Tony Oursler



currently on display

Werk - Hello?
Artist / Artist group
Tony Oursler
video, installation, Video installation
Material / Technique
single-channel video, single-channel audio installation ; 1 projector, 1 videotape, 1 videotape recorder, tripod, cloth figure, trunk ; performance by Tracy Leipold
Dimensions / Duration
71 x 92 x 51 cm
ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

“Hello? Hey stranger! How are you? Come here!” Sometimes soft, sometimes brusk and aggressive a woman’s voice is heard coming from a wooden chest standing on the floor with the lid half open. A glance into the chest reveals a human face that speaks to the visitors with its eyes rolling wildly. However, the illusion of a dialogue-type situation is only of short duration. For it quickly becomes clear that this is merely a video recording: The face is projected onto an oval pillow by an LCD mini projector mounted on a small tripod. Attached to the pillow is some light purple fabric, part of which protrudes from the chest, creating the impression of a hand puppet that has been carelessly thrown away. The expressive voice and facial expressions of the actress Tracy Leipold contribute to the haunting, eerie effect of »Hello?«. The script of Leipold’s performance was assembled by Oursler from dialogue fragments taken from various television series.

The installation belongs to a group of works entitled »Dummies«, which has been created since 1991. Oursler began projecting his videos onto doll-like heads, blurring the line between the filmic and the non-filmic. Video no longer acts as a window to look through but is somehow made physical," Oursler remarked in 1999. [1] The "Dummies", which provoke an interplay of fascination and doubt as to their aliveness, made Oursler's work known to a larger audience.

[1] Elizabeth Janus, "Talking Back: A Conversation with Tony Oursler," in: »Tony Oursler. Introjection: Mid-Career Survey 1967-1999«, Williams College Museum of Art, 1999,

Author: Julia Ihls

About the artist/s