Madness Q & A: The Watery Part of the World

2012/2014

Video, drawings, photographs

Solo Show at The Reading Room, Dallas

The video is a dialogue between whales and humans about madness.

Whales ask questions from philosopher Michel Foucault’s massive tome History of Madness.

On a cruise ship, my family answers the whales’ questions with quotes from Moby Dick.

Melville’s canonical American narrative of mania directed towards the white whale (a stand-in for oil? for happiness? for domination of nature/others?) is juxtaposed with Foucault’s history of madness in relationship to animality, criminality, sickness, the body, power, the unknown, and otherness.

Q: Why, from the old alliance of water and madness, was this ship born, and what made it appear at that very moment?

A: Oh! jolly is the gale, And a joker is the whale, A’ flourishin’ his tail, — Such a funny, sporty, gamy, jesty, joky, hoky-poky lad, is the Ocean, oh! The scud all a flyin’, That’s his flip only foamin’; When he stirs in the spicin’, — Such a funny, sporty, gamy, jesty, joky, hoky-poky lad, is the Ocean, oh! Thunder splits the ships, But he only smacks his lips, A tastin’ of this flip, — Such a funny, sporty, gamy, jesty, joky, hoky- poky lad, is the Ocean, oh!

Madness Q & A, video

Thank you to Catwalk Residency and The Reading Room for your support of this project.

 

Installation shot

The Watery Part of the World, digital drawing

Freudian Lip, digital drawing

Friends of Kind, digital drawing

Vox Humana & Antique Kinship, c-prints