Karaoke Wrong Number

Rachel Perry &

Similar to the aesthetics of a mug shot, a woman in a plain white t-shirt, simply-done hair and no make-up sits against a stark blue wall. She confronts the viewer with an austere and impersonal gaze. The eerie stillness of her body is suddenly interrupted by the click of an answering machine. Through a meticulous synchronicity of mimicry, exactly following the pauses for breath and for swallowing, the woman mimes to nine callers recorded on an answering machine, with their various agendas of apologizing, ordering food, trying to send a fax or requesting billing information. No matter how perfectly the woman lip-synchs to the messages, the viewer becomes instantaneously aware of the incongruity: the nine voices, most of which are male, could not possibly belong to the woman on the screen.

The artificial synchronicity of the voice and the body reveals an underlying fissure between personality and appearance. The viewer is forced to wonder about the woman's true identity. She could be a medium capable of channeling other people's spirits or an automaton, an intricate contrivance with no active intelligence of its own. Artist Rachel Perry takes on the cast of nine characters suggested to her by nine wrong-number voice messages recorded by her phone, commenting playfully on the issue of the construction of identity. (Olena Chervonik)

About the video

Title Karaoke Wrong Number
Year 2010
Videonale VIDEONALE.13
Length 00:05:52
Format 4:3
Language English
Courtesy the artist
Specifications color, sound, single-channel video

About the artist

Rachel Perry
  • 1962 in Tokyo, JPN.
    Studied at Université de Paris (La Sorbonne), FRA, at Connecticut College New London, USA, and at School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, USA