Tony Oursler. TV Is a Drug

Tony Oursler: Video Projections, number 59 in Paul Tschinkel’s video series “ART/New York,” 2002. Inner-Tude Video.

Tony Oursler thinks of television and film like psychedelic drugs that induce a dream space, parallel to reality. Calling them “mimetic technology”1—a term he borrows from pharmacology to describe drugs that emulate human consciousness—he is interested in the way television, film, and media imagery mimic human thought to engender seemingly real emotions. Oursler came to this realization watching a lot of television as a teenager. Influenced by his magician grandfather Fulton Oursler, he developed an understanding of how mimetic technology, through close approximation of reality, has the power to also alter our perception.2

  1. Tony Oursler, in “Smoke and Mirrors: Tony Oursler’s Influence Machine: A Conversation Between Tony Oursler and Louise Neri,” in Tony Oursler: The Influence Machine (London: Artangel; and New York: Public Art Fund, 2000), 56. ↩︎

  2. Fred Nadis, “Of Linking Rings and Magic Lanterns: Tony Oursler’s Family Gothic,” in Imponderable: The Archives of Tony Oursler (Zurich: LUMA Foundation, 2015), 447–57. ↩︎