MoMA: MediaScope

MoMA: MediaScope

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)

December 5, 2003

Pablo Helguera
Parallel Lives

MoMA: MediaScope
MoMA Film at The Gramercy Theatre
127 East 23 Street, New York


Parallel Lives is a performance work that narrates the biographies of five individuals by blending together aspects of historical research, didactic lectures, images, and musical counterpoint, using the format of the fugue. The work uses the format of the historical biography, recounting and linking the real episodes from the lives of five semi-obscure, yet remarkable individuals: Florence Foster Jenkins (an amateur singer who reached notoriety for her over-the-top concerts), Friedrich Froebel (the inventor of Kindergarten), Giulio Camillo (a Renaissance hermetist who tried to devise a memory theater of all things) the American Shakers, and Ward Jackson, an artist and life-long archivist of the Guggenheim Museum.

This one-time performance will include live phonograph recording and simultaneous playback using wax cylinders. This technique, based on an entirely mechanical system, was invented by Thomas A. Edison in 1877 and is the earliest recording process ever devised. The recording will be executed by Shawn Borri of Borri Records, the only studio in the world dedicated to cylinder recording.

Pablo Helguera (Mexico City, 1971) is a New York based artist working with installation, sculpture, photography, drawing, and performance. Considering the relationship between history, cultural production and language, Helguera fictionalizes the real, generating commentary and discussion about our surrounding cultural reality and relationship to time. His work often adopts the format of the lecture, museum display strategies, musical performances and written fiction. He is presently featured at the 8th Havana Biennial and has recently exhibited or performed at the Brooklyn Museum, New York; Shedhalle, Zurich; P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; IFA Gallery, Bonn; Ex-Teresa Espacio Alternativo, Mexico City; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo; Museo del Barrio, New York; Bronx Museum; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; Karl Ernst Osthaus Museum, Hagen; Museum of Latin American Art of Buenos Aires, and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, PA, amongst others. His work has been reviewed in the New York Times, Tema Celeste, Art Nexus, NY Arts, Chicago Tribune, and others.

The Museum of Modern Art’s biweekly exhibition series MediaScope is a forum for emerging and recognized artists working in film, video, and electronic media.

MediaScope is organized by Sally Berger, Assistant Curator; Jytte Jensen, Curator; Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator; Barbara London, Associate Curator; and Joshua Siegel, Assistant Curator, Department of Film and Media.

MoMA Film at The Gramercy Theatre, 127 East 23 Street, between Lexington and Park Avenues, closer to Lexington.

Ticketing: For information on ticket availability, call The Gramercy Theatre box office during box office hours at (212) 777-4900.

For detailed program information visit

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December 5, 2003

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