Ship of Fools
Curated by George William Price | 1981—2005 | TRT 1:24:58

Mama
Video Details
Hester Scheurwater | 2005 | 00:02:59 | Netherlands | English | Color | 4:3

Hester Scheurwater's Mama sees the artist violently beating her white paint-smeared face while crying out for motherly relief. 

Close Details
Mama
Video Details
Hester Scheurwater | 2005 | 00:02:59 | Netherlands | English | Color | 4:3

Hester Scheurwater's Mama sees the artist violently beating her white paint-smeared face while crying out for motherly relief. 

Close Details
Grip of the Gorgon
Video Details
Mike Kuchar | 2001 | 12:02 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Mike Kuchar’s Grip of the Gorgon is a reinterpretation of Eugene O’Neill’s American classic Long Day’s Journey into Night as a telenovela — a play deeply wrought with psychic and emotional trauma.

Close Details
Grand Mal
Video Details
Tony Oursler | 1981 | 23:45 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Through its DIY set construction and amateurish delivery, Grand Mal celebrates in-the-moment experience and reflection — recognizing that there are no predetermined rules for defining what is “art.”

Close Details
Psykho III The Musical
Video Details
Tom Rubnitz | 1985 | 24:07 | United States | English | B&W and Color | 4:3

Tom Rubnitz and his performers in Pyskho III the Musical align the values of camp with those of failure — muddying the borders of creativity and making individual works less legible.

Close Details
Deadline
Video Details
Max Almy | 1981 | 04:46 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Max Almy's Deadline is a self-reflexive loop that reworks contemporary culture by opening up a space in the form of a temporal fissure. 

Close Details
Human Touch
Video Details
Sterling Ruby | 2001 | 02:17 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

The specter of death looms large in Sterling Ruby’s Human Touch as we watch the hands of two hunters gently caress the antlers of a slain deer.

Close Details
The Perfect Spot
Video Details
Jennet Thomas | 2002 | 15:02 | United Kingdom | English | Color | 4:3

Upon playing and, quite predictably, losing the national lottery, a beloved grandmother is required by British law to take her own life in Jennet Thomas’ Perfect Spot.

Close Details
Mama
Video Details
Hester Scheurwater | 2005 | 00:02:59 | Netherlands | English | Color | 4:3

Hester Scheurwater's Mama sees the artist violently beating her white paint-smeared face while crying out for motherly relief. 

Close Details
Grip of the Gorgon
Video Details
Mike Kuchar | 2001 | 12:02 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Mike Kuchar’s Grip of the Gorgon is a reinterpretation of Eugene O’Neill’s American classic Long Day’s Journey into Night as a telenovela — a play deeply wrought with psychic and emotional trauma.

Close Details
Grand Mal
Video Details
Tony Oursler | 1981 | 23:45 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Through its DIY set construction and amateurish delivery, Grand Mal celebrates in-the-moment experience and reflection — recognizing that there are no predetermined rules for defining what is “art.”

Close Details
Psykho III The Musical
Video Details
Tom Rubnitz | 1985 | 24:07 | United States | English | B&W and Color | 4:3

Tom Rubnitz and his performers in Pyskho III the Musical align the values of camp with those of failure — muddying the borders of creativity and making individual works less legible.

Close Details
Deadline
Video Details
Max Almy | 1981 | 04:46 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Max Almy's Deadline is a self-reflexive loop that reworks contemporary culture by opening up a space in the form of a temporal fissure. 

Close Details
Human Touch
Video Details
Sterling Ruby | 2001 | 02:17 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

The specter of death looms large in Sterling Ruby’s Human Touch as we watch the hands of two hunters gently caress the antlers of a slain deer.

Close Details
The Perfect Spot
Video Details
Jennet Thomas | 2002 | 15:02 | United Kingdom | English | Color | 4:3

Upon playing and, quite predictably, losing the national lottery, a beloved grandmother is required by British law to take her own life in Jennet Thomas’ Perfect Spot.

Close Details
Mama
Video Details
Hester Scheurwater | 2005 | 00:02:59 | Netherlands | English | Color | 4:3

Hester Scheurwater's Mama sees the artist violently beating her white paint-smeared face while crying out for motherly relief. 

