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Williamsburg Greenpoint News + Arts

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By Trent Morse

February, 2009

Not long after Emily Newman moved to St. Petersburg, Russia, on a Fulbright grant, a strange thing happened. She had a kid. In these six videos, Newman uses the aesthetically ho-hum medium of home movies to explore and adjust to her new life. For Isaac Doll, the artists uses a (voodoo?) doll, a look-alike of her son Isaac, to mimic the child’s every move as he dances in front of the television. The presence of duel Isaacs makes the real Isaac’s motions take on immense importance. That same sense of gravitas-in-the-mundane takes a slightly more disturbing turn in Yana Is Shooting This From Her Window, in which the artist’s friend films the activities of passersby from her St. Petersburg apartment. It has the dirty, invasive aura of CIA surveillance video. Taken as a whole, the series offers a compelling, if self-indulgent, glimpse of an American woman coping with mother hood in Mother Russia.