The Oral Thing

Gallery 2

The Oral Thing
The Oral Thing

In Gallery 2 the evangelism that provides structure for Primetime is dealt with more explicitly in The Oral Thing (2001) and Weeping (2001). 

The Oral Thing casts the TV host as evangelist. Descending as if from heaven he enters down a staircase to preside over two sisters cast as TV chat show guests/victims. Restrained by red and green plastic tubes the sisters have no means of agency other than talk, they are literally reduced to the oral.

The sound is dubbed dialogue from the American morning chat show Maury and initially appears to be purely a parody of that format. However, increasingly the talk becomes darker. Child abuse is suggested making the specific context of the oral thing clear. Again repetition in the form and iconography of the work reveal the reduction of important issues to ritual and spectacle. The equation with evangelism allows Melhus to not only underline the increasingly central place that TV has in our lives, but also to test ideas of truth and belief.

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