• Martha Rosler, Semiotics of the Kitchen, 1975 (video still). Video, single-channel, black and white, sound. Duration: 6’ 21’’. MACBA Collection. Fundació MACBA. Work of art acquired thanks to Família Rumeu. © Courtesy of Martha Rosler, 2020

Culinary Alphabet

Activity inspired by Martha Rosler’s work Semiotics of the Kitchen

Artist Biography

Martha Rosler (New York) uses a variety of media in her work,  such as video, photography, photomontage, sculpture, installation and performance. She is also a critic, theorist, and professor. Rosler’s work is centered on the role of women in society, as represented in the media and advertising, as well as the relationship between private life and the public sphere.

Rosler interrogates the world we live in from a feminist and critical perspective. Her political commitment has led her to deal with the conflicts and problems that take place not only in her country but also internationally, in places such as Cuba, Mexico, the former Yugoslavia, or nearer ones to us like Barcelona.

Explanation of the artwork | Watch

The work of art Semiotics of the Kitchen, present in the exhibition «Martha Rosler. How Do We Get There From Here?», is a video and performance piece released in 1975, it features Martha Rosler as a cooking show presenter, she performs her own culinary alphabet with  kitchen utensils, some of them outdated or very strange! She names them, and does an action with each of them until the alphabet is finished, using her own body to represent the last letters, such as the letter Z, for which she replicates the mark of “El Zorro”. At the end of the entire work, the artist offers a shrug, somehow defusing the negative reading of the parody.

She is not smiling and seems tired of having to devote so many unpaid hours to housework; through her actions she transmits a contained rage thus criticizing the traditional role of women in society and the role of television and media in reinforcing them.

How to participate?

We encourage you to reinterpret freely Martha Rosler performance.

  • Search for kitchen utensils and choose a maximum of 10 to represent 10 letters of the alphabet (if you find it hard don’t worry! you can use your own body, as does Martha Rosler!)
  • Decide among you what feeling you’d like to express with your action (Martha Rosler expressed rage, because she was angry …) You can choose the feeling you want: joy, excitement, boredom, sadness, hope.
  • Try movements with your body and the chosen utensils that express this feeling.
  • Test your reinterpretation of Semiotics of the Kitchen.
  • Save and share (We recommend videos no longer than 2 minutes).
  • Send it to us noufuturdesdecasa@esbaluard.org
  • We will collect all your contributions and make them public through our website and the museum’s networks.


27th March 2020 → 8th April 2020