Total Recall Screenings

Reserve your spot for a screening of Total Recall (1987). Tickets are free and open to the public.

In this culture people who want to hold on to power realize that they have to control memory—past, present, and future. Although we’re so sophisticated in some ways, we continue to permit ourselves to be manipulated. –Gretchen Bender, artist statement, 1987.

Bender’s Total Recall (1987) is the artist’s largest realized work of electronic theater, an eleven-channel performance choreographed across 24 television monitors and three projection screens. Although her work debuted three years ahead of the movie’s release, Bender’s title comes from the Paul Verhoeven film Total Recall (1984), which is based on the Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.” Bender mined the mesmerizing, banal imagery of mainstream media, television, and movies, edited together in a barrage of quick cuts, allowing the subliminal meaning of the images to surface in the mind of the viewer as their eyes move from screen to screen. Set against an abrasive score by composer Stuart Argabright, the piece creates a jarring experience that mimics the immersive, yet assaulting image-world from which she felt her viewers were increasingly unable to disentangle themselves.

Total Recall Screenings: Screenings will begin promptly at 12:30pm, running every 30 minutes, with the final showing at 6:30pm. Please arrive at least 10 minutes early. Note: contains graphic content, viewer discretion is advised.

Seating and Accessibility: A limited number of seats will be available for Total Recall screenings, with priority for those with accessibility needs. Our first floor is accessible by elevator and stairwell. To get to our lower level to continue on in the exhibition, visitors who may have issues with stairs should notify our front receptionist upon arrival for arrangements. All bathrooms are ADA compliant.

Warning: This screening may potentially trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy.

Re-entry not permitted. Food and drink is not permitted.

Total Recall, 1987. Eleven-channel video installation on 24 monitors and 3 projection screens, 18.2 minutes, with soundtrack by Stuart Argabright. Installation view of Gretchen Bender: So Much Deathless at Red Bull Arts New York, 2019. Photo by Lance Brewer. All artwork © The Gretchen Bender Estate and Courtesy of OSMOS