Zero Dark Birthday, Maura Brewer, 2014. Single-channel video, color, sound. 10:34 minutes. 3 minute excerpt.


Zero Dark Birthday takes up the film Zero Dark Thirty, in which a female CIA agent named Maya pursues Osama Bin Laden. The racial politics of the original film depend on the total separation of the white, female protagonist from her Pakistani surroundings, represented in Zero Dark Thirty as a sea of brown faces. Zero Dark Birthday inverts these racist optics, replacing the movement towards certainty and distinction with feelings of indistinction and depression. As Chastain moves closer to her target, she becomes increasingly unable to separate herself from him. The CIA tactics used to capture OBL are reimagined as psychic processes, in which the boundaries of self and other are destabilized.


This video was originally made for a 2014 show at Office Hours in Los Angeles, curated by Brody Albert and Nathaniel Noel Klein