Tony Oursler

Autochthonous AAAAHHHH


Not on display

Tony Oursler born 1957
Wood, fabric and video, projection, colour
Unconfirmed: 2000 × 1500 × 1500 mm
duration: 16 min., 33 sec.
Purchased 1996


Oursler commented on his 'autochthonous' series of 1995 to which Autochthonous AAAAHHHH belongs: '…they imply that there is a darker drama going on precisely because the viewer can't hear but rather is compelled to imagine an aggressive, antagonistic voice; in other words, there is a collaboration with the darker side.' (Janus, p.123.) The artist wrote the text for these pieces with the idea of violation in mind, particularly violation as imagined by the female, for example in an alien abduction (Janus, p.123). Oursler's work is fed by such accounts circulating in popular culture and the influence of these stories on the individual unconscious. In the early 1990s, when he introduced dummies into his work, the artist began to explore the psychosis-inducing effect of mass media on the individual. The sinister video-activated dummy provided the conjunction between psychic life and external reality (Janus, p.120-1). Autochthonous AAAAHHHH plays back to the viewer the frightening possibility of the demons inside themselves: '…they're the most distant pieces, I think, because it is about isolation, its about a battle that only one person can have … at that point you are alone … it's a lonely place that that woman is in …' (Lewison interview with Oursler, unpaginated.)

Further reading:
Elizabeth Janus, 'Towards a Psychodramatic Grammar of Moving Images: A Conversation with Tony Oursler', Tony Oursler, exhibition catalogue, capcMusée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux, Bordeaux 1998, pp.119-126
Simona Lodi, 'Empathy, Mutation, Audience', 'Video is like Water' (interview with Tony Oursler), Tony Oursler, Galleria 1000eventi, exhibition catalogue, Milan 1998, pp.11-29
Jeremy Lewison and Tony Oursler, unpublished transcript of interview, TAV 1553A, Tate Gallery archives, London 1996, unpaginated

Kathleen Brunner
March 2000

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