Bad Dad & Beyond
Installation view, Metro Pictures, New York
© Camille Henrot
Courtesy the artist and Metro Pictures, New York
Bad Dad & Beyond is an exhibition comprising a series of interactive telephone sculptures, drawings, a bronze ring and an animated three-dimensional zoetrope. Through these various media, Camille Henrot explored the archetype of the abusive father as a metaphor for any authority figure that abuses power—a parent, but also the government, the police or even an internet resource like WebMD. The installation constructs a view of dysfunctions and felt inadequacies inherent to the interpersonal dynamics we participate in as members of any given social group.
At the center of the exhibition are nine custom 3D printed telephones that invite viewers to pick up the oversize receivers and press the buttons as they respond to prompts from a recorded voiceover. The scripts offer answers to existential questions including how to diagnose an abusive father, how to know if your partner is cheating on you, or what to do with an aggressive dog. From one insane question to the next, the deadpan voice on the other end of the line transforms from the trusted authority figure into the patronizing patriarch or shaming schoolteacher.
© Photo.: Zachary Tyler Newton and Genevieve Hanson