Installation: Psychoanalyst Trip-Dick

Installation of three portraits (dressmaker pins, foam dots, styrofoam, shadowbox frames) and three wired antique vibrators mounted in vitrines.

2003-2004

 
View from side

View from side

This piece explores the three prominent figures within the history of psychoanalysis who were instrumental in pathologizing hysteria as it related to women.  Each portrait, assembled on styrofoam as a grandiose specimen of each man, is constructed of thousands of foam dots impaled by dressmaker pins.  Each image is clear from a distance but distorted up close – a relationship to the short sightedness of scientific discovery, and the disparity between knowledge of the moment vs. that attained in hindsight.  In front of each portrait is an antique vibrator, wired and activated by touching a button, located inside a tube in front of the pedestal.  The vibrators are presented museum style, as relics of their time as they were used to treat hysteria at the turn of the 19th century.  But there is also a satirical link to women’s pleasure implicit in these antique devices, particularly as viewers are invited to engage their operation.

Detail (Charcot)

Detail (Charcot)

Detail, Hamilton Beach antique vibrator, 1903

Detail, Hamilton Beach antique vibrator, 1903

Detail (Freud)

Detail (Freud)

Detail of pins and dots

Detail of pins and dots

Detail (Breuer)

Detail (Breuer)

Detail, White Cross antique vibrator, 1913

Detail, White Cross antique vibrator, 1913

Front view

Front view