Perfect Housewife

Yihan Chen

A toolkit of mechanical machines designed for a fictional feminine role, Perfect Housewife is an installation that examines entrenched ideas about woman’s household labor. It offers resistance through humor and self-examination.



If I were a housewife, what would I need in order to fill that role flawlessly? Perfect Housewife is a toolkit customized for a fictional role I assigned onto myself. It is designed as a series of machines for this imaginary character, accompanied by a manual(performance) that explains their ‘perfect usage.’

These kinetic installations include a chopping knife that helps me avoid the strong smell of onions, a lulling hand machine that assists to calm a baby to sleep and allows me to continue to play on my phone, an iron steak cooker, and a machine that encourages me and my other machines to finish my work.

Objectively, these machines are useless, because of the nature that this perfect role does not exist. In the performance, I try to make everything perfect as a housewife and pretend that everything is under control. In this context, the role of ‘housewife’ is an over exaggerated symbol. Through the clumsy, repetitive, strange, and even violent mechanical movements of these imperfect machines, I aim to express resistance to prevalent attitudes relating to woman’s household labor. I consider this performance as an experiment of challenging the perceptions of women as housewives.