16mm/HD, color, sound, 13:00, 2011
The Object of Society Is results from a year's research on the writings of Eleanor Roosevelt. Perlin’s work explores intersections between personal and social histories, and investigates the documentation and representation of cultural and social values. The film is informed by a multitude of sources, among them the thousands of “My Day” newspaper columns Roosevelt wrote between 1935 and 1962, which reveal the mingling of her personal and political ideologies; John Milton’s 1655 poem “On His Blindness” and the 1908 play The Blue Bird, which Roosevelt referred to as inspirations throughout her life; and the copious annotations Roosevelt made to drafts of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In this exhibition, literary parables and early film combine with political rhetoric and Roosevelt’s biography to comment on the ways in which a wide array of images and texts shape political discourse in America.