blackbirdonline journalSpring 2009  Vol. 8  No. 1


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Tyranny of the Theoretical

Tyranny of the Theoretical, the Myron Helfgott piece documented here, was included in an exhibition of his work at Sweet Briar College’s Babcock Gallery from January to March, 2008. The piece occupied a sectioned-off area in the space; the “Freud” table and the “Art” table were positioned approximately twelve feet from each other, close enough so that the audio emanating from one table could be heard as a background murmur at the other.

Each table was slightly smaller than a card table and carefully made, the surfaces laminated and smooth. The elegant construction of the tables gave a greater weight to the objects placed on them, some of which appeared to be insignificant in and of themselves. Chairs were available so that a viewer could sit, listen to the recorded monologues, and examine a table and its particular array of objects.

Of the work, Helfgott writes:

The structure of the work I have been making in recent years has been influenced by literature, film, and architecture. With the use of audio and traditional sculptural materials I have attempted to address such diverse subjects as the self-portrait, landscape painting, and gender and age issues. Trying to harness the diverse content and materials in these sculptures is like trying to organize debris at a picnic on a windy day.

I had the vision of my going up to my grandmother’s attic (if she had an attic), beginning to partially unpack boxes of memorabilia and arrange them in such a way as to just enjoy reminiscing over these wonderful objects. This became the organizing principle of Tyranny of the Theoretical. The text was written over a period of three years.

In this representation of Tyranny of the Theoretical, we invite you to look at the pictures of the tables and the objects, listen to the monologues, and appreciate the ruminative voice that gives the objects a context, a local habitation, and a name.  end

Click on the thumbnail image below to open a documentary photo of each table. Each photograph is mounted with a control in the lower right corner that allows you to zoom and pan. Upon visiting either page below, the audio for a given table will autoplay and loop in an embedded RealMedia player.

Chide thumb   Alone thumb
 Art table    Freud table

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