Holy Cow Television was the third Hybrid Sculptural Object, conceived for a series entitled ‘The Limits of Control’ (2009). Three others were also created for the series; ‘Untitled (aka Leonard’), ‘Untitled (aka Marta’), and ‘Presence’.
In 2010, two more Objects were later added, ‘record RECORD’ and ‘The Chimera’ to complete a site-specific installation for my MFA exhibit called ‘The Obscure Objects of Desire and the Rise of the Technological Chimera’ at AXENÉO7.
Holy Cow Television is comprised of two skinned TV units, one of which is an integrated TV/VCR combo unit. Both TV units rest on a bare wood skeleton frame. A small plastic cow sits in front of the first TV, and its projected double can be seen on the second TV set just behind it.
Again there is this sense that a live video feedback loop is at play, but the image of the doubled cow immersed in TV snow is originating from a pre-recorded VHS videotape.
Thoughts on Holy Cow Television
In viewing the work, one may wonder which is more real – the plastic cow or the televised one.
The technological intervention and manipulation of memory via the pre-recorded videotape and the electronic media of the TV sets construct a televised-real-event or a technological chimerical experience – one where the viewer wonders which of the two cow-based events are really doing the mediating.
Andrew Hoskins implies that such mediated interventions through technology initiate a sort of collapse of memory. He explains that:
The ‘collapse’ of memory I use as a metaphor for the collapse of the certainties of the past by a media that can paradoxically create and recreate an apparently certain past through their command of visual images, which are both part of the landscape of modern life and the very essence of human memory. Thus, although the individual remains (or appears as) the real, authentic or original holder of memory, there can be no doubt that remembering is a process that today is increasingly media-afflicted (110).
John Naccarato, Holy Cow Television, The Obscure Objects of Desire and the Rise of the Technological Chimera: Towards Death and the Other Exhibit, video clip, AXENEO7 and DAIMON, Gatineau, QC, August 29th to September 4th, 2010.
Text and ideas originally created and published as part of my MFA Thesis, 2010. Specific segments have been revised and updated for this post. John Naccarato, 2018
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