Terry Urbahn

Speechless

Speechless by Terry Urbahn

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Terry Urbahn’s video is brash and in the quiet, polite

context of the white cube it borders on obnoxious. The artist, dressed in the style of punk, plays his bass and lip-syncs The Stranglers hit ‘Peaches’ in his bedroom. While this work could appear out of context here, it would seem even more out of place playing on a TV monitor in a karaoke bar. The text you read in Urbahn’s video is reminiscent of the scrolling prompts in karaoke videos. But those tools for entertainment are slick and sentimental; they are about identification, not critique. Urban is one of a number of Pākehā artists, emerging in the 1990s, who were concerned with exploring white ethnicity in the form of trash culture. Collectively, their work can be seen as a reaction to the big issue of the time – biculturalism.

Title
Speechless
Artist/creator
Production date
1997
Medium
single channel video, standard definition (SD), 4:3, colour, stereo sound
Dimensions
4min 14sec
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery, 2003
Accession no
2003/51/3
Copyright
Copying restrictions apply
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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