Cecelia Condit

How This 71-Year-Old Video Art Pioneer Became a TikTok Star
Cecelia Condit’s unsettling 1983 work “Possibly in Michigan” has found a home among Generation Z.
One recent weekday, I was sitting with the video artist and retired professor Cecelia Condit in the dining room of her fairly nondescript apartment in the upper-middle-class Milwaukee suburb of Shorewood, Wis. The space also doubles as Condit’s studio, but other than a laptop and a few hard drives, scant evidence of a working artist could be found. Over grapes and pudding, we watched my iPhone, which was spitting out audio from “Possibly in Michigan,” Condit’s brutal, surreal and darkly funny 1983 art musical that is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Shot using then nascent video technology and set to an eerily chipper Casio-fueled soundtrack provided by Karen Skladany, who also acted in the film, the 12-minute “Possibly in Michigan” follows a masked cannibal named Arthur — played by, at different points, Condit and the actors Bill Blume and Stephen Vogel — as he stalks Jill Sands (playing a character named Sharon) and Skladany (as Sharon’s friend Janice) through a nondescript Middle American shopping mall. (Despite its name, the video was filmed in Cleveland, where Condit was living at the time.) The cannibal follows the women home, at which point he’s murdered and then eaten himself. The film ends with the body being disposed in a couple of trash bags and picked up by a local garbage collector.
by John Chiaverina
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