Craigslist–David Dunn’s tv of tvs at Copy


Copy Gallery has installed for the month of February a video called Craigslist, by Dave Dunn, one of the gallery’s organizers and curators. The video is of 1,100 images of tvs. The images are not his own. They are home-made photos of tvs uploaded to Craigs Lists around the world. Gotta sell your tv? You take a picture of it on its little tv table and upload it, hoping someone will pick yours from all the other tvs.

David Dunn, Craig’s List, 30 seconds of the installation at Copy Gallery

The tv portraits show a little of each seller’s house and also the program the owner has tuned into. After all, a sad tv with no tv show on it doesn’t appeal the way a sad puppy in the window appeals. (Besides, it may mean the tv doesn’t work). It’s hard to say whether the owner calculated which tv show would appeal most to the target buyer.

But no surprise here–the most popular image is sports. What better way to show off the assets of your big HD tv than to show off the football as it disappears into the pile-up? While I was in Copy, Dunn showed up and mentioned that in one of the Asian Craigs Lists there were a bunch of suspiciously brand new TVs–all the same model–but that otherwise, people’s images on the screens and off were pretty uniform around the world.

When I stopped in the gallery (I knocked loudly on the locked door), there was no installation in sight. But Nick Paparone and Jamie Dillon, who let me in, swore that putting the installation up was not a problem. And they asked me to tell you they can do the same for anyone who wants to drop by. They were right. It took just a few minutes to set up the tv on the pedestal and clear out the gallery.

The tv in the gallery is a rather humble one, perched somewhat precariously on a pedestal, looking not much like so many of the swank tvs in the video. So a crummy tv shows an image taken from a computer screen of a tv photographed in someone’s house. The houses were mostly pretty anonymous, except for a mirror here, a credenza there. Lots of white walls.

The similarities of the walls, the houses, the glimpses of furniture, the seedy intrusion into someone else’s life and someone else’s tv-viewing itinerary is kind of shocking and depressing. It’s one global culture all right, and oy, what a dreary culture it is. I can assure you Hamlet, Swan Lake or the Bolshoi are least likely choices for the array. Cartoons, One Life to Live and the Biggest Loser beat ’em out easy.

The tv-on-pedestal isolated in the room was appropriately altar-like for the medium we love to and hate to worship. The look reminded me of some early installation I saw in New York of video pioneer Mary Lucier’s work, monitors atop pedestals. I realize that tvs on pedestals is not an uncommon approach; but in both these cases there was a sense of elevating the ordinary above it’s normal status.

But mostly what struck me was the sweet earnestness of the sellers, trying to charm with their taste and to get you to part with your dough.


copy gallery, david dunn



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