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About Face, 1993

Parrish Art Museum, 1993

Miniature books, part of the wardrobe of well-to-do Victorians, were often physiognomy or phrenology manuals. They allowed for an on-the-spot assessment of character by charting facial features, a precursor to today’ s self-help books. Physiognomy and phrenology, both pseudo-sciences, were two ways to come to terms with a rapidly transforming culture. While their biases inscribed race, ethnic and class prejudices across all representational systems –genre painting, the novel, anthropology and ethnography– they did aid in the development of legitimate sciences. This book, written humorously in the voice of a 19thc gentleman, discusses the collection of the Parrish Museum.


A Somewhat Suggestive Guide and Recent Reminiscences of my Return After a Long Absence to the Art Museum of Southampton, by Thomas Eammes Heartcrest Minature book on 5 viewing stands with magnifying glass. Site specific work for the exhibition “A Museum Looks at Itself”, Parrish Art Museum, 1993. It subsequently was included in the exhibition, “Seven Room/Seven Shows”, at PS1 in the 4 Walls exhibition.


Miniature book

7 cm x 8 cm 

49 pages

Parrish Museum, 1993



Rouen: Touring Machines / Intermittent Futures, 1993

First exhibited National Urban Institute, Rouen, 1993

This installation creates an environment where any periphery place can become the center of the world, through reading. A hybrid form –a literary, critical, cyber-fiction travel guide to the city of the future– this installation asks the question, “what would happen if everyone lived in their imagination?” and learns all-too-well the lessons of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary: that the imaginary realm is preferable to the ‘real’ world and that in the imagination everything is possible. Using fiber optics and video projection, this installation reads Rouen…the Guide Book as it represents your city as ‘the Center of the World’. See Barry/Miskell/Zummer, Rouen: Touring Machines / Intermittent Futures, Usine Fromage, Rouen, 1993.

Installation Fiber-optics, 3 channel video - sound projection, Guide book, speakers Dimensions variable Guide book in collaboration with Brad Miskell / Tom Zummer

Related publications:

Eyestrain (Public Fantasy excerpt), J. Barry Download Link



“The Museum you Want”, 1993


First installed, ICA Boston 1993.

An interactive dynamic game asks users to think about what they want a museum to be in both the physical and digital realms. Should it be a memory palace of collective histories, a simulacrum of a physical space, a site for viewing collections on-line or something else entirely? What can make the experience of an on-line museum unique? The database of questions functions as a neural net, a continuously evolving entity that grows and changes exponentially as more users answer the

questions; ultimately resulting in a unique graphical index programmable by each user. See Judith Barry, “The Museum You Want” in Wouter Davidts, the Museum in Motion, Museum het Domein, Maastricht, 2003.



Whole Potatoes from Mashed, 1993

First exhibited MUKHA, Antwerp, 1993.

Building on the metaphor of Gordon Matta Clark’s exploded ceiling and his notion of “taking a normal situation and translating it into multiple and overlapping discourses”, this installation explores how we give materials a history by constructing one in time and space. A mass of cables dangle. Some of them light up with sounds. Gradually, the sounds cohere into stories. Around you are pages from a Glossary. You discover that the cables are fiber-optics responding to the sounds and your reading, shaping the room. A kind of visual automatic writing takes place. You are like a woodcutter in a magic story who makes a wish. Something happens. The sound tracks trace the relationships between science, alchemy, and smart materials, from ancient times through the present.

Installation. 10 interactive fiber-optic projectors, interactive sound/ recording technologies, strobe light, rug, mixed media. Dimensions variable. Glossary written with Brad Miskell. First exhibited MUKHA, Antwerp, 1993.

Related publications:

Future Cinema, Jeffrey Shaw & Peter Weibel, Download Link

Eyestrain (Public Fantasy excerpt), Judith Barry Download Link



(Home) icide: house of the present, 1993

Firminy, France 1993

This “House of the Present” asked the question, “do our living environments adequately reflect the ways we live, particularly in terms of the discourses that shape the fabric of our daily lives ?” We retro-fitted one of Corb’s apartment’s for a worker (a machine for living) to reflect the ways in which these discourses transform and affect our living conditions. The main focus of the project was a ‘fly – thru’ computer-animated model where the form of the home “morphed” continuously in relation to all the various kinds of information that now circulate and affect the concept of home. See Barry/Saylor, House of the Present: (Home)icide, catalogue text for L’Unite Project, Firminy, France 1993.

