Erica Eyres
Pam's Dream

Time Out Rating: 3/5
Thu Feb 10 2011

It’s been a long time since 1986, and while I definitely remember watching the season finale of ‘Dallas’ that Erica Eyres has remade using inexperienced child actors, I don’t recall much else about the episode. Except the end, of course, where Bobby Ewing comes out of the shower, risibly clarifying that the previous two seasons were but a dream.

Or do I remember that? That’s the point: the Winnipeg-born artist’s work is precisely about the patchwork formation of knowledge, how we don’t recall what we’ve seen and, to some degree, can remember what we haven’t. Here, contagious visual codes ensure that ‘Dallas’ is ‘Dallas’ even though the freckly ‘JR’ junior looks about six and pours Coke from a decanter. The Victoria Principal manqué (if I’ve identified her correctly) acts about as well as Principal could, and has the same Christmas tree-shaped hairdo. ‘Sue Ellen’ is convincingly swivel-eyed. Etc.

Eyres’s conflation of humour and sociocultural commentary is a theoretically appealing one, but in reality, the chewed-up dialogue and unedited Pinteresque pauses that punctuate ‘Pam’s Dream’ (2010) make the video a perversely painful watch. Refuge is offered, though, by an accompanying clutch of drawings. Here, in borderline-uneasy scenarios (a sex tape being filmed, a child holding up a weird doll), what we understand and what we don’t interweave disquietingly and – my apologies, little thespians – immediately.

Martin Hebert