Close Details
Grip of the Gorgon
Video Details
Mike Kuchar | 2001 | 12:02 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Mike Kuchar’s Grip of the Gorgon is a reinterpretation of Eugene O’Neill’s American classic Long Day’s Journey into Night as a telenovela — a play deeply wrought with psychic and emotional trauma.

Close Details
Grand Mal
Video Details
Tony Oursler | 1981 | 23:45 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Through its DIY set construction and amateurish delivery, Grand Mal celebrates in-the-moment experience and reflection — recognizing that there are no predetermined rules for defining what is “art.”

Close Details
Psykho III The Musical
Video Details
Tom Rubnitz | 1985 | 24:07 | United States | English | B&W and Color | 4:3

Tom Rubnitz and his performers in Pyskho III the Musical align the values of camp with those of failure — muddying the borders of creativity and making individual works less legible.

Close Details
Deadline
Video Details
Max Almy | 1981 | 04:46 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Max Almy's Deadline is a self-reflexive loop that reworks contemporary culture by opening up a space in the form of a temporal fissure. 

Close Details
Human Touch
Video Details
Sterling Ruby | 2001 | 02:17 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

The specter of death looms large in Sterling Ruby’s Human Touch as we watch the hands of two hunters gently caress the antlers of a slain deer.

Close Details
The Perfect Spot
Video Details
Jennet Thomas | 2002 | 15:02 | United Kingdom | English | Color | 4:3

Upon playing and, quite predictably, losing the national lottery, a beloved grandmother is required by British law to take her own life in Jennet Thomas’ Perfect Spot.

Close Details
Mama
Video Details
Hester Scheurwater | 2005 | 00:02:59 | Netherlands | English | Color | 4:3

Hester Scheurwater's Mama sees the artist violently beating her white paint-smeared face while crying out for motherly relief. 

Close Details
Grip of the Gorgon
Video Details
Mike Kuchar | 2001 | 12:02 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Mike Kuchar’s Grip of the Gorgon is a reinterpretation of Eugene O’Neill’s American classic Long Day’s Journey into Night as a telenovela — a play deeply wrought with psychic and emotional trauma.

Close Details
Grand Mal
Video Details
Tony Oursler | 1981 | 23:45 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Through its DIY set construction and amateurish delivery, Grand Mal celebrates in-the-moment experience and reflection — recognizing that there are no predetermined rules for defining what is “art.”

Close Details
Psykho III The Musical
Video Details
Tom Rubnitz | 1985 | 24:07 | United States | English | B&W and Color | 4:3

Tom Rubnitz and his performers in Pyskho III the Musical align the values of camp with those of failure — muddying the borders of creativity and making individual works less legible.

Close Details
Deadline
Video Details
Max Almy | 1981 | 04:46 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Max Almy's Deadline is a self-reflexive loop that reworks contemporary culture by opening up a space in the form of a temporal fissure. 

Close Details
Human Touch
Video Details
Sterling Ruby | 2001 | 02:17 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

The specter of death looms large in Sterling Ruby’s Human Touch as we watch the hands of two hunters gently caress the antlers of a slain deer.

Close Details
The Perfect Spot
Video Details
Jennet Thomas | 2002 | 15:02 | United Kingdom | English | Color | 4:3

Upon playing and, quite predictably, losing the national lottery, a beloved grandmother is required by British law to take her own life in Jennet Thomas’ Perfect Spot.

Close Details
Mama
Video Details
Hester Scheurwater | 2005 | 00:02:59 | Netherlands | English | Color | 4:3

Hester Scheurwater's Mama sees the artist violently beating her white paint-smeared face while crying out for motherly relief. 

Close Details
Grip of the Gorgon
Video Details
Mike Kuchar | 2001 | 12:02 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Mike Kuchar’s Grip of the Gorgon is a reinterpretation of Eugene O’Neill’s American classic Long Day’s Journey into Night as a telenovela — a play deeply wrought with psychic and emotional trauma.

