Hector the Dummy gives voice to otherwise disembodied Internet confessionals in monologues based on thousands of published men seeking women ads on craigslist. Performing the scenarios in mundane personal settings featured in posters’ photographs, artist T. Foley animates a range of masculine display-attempts that vie to attract the attention of women online.
The video is part of a series of live and recorded performances featuring T. Foley and Hector the Dummy. In this "body" of work, the artist makes use of the original virtual being, a ventriloquist dummy, to speak to the ways individuals represent themselves online.
Screen capture from a live performance entitled, "The Dummy Is Present," by artist T. Foley and Hector the Dummy, assisted by Jennifer Melvin at the Andy Warhol Museum on January 6, 2012.
In the performance, Foley manipulates the dummy on ChatRoulette.com* to search for unwitting performance partners. The collective action takes place on the big screen (via projection), where she invites the live audience to participate, magnifying transitory online exchanges, and taking spectators to a wholly unpredictable place.
*Chatroulette is a website that pairs strangers from around the world together for webcam-based conversations. Visitors to the website begin an online chat (video, audio and text) with another visitor who is chosen at random. At any point, either user may leave the current chat by initiating another random connection.
A shortened version of The Dummy Is Present recorded during Experimental Comedy Training Camp (a thematic residency program) at The Banff Centre. In the spirit of experimentation, a curtain blocking off the view of the live audience was added to the performance as an element of surprise. Additionally, individuals in the audience were invited to prepare mini-performances for random Chatroulette partners. This clip features artist Sean Joseph Patrick Carney doing a trick.
Hector the Dummy performs to the sound of the Banff Stairwell Women's Choir at Experimental Comedy Training Camp, a thematic artist residency program at The Banff Centre in Alberta Canada in September/October 2012. The audio was recorded live in a stairwell of the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Building and was an improvisation in response to the prompt "sing sad sounds." Choir members include artists: Briony Clarke, Bean Gilsdorf, Leah Bryne, T. Foley, Bridget Moser and Maarit Suomi-Väänänen.
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A conceptual reenactment of Acconci's famous work featuring Hector the Dummy, and assisted by artists Briony Clarke and Bridget Moser (on puppetry), and Bean Gilsdorf (on voiceover). The five minute performance was recorded live on October 5, 2012 at Experimental Comedy Camp, a thematic residency at The Banff Center, in Alberta, Canada. Led by Director of Behaviour, artist Michael Portnoy, the purpose of the residency was to make one's artwork funnier.