An artist and writer who trained in architecture, Judith Barry creates experiential video works in which the viewer plays an integral role. These innovative installations often explore the relationship between physical space and psychological space—and how these spaces shape us as subjects.
Voice Off (1998-99) is a two-channel video and sound installation in which videos are projected onto each side of a wall dividing the gallery. As viewers and participants, we must navigate the two spaces through a passageway in the projection. On one side, a frustrated writer grows distracted by noises and voices that he hears—figments of his imagination, perhaps. Increasingly distraught, he obsessively tries to locate the source of these sounds. On the other side, figures appear in an ambiguous, dream-like realm inhabited by a succession of characters who sing, tell stories, and enact various social scenarios. Each video suggests various manifestations of the voice—interior or exterior, sung or spoken, expressive or silenced. Taken as a whole, this multi-layered installation dramatizes complex aural and vocal cues, exploring how sound might be visualized, and how it, in turn, shapes our experience of physical space.