Close Details
Grand Mal
Video Details
Tony Oursler | 1981 | 23:45 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Through its DIY set construction and amateurish delivery, Grand Mal celebrates in-the-moment experience and reflection — recognizing that there are no predetermined rules for defining what is “art.”

Close Details
Psykho III The Musical
Video Details
Tom Rubnitz | 1985 | 24:07 | United States | English | B&W and Color | 4:3

Tom Rubnitz and his performers in Pyskho III the Musical align the values of camp with those of failure — muddying the borders of creativity and making individual works less legible.

Close Details
Deadline
Video Details
Max Almy | 1981 | 04:46 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Max Almy's Deadline is a self-reflexive loop that reworks contemporary culture by opening up a space in the form of a temporal fissure. 

Close Details
Human Touch
Video Details
Sterling Ruby | 2001 | 02:17 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

The specter of death looms large in Sterling Ruby’s Human Touch as we watch the hands of two hunters gently caress the antlers of a slain deer.

Close Details
The Perfect Spot
Video Details
Jennet Thomas | 2002 | 15:02 | United Kingdom | English | Color | 4:3

Upon playing and, quite predictably, losing the national lottery, a beloved grandmother is required by British law to take her own life in Jennet Thomas’ Perfect Spot.

Close Details
Mama
Video Details
Hester Scheurwater | 2005 | 00:02:59 | Netherlands | English | Color | 4:3

Hester Scheurwater's Mama sees the artist violently beating her white paint-smeared face while crying out for motherly relief. 

Close Details
Grip of the Gorgon
Video Details
Mike Kuchar | 2001 | 12:02 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Mike Kuchar’s Grip of the Gorgon is a reinterpretation of Eugene O’Neill’s American classic Long Day’s Journey into Night as a telenovela — a play deeply wrought with psychic and emotional trauma.

Close Details
Grand Mal
Video Details
Tony Oursler | 1981 | 23:45 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Through its DIY set construction and amateurish delivery, Grand Mal celebrates in-the-moment experience and reflection — recognizing that there are no predetermined rules for defining what is “art.”

Close Details
Psykho III The Musical
Video Details
Tom Rubnitz | 1985 | 24:07 | United States | English | B&W and Color | 4:3

Tom Rubnitz and his performers in Pyskho III the Musical align the values of camp with those of failure — muddying the borders of creativity and making individual works less legible.

Close Details
Deadline
Video Details
Max Almy | 1981 | 04:46 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Max Almy's Deadline is a self-reflexive loop that reworks contemporary culture by opening up a space in the form of a temporal fissure. 

Close Details
Human Touch
Video Details
Sterling Ruby | 2001 | 02:17 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

The specter of death looms large in Sterling Ruby’s Human Touch as we watch the hands of two hunters gently caress the antlers of a slain deer.

Close Details
The Perfect Spot
Video Details
Jennet Thomas | 2002 | 15:02 | United Kingdom | English | Color | 4:3

Upon playing and, quite predictably, losing the national lottery, a beloved grandmother is required by British law to take her own life in Jennet Thomas’ Perfect Spot.

Close Details
Mama
Video Details
Hester Scheurwater | 2005 | 00:02:59 | Netherlands | English | Color | 4:3

Hester Scheurwater's Mama sees the artist violently beating her white paint-smeared face while crying out for motherly relief. 

Close Details
Grip of the Gorgon
Video Details
Mike Kuchar | 2001 | 12:02 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Mike Kuchar’s Grip of the Gorgon is a reinterpretation of Eugene O’Neill’s American classic Long Day’s Journey into Night as a telenovela — a play deeply wrought with psychic and emotional trauma.

Close Details
Grand Mal
Video Details
Tony Oursler | 1981 | 23:45 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Through its DIY set construction and amateurish delivery, Grand Mal celebrates in-the-moment experience and reflection — recognizing that there are no predetermined rules for defining what is “art.”

Close Details
Psykho III The Musical
Video Details
Tom Rubnitz | 1985 | 24:07 | United States | English | B&W and Color | 4:3

Tom Rubnitz and his performers in Pyskho III the Musical align the values of camp with those of failure — muddying the borders of creativity and making individual works less legible.

