Scaffolding (Preface), 2021, single channel video, stereo sound

In an audiovisual flight from individualism and surveillance, this video artwork is narrated by a 3D animated coronal cross-section of the artist’s head. This “face within a face” is an arresting visual reminder of the shared visceral dimension of living in a human body, and establishes a locus for human exchange beyond the ubiquitous optics of facial recognition.

Using the power of the non-lingual human voice to communicate affect, this artwork contains a combination of vocal sound and singing without language, alongside spoken narration.

The work describes a future in which an entire generation of people have stopped speaking and using written language, and instead communicate through singing.

A generation of children’s singing voices could not be:
  1. Dishonest or inaccurate
  2. Decoded or tracked in its range and changing gendered intonations by omniscient non biological surveillance systems 

A propositional future characterised by emotional intelligence and deft communication is a politicised reframing of our current anti-social, isolated, surveilled realities. The work is developed following the exponential rise of trauma and existential strain under increasingly unlivable social and cultural conditions in the wake of our first global pandemic, and proposes an imagined embodied infrastructure for processing grief.

Soothing experiences that are out of body/out of time are implied through video collage, pitch shifted audio and 3D animation, undoing the divide between what is virtual and actual. Live action footage from within construction sites at night, bodies of water and microscopic single celled organisms build a wandering and nebulous dark atmosphere, evoking disorientating scales.

Lead artist and composer: Archie Barry
3D animation: Savannah Fleming and Benjamin Jones
Mixing and mastering: Daniel Jenatsch

Scaffolding (Preface)
was co-commissioned by the Monash University Museum of Art and the Australian Council for the Arts.