3 April 1997 - 10 May 1997
Opening Reception 4 April 1997 8pm
My Cruel April
The Mercer Union window is an exhibition space with a natural duality. Those who pass by the window, perhaps not knowing the context of the work, are still afforded visual interaction, while those viewers inside are offered a more intimate experience. R.M. Vaughan’s installation/performance My Cruel Aprilis an inversion of the space and the roles of those viewers.
The window will appear as a psychiatrist’s office with Vaughan in session with his doctor, offering a literal critique of the notion of patient/doctor confidentiality. A public address system carries the conversation to the street, where viewers can watch and listen to ‘intimate’ details of the patient. By making the process public, Vaughan claims ownership of the dialogue involved, a conversation that would otherwise be unavailable for retrieval due to laws regarding privacy of information. Viewers inside the gallery, however, will find as their only information source the disembodied conversation occurring in the next room, curtained off from view. Vaughan elaborates: “Once inside the building, you are in fact, an outsider, constructing bits of information received at random, through the act of eavesdropping.” Vaughan sets the audience in a space similar to another patient listening in and comparing their own dilemma to the performed situation.
R.M. Vaughan is a Toronto poet and playwright. Two new plays, Dead Teenagers and Camera Woman, have recently been workshopped. His new book of poems, A Selection of Dazzling Scarves, was published by ECW Press.