Maggie Lee “Daddy TV installations”, 2016
Whether it is acknowledged or not, a child’s development is directly impacted by their parents’ involvement. Maggie Lee demonstrates the bond she shared between her mother and father in two separate installations, but the one that resonated on me the most was her ghastly representation of her father, the adored figure that slowly turned into a wounding reminder of his absence.
Lee uses film to document segments of her life, showing us each moment that became defining bases for her present self. The functioning TV reproduces the emotional trance Lee is mentally confined to. Her experiences as a child are always remembered, never forgotten.
The absence of a father. At the beginning of the film, Lee portrays her father as a typical parent basking in the love for his child. Joyous expressions of affection showed on his face. Their cherished bond slowly disintegrates. The direction of the film begins to change as the naive childlike spirit that was once Lee begins to notice more.
“Daddy was a magician.”
“Daddy used to…”
“Daddy…” Repeating the word “Daddy”, Lee encapsulates the severed bond she has with her father. It’s as if the memories of her father taunt her, mesmerizes her entire being.
At the age of 4, her father was no longer a parent. The role model, the static figure is no longer static, he was no longer the man she thought and wanted him to be. She believed he was an amazing magician, left their family to pursue his career. She soon realized this was a lie, that he was a fraud.
A fraud of a father. His magic was not real.
“And then Daddy left….”
Her Mommy raised her but her Daddy taught her. Taught her to do better, be better than he was. Lee taught herself to be strong like her mother and talented like her father. But she wasn’t her father. She was the best version of him. Dedicated, creative, enchanting, and present. She was there and he wasn’t.
“Daddy TV installations” memorializes Lee’s life memories. Lee watched as she let her life memories play out. Over and over again. She came to terms with her life, as she had to face the painful goodbye from both of her parents. And yet Lee came out stronger. She exploited her pain into an art form. Created a masterpiece all by herself. Just like the TV installation standing solitary perched up on top of a pedestal, Lee stands strong. She is the technological outlet that displays memorabilia as art, expressing Lee’s visual acceptance of life. Maggie Lee encapsulates her soul in videography. The conception of a young child’s mind transforms her into an astute individual.
The real magic lies in the entirety of her installations.