Obligation To Others Holds Me In My Place is an experimental documentary film focusing on American mixed race families. This poetic investigation will feature four families based in four different parts of the country, documenting both their everyday behavior and regularly occurring special occasions. The final form is a four-channel feature-length film installation, with each channel divided by occasion. Alongside the film, Bass is assembling an archive of family home movies and photographic footage featuring mixed race American families from the 1930s through the present. The multiform family album serves as an annotation of the ongoing film process, a challenging of the linear narrative of racial progress, and an identification of gaps in the American archive.
This project is the third in Chloë Bass’s series of works exploring scales of intimacy: the first studying the scale of the individual (The Bureau of Self-Recognition, 2011–13); the second investigating partnerships (The Book of Everyday Instruction, 2015–18); and now a work at the scale of the immediate family (Obligation To Others Holds Me In My Place, 2018–21).
Chloë Bass (b. 1984, New York City) is a multiform conceptual artist working in performance, situation, conversation, publication, and installation. Her work uses daily life as a site of deep research to address scales of intimacy: where patterns hold and break as group sizes expand.