Scaffolding (Preface)
, 2021, single channel 4K 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 sung 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 untraceable communication is an imaginative line or flight departing from our current isolated and surveilled realities. Scaffolding (Preface) was developed following the exponential rise of trauma and existential strain under increasingly unlivable social and cultural conditions in the wake of the COVID pandemic, and proposes an embodied infrastructure for processing grief.

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

Catalogue essay ‘Ecstatic Voice at the Threshold’ by Pip Wallis

Scaffolding (Preface)
was commissioned by Monash University Museum of Art and supported by an Australian Council for the Arts Individual Artist Grant.