Close Details
Deadline
Video Details
Max Almy | 1981 | 04:46 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

Max Almy's Deadline is a self-reflexive loop that reworks contemporary culture by opening up a space in the form of a temporal fissure. 

Close Details
Human Touch
Video Details
Sterling Ruby | 2001 | 02:17 | United States | English | Color | 4:3

The specter of death looms large in Sterling Ruby’s Human Touch as we watch the hands of two hunters gently caress the antlers of a slain deer.

Close Details
The Perfect Spot
Video Details
Jennet Thomas | 2002 | 15:02 | United Kingdom | English | Color | 4:3

Upon playing and, quite predictably, losing the national lottery, a beloved grandmother is required by British law to take her own life in Jennet Thomas’ Perfect Spot.

Close Details

About this Program:

In his seminal text Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason, philosopher Michel Foucault writes lyrically on Plato’s allegory of the ship of fools taken from Book VI of his Republic. Foucault fictitiously wrote of great ships that would transport society’s madmen, in their leaking bows, from port city to port city around the coast of mainland Europe. Sometimes these barges of the damned would come crashing ashore and release their human cargo out onto the jagged rocks below like a burst artery. It is this spillage of “likeminded” insanity and temporal dissonance that is explored throughout Ship of Fools. From the viscerally disturbed performance of Hester Scheurwater in her video Mama to the camp irony of Tom Rubnitz’s Pyskho III The Musical, each title wrestles with the subjects of family and addiction, death and dying, and social or physical movement.

Continue reading George William Price's Ship of Fools

 


 

George William Price is an arts administrator and curator invested in artistic and political expressions that engender alternative, avuncular, and non-hierarchical histories. Price has curated and administered numerous exhibitions and moving image programs for institutions such as Conversations at the Edge, Chicago Urban Art Society, Rapid Pulse International Performance Festival, and University of the Arts London. He has also worked for a number of arts organizations in both the USA and UK including Matt’s Gallery, London; Electronic Arts Intermix, New York City; and PAHC / studio, Chicago. Price is a curatorial resident at Chicago Artists Coalition with forthcoming exhibitions in June and November 2016.

Featured titles

Mama

"Mama mama mama...," a woman calls out again and again, over and over. Is it her child that she mimics, or is she calling for her own mother? A desperate video performance in the first person.

Grip of the Gorgon

The snake-haired sisters of old legend are alive and well in Manhattan... Well, sort of. And yes, kind of turning parts of men hard like stone... but one of them is frustrated and getting desperate.

Grand Mal

"Oursler’s thematic concerns betray classic Freudian anxieties about sex and death. In Grand Mal, the hero takes a convoluted odyssey through a landscape of disturbing experiences. The video’s free association includes, "digressions about the difference between salt and sugar and a version of the creation myth that is both banal and terrifying."

—Christine Tamblyn, “Art Notes,” Scan (November/December 1981)

Psykho III The Musical

Psykho III The Musical is an intriguing play on the tension between “authentic” and “pop” camp. This celebration of artifice was originally conceived by Mark Oates as a stage musical parody following the release of Psycho II in 1983, and was performed at the East Village’s most notorious nightspot — The Pyramid Club.

Deadline

An insert square of a man running is superimposed over a magnified mouth that speaks to him—first in nurturing encouragement, then with a no-win Mommie Dearest kind of criticism. Originally presented as an installation on six monitors, Deadline focuses on “the stress man feels in the urban environment,” using a range of digital video effects to stretch, compress, flip and fracture the image.

Human Touch

A re-edit of found footage of a hunter touching the antlers of a fallen deer. Human Touch suggests an uncomfortable intimacy between hunter and prey.

This title is also available on Sterling Ruby: Interventionist Works 2001-2002.

Perfect Spot

A daughter leads her mother on a rope while they take a walk, looking for a place where the mother can bid her final farewell. Before she leaves, they have a picnic, she sings a song, and they chat about the family. An absurd domestic drama played out against the background of a summer’s day by the seaside.

Resources

Ship of Fools