The Incomplete Platypus, 2016
Wood, Paint, Speakers and Sound//Dimensions Variable c.17ft x 7ft x 4ft.
Duration 00:19:49.//(mp3), looped.©

Installation Shots: Rua Red, Dublin.

Based on the classic hit t.v. series 'To Tell The Truth', (1956,) Sonia Shiel's The Incomplete Platypus, (2016,) invites its audience to establish the authenticity of one artist among three, all claiming to be the real Artist of the Year. With the same conceit as the original game-show that hosted such guests as civil rights activist Rosa Parks among other celebrities, the panel grills the artists on an autobiographical affidavit that recounts courageous trials, in this case, of an untethered imagination and the quest for creative autonomy. Along the way the artist meets various anthropomorphic characters that she must slay her ties with. Composed of computer generated voices and appropriated sound, Shiel's synthetic narrative comes from a hole bored into the centre of a three-dimensional facade, that is perforated to function as a speaker. The game begins with the oration of a sworn account, detailing a series of perilous challenges and pata-physical events that barely stray from the studio, which from the beginning is shared with a rock that knows no bounds.

Performed by synthetic voices. Written by Sonia Shiel.


Extract from The Incomplete Platypus

P : (Panel, 1,2,3,4)
C : (Challenger 1,2,3)


(Intro music and applause)

Host: Thank you very much and a very good evening to you, to our game of deliberate misrepresentation.
Where-in four presumably smart people try to figure out which one of 3 challengers is sworn to tell the truth.
Of course only one is the real Artist of the Year.
All the others have merely assumed that identity and they do not have to stick to the truth.
Now panel, in front of you, you will find a copy of an affidavit.
Will you please follow along, while I read from it?

(Host reading aloud)

"I was voted artist of the year for my courage in the face of adversity. This is how it all began. I had found myself at an auction, trying to get out of the rain. The shower had been exacerbating a condition of internal mutterings that I had suffered for some time. It was many weeks before, when it happened - that a clump of open-ended creatures seemed to stream past me on the wind, and disappear. {voom} It was immediately apparent to me that somehow, this ghost of fugitives had become trapped inside my ear...

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