The Characters is a three-act audio installation that follows the selfindulgent, bitter, pitiful, deluded, occasionally frenetic and always sardonically humorous narratives of 30 stock characters. Each of these fictional characters is a recognizable archetype that represents a specific set of behaviours or thoughts, and their defining traits are borrowed from the work of Theophrastus, a Greek author of the 4th century BCE. Each exhibition holds ten monologues portraying the less palatable aspects of humankind, performed by voice actors from scripts developed by the artist. As these monologues play on speakers around the exhibition space, programmed lights direct the viewer’s attention between the characters’ performances and transform the space into what may resemble an inverted theatre stage that the audience can walk into.
Erdem Taşdelen is a Turkish-Canadian artist who currently lives and works in Toronto. His practice is rooted in conceptualism and involves a range of media including installation, video, sculpture, sound and artist books. His diverse projects bring structures of power into question within the context of culturally learned behaviours, where he often draws from unique historical narratives to address the complexities of current sociopolitical issues.
Image Credit: Erdem Taşdelen, The Characters, Three-act audio installation with speakers, speaker stands,programmed spotlights, prints, 2017-2020. Installation views of Act II: AKA artist-run, Saskatoon (SK), 2020. Photos by Derek Sandbeck