Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Addendum To The Tommy Westphall Universe

Dave Dyment
Addendum To The Tommy Westphall Universe
Toronto, Canada: Self-published, 2015
37 x 29 cm., archival box
Edition of 3 [+1 AP]

I have an exhibition opening tomorrow night at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery, from 5 to 8pm. The work showing is a variation of the above new edition, which consists of an expanded version of a bookwork made a few years ago, two archival prints, a newspaper, a pack of cigarettes and a folded map. These works will appear in a vitrine, and the map is replaced by a wall drawing (see below).

The piece is best described by the dust jacket blurb:

The Tommy Westphall Universe is an internet meme that takes it’s premise from the final moments of the series finale of St. Elsewhere, which reveals that the entire show had taken place in the mind of an autistic boy. Television fans hypothesized that, because of television crossovers and spin-offs, a large fictional universe takes place inside this boy’s imagination. 
For example, in an episode of St. Elsewhere, the doctors visit the bar from Cheers and are served by Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman) who mentions giving birth in St. Eligius, the fictional hospital at the centre of the show. The doctors also appeared on Homicide: Life on the Street, where Richard Belzer’s character Detective John Munch has crossed over into at least ten other series. 
Intrepid fans cross-referenced television data bases and determined that 290 television shows were intertwined with St. Elsewhere, connected by fictional characters, places and corporations. 
This addendum redraws the parameters of their research to include children’s programming and animated series. These shows and the subsequent new live-action series to which they create links, amount to another several hundred programs, almost doubling the original list.

The television series listed in this book either did not appear on the original Tommy Westphall Universe (which itself is constantly expanding) or are included as duplicates, as a means to access other series that fall outside of the original purview.  

For more information see the gallery website, here.

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