On the Spot

Years Completed: 2002-2007
Dimensions: Approximately 10’ x 17’ x 7’
Media: Stage set, 2 TVs, 2 VCRs, speakers, surveillance camera, mixer, microphone

A karaoke-style, multi-media installation where viewers perform Catskill jokes, punctuated by a rim shot – language and timing, roles and risk. Placed on the spot in a socially awkward situation, it gives viewers the ability to ‘die’ on stage. This installation invites viewers to draw upon their own sense of comedic delivery. It uses banal humor that makes us smile, smirk and only sometimes laugh out loud. Yet these jokes turn us all into performers from time to time and in this case does so by ‘exhibiting’ us in the space of the gallery. A participant’s performance is transmitted via live feed camera to a monitor resting at his or her feet–a displacing device. The work directly engages the viewers, encouraging laughter in museum environments that are too often considered sacrosanct, authoritarian, and austere.