Installation. Collaboration with Ken Saylor. Computer program, newspaper, and computer work stations. Site specific project for Le Corbusier’s L’Unite (apartment building) Firminy, France 1993.

Related publications:

(Home)icide, Judith Barry and Ken Saylor, Download Link

Eyestrain (Public Fantasy excerpt), Judith Barry Download Link



Something Wonderful, 1993

Duke University, North Carolina 1993

This sculpture was a snapshot, an insert into the back cover and inside back page of Social Text, a cultural studies magazine that examines discursive relations textually across a wide cultural swath. At the time of its publication a cultural war was raging between those who wanted popular culture to become a more accepted part of the intellectual left and those who wanted to keep the ‘philistines’ at bay. In the midst of this controversy, this series of ‘collected cultural artifacts’ set out some of the issues that were percolating among the cultural workers themselves.

Sculpture/snapshot. A collaboration with Brad Miskell. Site specific work for Social Text #36, Duke University, North Carolina 1993.

Related publications:

Eyestrain (Public Fantasy excerpt), Judith Barry

Download Link



The Work of the Forest, 1992

First exhibited, Foundation pour l’architecture,

Brussels, 1992

The 19th c. notion of ‘interiority’, described by Marcel Proust, is contrasted with the architectural style most
associated with it, Art Nouveau. I used Proust’s ‘whirling room’ to stage conflicting histories of African art, the Belgian Congo and Art Nouveau. Three transparent screens as a continuous panorama allow for multiple points of view and access; underscoring the different relationships that the viewer can have with this material.


The panorama allows multiple views. Above: perspectival authority and classical HW cinema converge. Interior: the whirling panorama disrupts closure. Exterior: Separate screens allow competing narratives to unfold and converge.

Installation: 3 channel video-sound projection panorama with Art Nouveau screen
Dimensions: variable
First exhibited: Foundation pour l’architecture, Brussels 1992

Related publications:

The Work of the Forest in Art & Text #42, 1992, Australia, Download Link

Judith Barry, Michael Newman, Download Link

Cinema and Space(s)...Judith Barry, DA2 Catalogue, Kate Linker, Download Link

Eyestrain, Judith Barry, Download Link

Space that Art Makes, Judith Barry, Download Link

Project page



Ars Memoriae Carnegiensis: A Memory Theater, 1991

Carnegie Museum of Art, 1991

Visitors to the Carnegie International were given a free packet of 9 cards to orient themselves to the myriad of collections housed in the Carnegie. The instructions on the cards were an invitation to turn their tour into a personal memory palace: a place to store and recall all that they wished to remember by using the ancient ‘art of memory’ and mnemonic techniques. As the Carnegie International was predominantly large installations, visitors using these cards could create their very own large installations simply by performing the ‘art of memory’.

A series of 9 cards and a display stand. Site-specific work for the Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, 1991.

Related publications:

Eyestrain (Public Fantasy excerpt), Judith Barry
Download Link



Imagination, Dead Imagine

Foundation La Caixa, Madrid 1991

An androgynous head is projected as if contained within a minimalist cube. Sounds of the head slowly breathing fill the space. The head is serene, waiting. Suddenly a substance pours over it from all sides, drenching it in what appears to be a bodily fluid. The spectator wants to turn away but can not, the gaze is compelled through the invocation of the scopic drive. Horror at the repulsive nature of the substance (the abject) is replaced by fascination with the beauty of what might be considered a contemporary sublime.

Press:, David-Geers, Download Link

New Yorker, Editors, Download Link

Architects Newspaper, Susan Morris, Download Link

Timeout, Michael Wilson, Download Link

Deliciousline, William Corwin, Download Link

Project Page

Installation. 5 channel video-sound projection. 10’ x 10’ x 10’ First exhibited Foundation La Caixa, Madrid 1991

Related publications:

