Archie Barry is a Naarm (Melbourne)-based artist working in performance and video. Their recent video, Scaffolding (Preface), is premised on an imagined society of children who have evolved a fugitive mode of non-lingual communication in order to evade contemporary and late-modern conditions of surveillance. Joining footage of microscopic organisms, rock pools and construction sites, an elusive ‘narrator’ – the vibrant, 3D-animated cranial persona glimpsed at the close of the video – vocalises without a prefrontal cortex. This character is both a figure of wonder and an agent of evasion, eluding the ubiquitous technologies of facial recognition. While many of Barry’s works explore presence and self-portraiture through the affective and sensorial potential of the body, prostheses and voice, Scaffolding (Preface) celebrates the self-determined and embodied possibilities of vocalising and listening.
This project has been funded by Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) and the Australia Council for the Arts. It was originally presented in the exhibition Language is a River at MUMA in 2021, curated by Melissa Ratliff and Hannah Mathews.