Table For Three
2004-2005, Sound Installation, Dimensions Variable
“…She started making a veil, embroidered with silk and tiny pearls. I would find her bent over it in the small hours of the night, squinting at the mass of frothy white, yellowed in the poor light. She would mutter to herself, and I could hear the words ‘perfect’ and ‘happy’, and ‘oh what a day’…”
“…I wander round the apartment calculating again and again what should be multiplied and what added. Mad mathematics in my head…”
“…I remember how her hair would blow across her face and catch on the wetness of her lipstick and she would pull the wayward strands back behind her ear, only to have the wind blow it free again…”
"Table for Three" is a four track sound piece, which makes use of a number of components in order to mimic an everyday restaurant setting. The ambient sounds taken from a restaurant as well as the tables set the scene. However, the sounds in the space, as well as the abandoned tables, give a feeling of emptiness. There are three sets of headphones in the space, one at each seat of the table; the listener has to sit down to put them on. When the headphones are put on the listener is able to hear the thoughts of one of the absent people at the table. The thoughts do not necessarily relate to the meal itself, they are internal thoughts, narrative in nature. Each narrative references a female character or scenario from one of the books of Dickens, Bronte and Woolf (Great Expectations, Wuthering Heights and Mrs. Dalloway), although in each case the characters are in some way inverted.
One of the pervading themes of the different monologues is the slip between the expectations of others, and one's own desires and dreams. All three characters in the work are confronted with a moment of choice, a choice that (they believe) will affect their position as women within the confines of society.
The monologues are constructed in a personal and intimate way, yet they all only give a snippet of an experience, one interpretation of a set of events. There is a certain ambiguity in the piece as a whole - it never becomes clear whether the different women are thinking about each other, if their meeting triggers their thoughts, or how complicit they are in the events of each other’s lives. One’s interpretation will also depend on how much time is given to the piece. Each set of headphones only holds the thoughts of one of the women, so to listen to only to one set will only give one point of view. And yet, if one listens to all three, the situation will still never be fully explained and resolved. The sum of the parts does not necessarily equal the whole.
table for three