifically aggression) could be influenced by observation or imitation. In Beware of Domestic Objects, speed bags are suspended from the ceiling and viewers in each location are invited to either hit the bags, observe as they are hit by others, or resist hitting the bags and walk around them within the space.


Each element of the Beware of Domestic Objects series explores themes of primal urges, consumption, sexuality, and the use of props for re-enactment as a method of questioning queer lineage. Whether wild, found, irrational, or ready-made, LaFleur is embracing a queer female lineage that is biological, art historical, and political.

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