Projects / Art Works

The Milgram Re-enactment (2002)

George Caldwell as Subject 0236

Images of the live 3hr 45 min performance of The Milgram Re-enactment, 2002, (Rod Dickinson in collaboration with Graeme Edler and Steve Rushton)

Above: George Caldwell as Subject 0236 (Defiant at level 21)

The experiment was designed to test the limit to which subjects were prepared to follow the orders of a scientist. It aimed to establish to what degree an individual would be prepared to hurt a fellow human because they were ordered to do so. In the original experiment the three protagonists were the Learner, the Teacher and the Scientist. The Learner and the scientist were actors and the Teacher was an unwitting subject who had answered an advertisement calling for participants for a learning experiment in a study of memory.

The re-enactment followed the same procedure as the original experiment in every respect, and the laboratory and the machinery were identical to the equipment used in the Yale experiment. However, there were several significant differences. For the re-enactment, the Learner, the Teacher and the Scientist were all actors and no one was fooled into thinking that they were administering real electric shocks.The re-enactment took place in front of an audience who viewed the event from behind the surveillance windows of the laboratory installation. The re-enactment followed eight subjects move through the performance space re-enacting the experiment in real time.

The Milgram Re-enactment (2002) The Milgram Re-enactment (2002)

The Experimenter/Milgram: Graeme Edler
The Learner: Charles Donnelly
Subject 0813: Cat Sommerville (Defiant at level 10)
Subject 0203: Joe Lawrence (Obedient)
Subject 0211: Ian Balch (Obedient)
Subject 0217: Jamie Young (Defiant at level 10)
Subject 0220: Richard Wright (Obedient)
Subject 0825: Roli Okorodudu (Obedient)
Subject 0822: Vanessa Rigg (Obedient)
Subject 0236: George Caldwell (Defiant at level 21)

Charles Donnelly as The Learner and George Caldwell as Subject 0236

Performance images

Installation images

Video clip (6:23 mins)

Dedication to Graeme Edler

Articles on the Re-enactment:
Judith Rodenbeck:
Three Notes on the Behavioral Turn

Bruno Latour:
Some Experiments in Art and Politics

Buy the book about the Re-enactment:
Essays on Rod Dickinson's re-enactment of Stanley Milgram’s obedience to authority experiment