Public Fantasy, Brian Wallis, Download Link

Imagination Dead Imagine, Judith Barry, Download Link

Articulate Spatial Projections, G. Sangster, Download Link

Space that Art Makes, Judith Barry, Download Link

Future Cinema, Judith Barry, Download Link

Spectacle & Subjectivity, Johanna Drucker, Download Link

Casual-Shopper, Judith Barry, Download Link



Depense: A Museum of Irrevocable Loss, 1990

Glasgow, 1990

The title, from George Bataille, refers to the need to adequately mourn that which has been lost. In 1990 Glasgow’s unemployment rate was 45%, yet previously, it was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution. This project is a meditation on the power of images and their efficacy. Hundreds of work documents, collected from abandoned manufacturing sites in Glasgow, were strewn on the floor of a disused factory in front of a giant vitrine. The vitrine projected images of Glasgow’s glorious industrial past. Yet these work documents, beautifully rendered ship plans, mechanical drawings, and bills of ladling, no longer have any value. The local historical societies rejected any further donations. Meanwhile, the images projected in the vitrine circulate endlessly. 

Installation Video projection, documents Dimensions 14’ x 40’ x 10’ vitrine Project for TSWA Four Cities, Glasgow, 1990

Related publications:

Articulate Spatial Projections, G. Sangster, Download Link

Depense, Judith Barry, Download Link



From Receiver to Remote Control: The Television Set, 1990

The New Museum, NYC 1990

In a series of 20 period rooms with period TV programming, this exhibition traced how television transformed the home from a site of production into one of consumption: the ‘50’s notions of ‘home theater’; the ‘easy living’ implied by labor saving appliances; the ‘60’s as the only moment when television was overtly political from Civil Rights activism to the Vietnam War; the ‘70’s and the proliferation of technologies with portable color TV and cable; the ‘80’s and the potential for a return to production in the form of the home computer.

Exhibition design. Collaboration with Ken Saylor. Curator: Mathew Geller The New Museum, NYC 1990

Related publications:

ARE YOU READY FOR TV?, Judith Barry, Download Link


Brooklyn Rail, Judith Barry, Link

Project page



ARTFORUM Summer 1989

This sculpture was initially designed for a magazine. It is one example from a series of sculptures proposed to various magazines in the late 1980’s. The pages are printed to mirror one another so that this double sided page seems to have a corporeal presence. The title and the content of the piece are a word play on the magazine ‘tear’ sheet — a page that can be torn out of a magazine and saved — and the idea of a ‘tear’ — as in someone crying. Hence, a liquid page.

A sculpture as a double sided magazine page. Glossy paper stock, 4 color print process, printed on both sides dimensions variable. First exhibited, ARTFORUM Summer 1989.

Related publications:
Eyestrain (Public Fantasy excerpt), Judith Barry, Download Link



Loie Fuller: Dance of Colors, 1988

Lyon 1988

Loie Fuller, a dancer of the fin de siecle (beginning of the 20th c) was the first person to use incandescent lighting on the stage. A darling of the Symbolists and later, the Surrealists, she performed in enormous silk costumes which she hand-painted with uranium derived dyes and which she shaped into forms by manipulating long sticks hidden in the sleeves. These recreations adapted her work for a more contemporary audience by introducing patterned gells, hand painted slides and laser and film projections.

Performance. Collaboration with the dancer, Brygyda Ochaim. First performed Biennale de la Dance, Lyon 1988.



Adam’s Wish, 1988

World Financial Center, NYC 1988

This piece explores tromp l’oeil effects as it questions why, within the lexicon of corporate architecture, there is not an overt and legible corporate iconography visible in these structures. It uses the history of tromp l’oeil to examine spatial disintegration, particularly as public space has become increasingly privatized. Designed to be projected onto an oculus, the piece explores a worker’s ‘fall from grace’ and his eventual retreat back into corporate public space.

Installation. Video projection Dimensions variable.

First exhibited World Financial Center, NYC 1988.

Related publications:

Casual-Shopper, Judith Barry, Download Link

Spectacle & Subjectivity, Johanna Drucker, Download Link

Adam's Wish, Judith Barry, Download Link

Eyestrain (Public Fantasy excerpt), Judith Barry, Download Link



Impresario: Malcom Mclaren and the British New Wave, 1988

The New Museum, NYC, 1988

This exhibition used popular culture – music videos, clothing and memorabilia, to present Malcolm McLaren’s situationalists strategies as an artistic practice and charted his manifestations in the ‘70’s from The New York Dolls to The Sex Pistols and Bow Wow Wow through his interest in global music –the album, Duck Rock– to his interest in opera– the album, Fans–. One of the first exhibitions to combine art with popular culture, this exhibition portrayed McLaren’s ever changing strategies to showcase the fluid relations between publicity, music, fashion, media strategies and celebrity.

