The Ruth dummy’s weighted inner core and outer carcass achieve a realistic size and weight, resembling the human proportions of a heavy adult male. Based on the generic ‘Ruth Lee’ brand training dummy that I encountered while exploring a Ministry of Defence training landscape, they are refigured for the gallery space, transformed from resilient, utilitarian tools into vulnerable dead weights.
The method of construction in these versions are far from robust, causing the ‘slumping’ of the aggregate so the dummy will lose its shape when in use. The inner canvas seams will split easily; the outer layer is not durable and will be corrupted by oil, rough surfaces and sharp objects. The identified high stress areas have not been reinforced. If the dummy is dragged along the ground there is no protection against abrasion. It is not recommended that they are dropped from a second story window, run over by a car, dropped into a foaming sea, or set on fire. They are badly designed to be rescued for eternity. With their functionality suspended, we experience them as redundant and useless debris asserting an inert and eerie presence.
- Alison Sharkey
2009 The New Landscape, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro
2008 Out of Bounds, The Exchange, one night event, Penzance
2008 Galled, Porned, Cheeked, Folded, Glued and Printed, Spike Island Zine
2008 Fair, Surface Gallery Open, Surface Gallery, Nottingham
2008 Mined, King Edward Museum, Pool, Cornwall
2007 Unity Wood, MORE, Cornwall
2007 Happidrome One, Goonhilly Nature Reserve, Cornwall
2007 Sound:Space screen, South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell
Alison Sharkey's website