p.816.695.7734 e. hello@hessemcgraw.com

The Price is Always Right!
DVD with three-channel sound, wall-mounted
video projector, DVD player, Plexiglas, sliding
door hardware, acoustical foam, HyperSonic
Sound speakers; dimensions variable; edition of five

RARE, New York City
January 29 – February 26, 2005


This installation is part of the ongoing series Conflict/Decadence/Leisure. The Price is Always Right! appropriates video and sound from The Price is Right and multiple international versions of the show. The footage was edited to isolate lone figures in various stages of elation. It is an endless loop of celebration — these figures leap for joy, clap furiously, pump their fists, and weep with ebullience. The work highlights a bizarre relationship between decadence and leisure within this longest running daytime television show. It is both the ecstatic peak and utter collapse of capitalism. There is a disturbing irony and a genuine sincerity to the choice of these contestants to attend and compete on The Price is Right during their vacations. The work is an ecstatic “site of congratulations.”

A white Plexiglas sliding screen/door was installed at the entrance to the gallery that literally allowed one to pass through and interact with the projection. The viewer is placed in a 1:1 relationship with the figures, which are projected at life size. This scale, and the projection surface-cum-doorway are intended to eliminate the proscenium division of most video installations, to make the work approachable on a very human, emotional level.

Three different sound channels were broadcast within the space. The sound is played through HyperSonic Sound Technology that projects a conical beam of isolated sound, such that one must stand in a specific space in order to hear the sound. The three speakers were positioned within the space such that a viewer could hear them each separately, or all simultaneously in one “sweet spot.” Thus, a viewer’s experience of the piece is entirely affected by their movement through the installation. To minimize reflection of the sound waves and to maintain the isolation of each beam of sound, areas of the space were sheathed in acoustical foam in varied colors, responding to the set design of The Price is Right.