What If?
2001
silicone, pigments, fiberglass, steel, software, electronics, wood, procedural digital audio

video clip

This work presents two figures - one speaking into the other’s ear - who may or may not be the
same person. They look alike, sound alike, and even blink at the same time. Is one putting
thoughts into the other’s head? Or is the other one hearing voices? Are they really the same person? They worry endlessly about what they don’t know, can’t remember, or don’t want to think about. Like the other animatronic sculptures I have made, what they say is not pre-recorded; it is generated in real time by a computer program. The conversations that these figures carry on are not pre-recorder. They are neither completely scripted, nor are they random; rather, the software gives each a ‘personality,’ a vocabulary, associative habits, obsessions, and other quirks of personality which allow them to behave as if in a scene of film, acting out their role over and over, but always changing. But these particularly neurotic characters tend to repeat themselves obsessively in a way that many will find very familiar.

example conversation:

-what if you catch on fire?
-do i still dazzle you?
-what if i didn’t lock the door?
-ok.
-ok.
-this is so debilitating.
-what if I’m imagining this?
-what if you are dreaming?
-why does this keep going on?
-what do you want me to tell you?
-how can you describe this?
-what if this is a big joke?
-what if we are just pawns in our own game?
-it is not easy to understand this.
-what if we were analytical?
-what if this is all there is?
-what if i catch on fire?
-what if you catch on fire?
-how can i understand it?
-fantastic.
-okay.
-how will they ever know?
-what if they make a big deal out of nothing?
-what if i left the stove on?
-what if i didn’t lock the door?
-what if you were imagining this?
-what if this was a big trick?
-it would be awesome.
-what if i was over-sensitive about everything?
-it would be stupendous.
-you seem aloof towards something.
-why do you seem aloof towards something?
-what if i was sarcastic?
-what if i didn’t know how to explain it?
-it would be a shock.
-what if i was melodramatic?
-what if you are dreaming all of this?
-how can we know the whole story?
-it would be outrageous.
-why does this keep going on?
-what if i forgot to lock the door?
-what if we never go anywhere?
-what if we catch on fire?
-you treat me like shit sometimes.
-what if we are just pawns in someone else’s game?
-it really is not easy to understand you at all.
-what if i am dreaming all this?
-stop.
-stop.
-do you feel shitty?
-it would be surprising.
-no, I am just saying that to upset you, right?
-give it a rest.
-do you feel mystified?
-stop.
-stop.
-it’s no use.
-how can I stand that?
-what if I left the stove on?
-what if you were worried about nothing?
-what if I’m imagining all this?
-it would be a dream.
-it would be funny.
-i feel troubled.
-what if i ran away?
-stop.
-what if I am making a big deal about nothing?
-what if I didn’t lock the door?
-it would be alarming.
-I’m totally confused.
-what if i was picky?
-do you think we are getting anywhere with this?
-i feel apprehensive.
-it’s no use.
-what if I’m making a big deal out of nothing?
-what if i was analytical?
-what if I tried to figure this out?
-what if you seem selfish about me?
-it would be disgusting.
-how can I possibly know?
-do I still arouse you?
-do you still have a thirst for me?
-from time to time.
-what if they complain to someone?
-what if we are just pawns in someone else’s game?
-stop.
-stop.
-do you feel puzzled?
-how will you figure this out?
-you seem stuck with me.
-why do i seem stuck with you?
-do you really want to hear it?
-this is degrading.
-what if I complain to someone?
-do you really feel that I treated you badly?
-this is awful.
-truly.
-what if we try to figure this out?
-what if I was feverish?
-is there any way to tell?
-do you still have a thirst for me?
-in a way.
-what if I was the master of sarcasm?
-bitch.
-okay, I’m getting to the end of my rope with you.
-what if I left the stove on?
-give it a rest.
-what if this is a trick?
-what if we were dramatic?
-what if we got trapped in a trap?
-what if i am dreaming?
-do you still treasure me?
-in a way.
-what if this is all there is?
-how can they possibly know?
-what if this is a trick?
-it would be alarming.
-what if this is a trick?
-it would be funny.
-how could we possibly know?
-how can i stand it?
-what if this happens over and over?
-what if I left the lights on?
-could I invent something like that?
-what if I am inventing something like that?
-what if we were affectionate?
-do you still want me?
-yes.
-do you feel alienated?
-what if I didn’t lock the door?
-is that all you can say?
-i can’t take this anymore.
-what if we were nervous?
-it would be fabulous.
-what would it mean if I did it?
-does anyone really know?
-what if this happened over and over and over?
-it would be horrifying.
-how can you ever understand?
-okay.
-okay.
This is so tiring.
-how can we figure this out?
-okay.
-stop.
-amazing.
-how can i understand you?
-what if i invented all this?
-it would be a shock.
-how interesting.
-you can be such a jerk sometimes.
-you treat me bad too.
-what if you were worrying about nothing?
-it would be awesome.
-i’m totally confused.
-can you tell?
-okay.
-okay.
-this is so frustrating.
-this is so debilitating.
-is there any way to tell?
-i don’t know how to explain it.
-what if we are the one’s running the show?
-what if we run away?
-what if this happens over and over?
-it would be fabulous.
-what do you want me to tell you?
-this is fantastic.
-it would be unacceptable.
-I’m totally confused.
-I’m totally confused.
-what if I am dreaming?
-stop.
-stop.
-okay.
-incredible.
-amazing.
-do you feel that I don’t understand you?
-give it a rest.
-what if I am imagining all this?
-how can they ever know?
-what if I catch on fire?
-what if I left the oven on?
-what if they got lost in that place?
-do I still exasperate you?
-what if I didn’t lock the door?
-how can I understand you?
-what if I didn’t turn off the lights?
-what if I was trapped in a fit?
-what if i got caught in that place?
-it would be terrible.
-what if I am worrying about nothing?
-nothing changes.
-it would be a surprise.
-what if you were sarcastic?
-how could we stand that?
-do you still want me?
-in a way.
-we can’t get the picture.
-I’m starting to get a bad feeling about this.
-what if i left the stove on?

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