On The Table

2000-2001
Installed in NYC, NY, Stowe VT, USA. & Muscat Oman.

On The Table was a media project experimenting with the extent to which art making could become a vehicle for changing the dynamic of interpersonal relationships.  On The Table was done in two stages; At Home and Re(c)Site.

At Home:

I made an equipment that was capable of recording and playing back audio video.  I put the equipment in private homes in New York, Vermont and Tokyo, asking the residents to record and exchange personal video messages amongst themselves.  A total of five households, including my own, used the equipment.  I gave little direction to residents, only to portrait themselves within an intimate distance from the equipment.  Left over a period of time, numerous video messages were exchanged between participants.  In some instances this process revealed emotional issues that had never been discussed before, while in other instances a highly charged emotion was suppressed due to the presence of the equipment.  At the conclusion, I asked residents to select sections of material they felt comfortable having others view, with the understanding that the origin of the material would remain anonymous.  In some cases, I was asked to select the material, and at times was denied the release.

Re(c)Site:

Using the released audio recordings, I created a series of dramatic reenactments with actors.  Each actor was provided with an audio-only recording of the original message, and was instructed to interpret what they heard.  I asked them not to memorize the text, but rather to improvise in a manner of their choice based upon what they had heard.  For some this took the form of a free association based on their own past experiences that resonated with what they had heard and understood.  Others did not use words at all, but instead chose to convey the sentiment of the text simply with facial expressions.

I made a gallery installation with two videos: the first video was of an empty living room with the audio recording from different households, and the second video was of actors’ enactments.  The first video was displayed in the original equipment and the second video was displayed in another equipment I made for the exhibition, which had a slightly bigger screen.  The installation was exhibited at the Kitchen, Harvestworks and the former Cultural Center of Muscat Oman.

On The Table is available for showing.  Contact the artist for further assistance.