Kenneth Anger (1927-)
Video, color, sound, 10 min.
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of the artist
Rights and Reproductions Information
Mouse Heaven © 2005 Kenneth Anger
Using a range of editing techniques and digital effects, Kenneth Anger animates a collection of rare Mickey Mouse memorabilia to both celebrate and critique one of Hollywood’s most recognizable symbols. The film is divided into movements, each with its own color scheme and thematic focus, and accompanied by a soundtrack of pop songs selected for their structural and suggestive qualities. On the surface, this is a playful typology of an American emblem in its many forms (cartoon, toy, souvenir, appliance, tattoo) and materials (plastic, wood, ceramic, cardboard, tin, fabric, rubber). But on a deeper level, Mouse Heaven alludes to the social, cultural, and sexual implications of what Anger calls this “demon ‘fetish’ figure.” The idea of Mickey as an automaton is established in the very first image, which shows a real mouse in a cage, and by the film’s end, the icon is presented as pure commodity, with the last iteration of his form made from a quarter and two dimes.