Harry Shearer's "Face Time"
Installation of LCD screens displaying silent, “talking” heads of pundits and politicians. The footage is culled from pre-air satellite feeds of speeches and news.
In the raw feeds, the non-talking heads seem both more and less human than they are on “real” television. More human, obviously, in the sense that each has developed an idiosyncratic style of waiting his or her turn. But also less human because every facial expression is placed inside the frame of a TV screen, which in turn is placed inside the larger frame of the work as a whole. These aren't people; they've been cruelly objectified into absurdist art. Sad to say, they are much more compelling in silent repose than they'll ever be once they finally get to speak about the Iraq war, or the budget deficit, or the latest political polls. We'll stop staring as we listen to what they say. But we won't listen very hard.
"Face Time" was on exhibit at the Conner Contemporary Art gallery in D.C. earlier this month.