August 18, 2019
Unboxing: Doublespeak explores the boundaries between storytelling, self-perception, and moving image. The works in this exhibition engage the human voice as both material and technology, bending accepted conventions of vocal intonation and articulation vis-à-vis their application in film and media. Comprised of a suite of video installations by Mary Helena Clark, Helina Metaferia, Laure Prouvost, and Bailey Scieszka that unfold in four parts over the course of the exhibition, Doublespeak asks viewers to reimagine speech as a narrative device, as well as an instrument of individual empowerment.
From camera testimonials to CGI, dystopian travelogues, and professional wrestling promos, the artists in this exhibition diverge in form and format, only to return in fixation on the timbre, and texture, of voice. In this way, their works render speech against specific typologies of media. Each artist in Doublespeak proceeds with a compound understanding of the term, referring not only to a mode of artmaking—stubbornly material, most familiar in its singular, “medium”—but also to that of a technology: organized around a machine, or an instrument, and all that is ultimately made by it.
Another meaning looms over these works and their historical situation: the “media” that indicates, at times awkwardly, a social institution. Absorbing celebrity YouTube, primetime Fox News, and every convulsing latticework of RSS shaped by intelligence, artificial and otherwise—this is the mosaic data broadcast enterprise often known as, simply, the media. Perhaps it’s here, as a series of counter-talking heads, that the works in this exhibition offer a momentary study in the natural ventriloquy of both history and media, as technologies in themselves. They are curious about the past, however suspicious of the way we talk about it.