A Film Exploring the Mischievous Potential of Domestic Objects

Polly Brown’s latest short film explores the concept of the ready-made in a domestic setting

“Whether Mr Mutt with his own hands made the fountain or not has no importance. He CHOSE it. He took an ordinary article of life, and placed it so that its useful significance disappeared under the new title and point of view – created a new thought for that object,” so wrote an anonymous author in the 1917 edition of the avant-garde magazine The Blind Man, run by Marcel Duchamp. The article, of course, referred to the French artist’s coining of the ‘ready-made’: by taking a ceramic urinal, abstracting it from its original use, giving it the title Fountain and signing it ‘R. Mutt’, Duchamp had discovered the poetic potential inherent within everyday objects. 

Domesticated, a new short film by Polly Brown, explores the concept of the ready-made in a contemporary setting, by documenting the incongruous use of household objects for purposes other than their design dictates. A sports sock becomes a makeshift plug; a USB cable an item with which to tie a ponytail; a circular cardboard box – once holding triangles of Laughing Cow (Light) cheese – is now an ashtray, and a credit card is used to slice hardboiled eggs on the kitchen countertop. Through Brown’s signature whimsy, the photographer also imbues the film with a slapstick undertone, as each repurposed object fails in its new role. Ultimately, Domesticated muses on the at times po-faced nature of interior design, questioning whether we really need to approach our immediate surroundings with such grown-up seriousness.