You Can't Play Yourself Back
Two-channel video, archival inkjet prints, carbon, found objects (2015)

You Can't Play Yourself Back is an installation with two-channel video and audio, photographic prints, and a sculptural object. Subtitled II positive, it contains two rear projection screens displaying different videos, superimposed upon each other. One is of rolling landscape under optical parallax -- distant objects move slower than the foreground. The second is of a brass ball, rolling within a drawer proportionate to the video frame, intermittently colliding with the edges and corners. In this vertical presentation of a horizontal capture, the ball appears to defy gravity as it floats in the upper parts of the screen and occasionally rests upon the horizon line of the other, superimposed video. The arrangement allows viewers to interact with and become implicated in the composition, their bodies as layers in the montage. A spectator's shadow negates the video projected from behind them: in their silhouette the singular scene looks back at them. They interject the ball but not its sound. The snowy landscape does not sound familiar yet its contours, newly revealed, assume sharper edges and clearer focus. A slight movement, a shift in the shadow, and the ball rolls almost aggressively (re)claiming the landscape. Marks register swiftly on snow, the wind scours rock yet barely howls at the accommodatingly undulating snow. The ball doesn't mark the landscape, it situates it in a frame like a painter's grid to transfer image onto paper.

A soundtrack accompanies the moving images: clank of ball against side of drawer, drawl of it rolling across wood, faint traces of illegible voices in the distance. This adjective of writing is invoked for sound for two reasons. First: the grand prescription of humanity as distinct from the animal: logos. The necessary articulation of sound into language. Second: its blurring of judgments of time and space. Distance registers only to establish the humanness of the sound. A conversation to sense but not hear; private, not obscure. Yet the projection is public, indicating a locating structure. The voices outside while one is inside. Or, the voices inside that one hears while passing by. A plurality and a duality.

The isolated ball on the luminescent screens mime these voices. It assumes a system of signs to transcribe what the voices mean. As though entirely circumventing the logos, the point of control for meaning now rests with the ball. A direct translation bearing witness more to the psychic event than a speech act. Yet the ball never actually negates the sound. With each crest and trough of voice, the ball reinstates the event's coordinates. It connects motion inside the drawer to the motion of the car carrying it through the landscape of the second video. Collocation is essential here as the voices are in the background, yet the foreground and middleground must be recognised. This linear conception of the viewer's position belies the installation.