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The family showroom

Guy Ben Ner’s excellent video Stealing Beauty (2007, about 18 minutes) was featured in an architecture talk that my husband attended. When he came home I was eager to hear about what invited speaker Vito Acconci had to say. The reply? “Forget Acconci, watch this!” In the video the narrative imitates a typical American sitcom, but the artsy twist here is that it’s shot in various IKEA stores, without staff permission. Complete with punchy theme music, outifts that coordinate with the showroom sets, and dialogue that centers around the value of money and family, the video is a hilarious performance piece. Rather than commercial breaks to cut up the action, scenes take place in different showroom sets, sometimes in an entirely different store. The transition between spaces reminds one of Borges, the family chatter going on in kitchens folded into other kitchens. When a certain action (dishwashing, showering, watching a porn flick) can’t be performed in the store, sound editing fills in. IKEA showroom set as narrative constraint–brilliant! Watching the family perform their lives just like the showrooms perform perfect and desirable furniture sets produces that delicious familiar/strange feeling, and leaves you wanting to run to your local IKEA store with a video camera and a script. Watch Stealing Beauty at UBUWEB.

Still from Stealing Beauty by Guy Ben Ner
Family values among the IKEA price tags

3 thoughts on “The family showroom

  1. Wow, this is brilliant. My favorite part is when the father describes the concept of private property to his children, actually that whole kitchen scene is hilarious.

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