Using a group of amateur actors Gabriel Thorp’s work Open Margins portrays the gamut of basic emotions. Filmed in the familiar format of talking heads the actors run through archetypal expressions from happiness to despair. We the audience are more or less convinced according to the ability of each performer but however convincing they are we know these portrayals are fake. Gabriel Thorp’s project as an artist is to explore the authenticity of emotion through personal examination of his own state of mind and share these experiences with an audience. As the primary subject of his work, Open Margins is part of Thorp’s own strategy of coping and by shunning the rational mind and appealing directly to a primal emotional level that does not require spoken language or reason he is inviting the audience to imagine such experiences or consider some of their own.

Open Margins assembles a group of strangers (or friends) where, in a series of basic almost clichéd illustrations of emotion, innumerable personal stories, feelings and experiences are implied. It explores the limitations of human speech and the common but unspoken connections among individuals, an acknowledgment that we are linked through a commonality of feeling and more than the sum of our parts. But the members of the group are separated from each other, isolated in their individual monitors. The looped videos become metaphors for the unending struggles of daily human existence. They accentuate the potential failure of social engagement and communication punctuated by an animated flash of cognition, an illusion designed perhaps to evoke shock, create anxiety and remind us that we can’t control what it means to be human.