With Voice off (1999) the mumok is presenting the video installation by the American artist Judith Barry that the married couple and collectors Dieter and Gertraud Bogner gifted to the museum last year.
In 2007, these long-time supporters and friends of the mumok who began their collection at the end of the 1970s, donated its central complex of constructive,structural and conceptual art to the museum. Comprising around four hundred works, including pictures, sculptures, objects and graphic works’from, for example,Marc Adrian, Heinz Gappmayr, Dan Graham, Dora Maurer, Josef Mikl or Heimo Zobernig’along with artist books and archival materials, the house became the recipient of the biggest gift in its history. The mumok is producing a comprehensive publication which will focus on the Bogner gift and it will be presented on 21 September during the ‘Fifty Years of mumok’ celebrations.
Judith Barry: Voice off (1999) Voice off is a double projection onto both sides of a wall that separates a space into two identical rooms: the projections form the division wall between these two adjacent rooms. Visitors are invited to move from one side of the projection to the other through a barely discernible curtain hidden in the projection screens. Each of the two video projections presents a different experience of how the voice might become visible, exploring how ideas intrinsic to the question of ‘what the voice is’ in terms of possession and loss, might be represented.
In one projection, a group of characters find themselves in a suspended ambience within a seemingly endless space filled with patches of fog or mist. In this dream-like environment, they demonstrate some of the personal, intimate and interior encounters that one might have with the voice - with your own voice, and with other voices. These include personal and social experiences, overheard bits of speech, interior monologues, and snatches of songs. These are the kinds of experiences with the voice that catch you as you move through your daily life; that both possess you and which you may try to resist, or which you may give yourself over to.
On the other side of the wall, a man in an office tries to work, but is increasingly disturbed by the voices and sounds that penetrate his space. Becoming more and more desperate, he tries to discover the source of the voices, demonstrating, from a different perspective, how through the act of involuntarily hearing, one can also be possessed, even haunted, by the voice. At this point in the narrative the projections appear to coalesce only to separate once again, as another story takes over.
In her work Judith Barry often negotiates the interactions between media and architecture, and questions how the relationships between the individual within a variety of social spaces might be represented. In Voice off, these questions are linked through gender issues, film theory and perceptual processes. In 2000, the artist was
awarded the Austrian Friedrich Kiesler Prize for Architecture and Art for her interdisciplinary work. Judith Barry, was born in 1954 in Columbus, Ohio, and lives in New York. She studied at the University of California/Berkeley and the New York Institute of Technology. Since her solo show in the Whitney Museum 1982, she has had numerous exhibitions including participating in the documenta 2012.