Exhibition Design. Collaboration with Ken Saylor Curator: Paul Taylor The New Museum, NYC, 1988.

Project page



Maelstrom: Max Laughs, 1988


Whitney Museum NYC 1988

Using a variety of computer effects, including 3-D modeling techniques, this floor projection places you viscerally within post-perspectival representational space. Here information technologies and the alienation they can produce are contrasted with collage and motion graphic techniques to underscore the contradictions inherent in these effects; they produce sensations which literally take you places that only your eye can go---- leaving your body behind.

Installation. Video-sound projection Dimensions variable First exhibited Whitney Museum NYC 1988.

Related publications:
Eyestrain (Public Fantasy excerpt), Judith Barry, Download Link



Not Reconciled First and Third, in Other Words, 1987

First exhibited Whitney Museum, 1987. On-going series

The impetus for this series was a reflection on some of the theoretical perspectives around the notions
of ‘history’ and ‘the construction of subjectivity’ as it differs among various cultures. First and Third,
the first project in this series, grew out of my interest in narrative as a means of negotiating ideological
differences between immigrant expectations and the contradictory messages of the American Dream
with its promises of equality, personal freedom and so on.

In 1987 I was invited to participate in the Whitney Biennial with a video installation. The sites offered
were the 4 th floor stairwell or bathroom, not the main exhibition space. The stories that comprise first and
third were drawn from conversations with people from many different ethnicities to underscore the lack
of representation of ‘non-white, and ‘non-male’ persons (those most associated with immigrant status)
within the Whitney Biennale. By trompe l’oeiling the projector housing to match the limestone walls of
the stairwell, making use of the diffuse nature of video projection, and adding a 30 second pause between
each story – it seemed as though the walls of the Whitney were suddenly speaking. In this way, the work
functioned as a form of agit prop.

Subsequently I have realized projects, each with a very different theme, in several other cities
including London, Rotterdam, Corscia and currently, Cairo. See Judith Barry articles in October 75 and
October 123, MIT Press, Cambridge 1995 and 2008, respectively.

Related publications:

First and Third, Judith Barry, Download Link

Space of Fantasy, Brian Wallis, Download Link

Casual-Shopper, Judith Barry, Download Link

Spectacle & Subjectivity, Johanna Drucker, Download Link

Public Fantasy, Brian Wallis, Download Link

Articulate Spatial Projections, Gary Sangster, Download Link



Model for Stage and Screen, 1986

First exhibited Pieroni Gallery, Rome, 1987

Light and fog are projected in a room in which two identical disks are suspended such that the viewer stands between them. Even though you can see precisely how this work functions, you are still subject to its (retinal) effects on your vision. As you leave the room, thinking you will regain control of your vision, you do not, instead, you see another color. This work demonstrates two of the many ways you cannot trust what you see as well as how you are not in control of your vision. In this sense, you become a projector.

The act of looking and the question of how we see were the genesis of Model for Stage and Screen. The structure, based in the precarity of 16th-century European anatomy theaters, also recalls cinema. Two mythical constructions about how ‘the gaze’ might be internalized are conjoined within an actual inhabitable space that leads out of the spectacle and into spectatorship. This ‘gaze’ is above all else privileged – before action, before decision.

These two constructs are suggestive of two acts where the desire to look and for the look to continue might cross the desire for an end to looking, and for something of its past to take its place.

One prior action is the insistence of the gaze of Orpheus as he descends into the underworld and transgresses by looking back at Eurydice, and where, at this moment of
forgetting, what was once most longed for, is now irretrievably lost. The other is Oedipus, who only as newly blind is able reconcile the truth of the riddle he solved as
the misrecognition of what he himself is.

So it is that these two moments cross each other:
the Orphic moment – the impetus for looking; and the Oedipal –the moment of insight.

Related publications:

Model for Stage and Screen, Judith Barry, Download Link

Judith Barry & the Space of Fantasy, Brian Wallis, Link

Articulate Spatial Projections, Gary Sangster, Link

Casual-Shopper, Judith Barry, Download Link

Spectacle & Subjectivity, Johanna Drucker, Download Link

Project Page

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