Organ Play, 1994

By Billy Rubin
Published in Vox Vernacular
Feb. 25, 2014

These repulsive yet endearing chimera are animated by video, projecting talking human lips onto animal organs preserved in specimen jars. Oursler produced numerous works in this series, including a range of animal organs from cow hearts and pig kidneys to bull testicles. All contain simple, humorous dialogues and interactions that are rooted as much in Frankenstein's melancholia as in Beckett's resigned introspection. Schizoanalysis and identity aggregation are the implicit subject matter throughout these dialogues. Their sterile presentation is a fusion of the biological laboratory and the theatrical stage. The glass jars become an isolation chamber as well as a magnifying lens for focusing on the frozen platform of these confused characters as they attempt to discover themselves, one another, and their particular sort of twilight existence. With the casualness of a phone conversation between old friends they discuss the division of labor implicit within the body.