WP 11: Context

Philosophy in the Kitchen

Domietta Torlasco

PHILOSOPHY IN THE KITCHEN (U.S., 21 min., 2014) is a split-screen video essay that explores how housework has changed the cinema. Well before other forms of labor in the new global economy erased the line between work and life, housework (from cleaning and cooking to child-rearing) was always that with which we are never done. It seizes all of life incessantly, requiring that we envision new forms of expression and tactics of resistance. The cinema of duration—long takes, repetitive gestures, protracted silences—was born in the kitchen in the 1940s and from there it went on to alter our sense of time and understanding of social relations. Gleaning, collecting, and reframing images of domestic labor from key European films, PHILOSOPHY IN THE KITCHEN sketches for us an alternative history of the cinema—one in which the blurring of work and life gives rise to a new image and thought of time.


Domietta Torlasco is a critical theorist, filmmaker, and associate professor of Italian and comparative literature at Northwestern University. She is the author of two books, The Time of the Crime: Phenomenology, Psychoanalysis, Italian Film (Stanford University Press, 2008) and The Heretical Archive: Digital Memory at the End of Film (University of Minnesota Press: 2013). Her video essays have screened at national and international venues, including the Galerie Campagne Première in Berlin.