My Body Was A River
[(Single-channel video, 1:11 minutes) The video displays slow, layered videos. Sometimes there are foreground and middle ground videos, but there is always a background. The bulleted points at the bottom of the page outline the frames in chronological order. The video is accompanied by audio spoken by the apple accessibility system]
My Body Was A River, 2018.
Single channel video. 1m11s. + coded text to audio transcript.
This video/text work confronts notions of bodies both digital and physical: bodies of land, bodies of text and bodies in space. The work seeks to explore the connection between the disabled body and the natural landscape, examining the enforced separation of the disabled body from the natural world due to ableist socio-cultural design.
The text to audio transcript (see below) accompanies the video as an image file, copied exactly as it was encoded to speak “naturally” through the apple accessibility system. This coding includes pauses (coded as [[sincXXX]]) as well as incorrect spellings that enable correct machine-pronunciation of certain words. The transcript highlights the human input necessary to simulate humanity through machine-learning, whilst also providing an accessible transcript of the video work.
My Body Was a River, Transcript.
Text Description of ‘My Body Was A River’:
[0:00-0:15: The background is a pale desert landscape (A): light blue sky with clouds and sandy earth, possibly covered with ice, salt, or a thin layer of snow. There are rock formations on the horizon. One small- (B) and one medium- (C) size video occupy the middle and foreground. In the top left corner of the frame (B) layers (C) which layers (A). (A) and (B) videos pan smoothly and slowly from left-to-right as the audio plays, while (C) pans right-to-left. (B) shows light grey and brown cracked earth, (C) shows reddish-brown cracked earth.
0:15-0:19: Only the (A) and (B) frames are left, and the speed at which they pan horizontally increases, while also becoming more jagged.
0:19-0:21: Only the (A) video remains.
0:21-0:27: The background video changes to a closeup of a shallow clear shore. The sand is beige, and the top right corner appears to be pale turquoise in color and slightly deeper (D). The frame zooms in very very slowly, almost not noticeably. Refracted sunlight flickers under the water’s surface. The same desert landscape (A) appears again, but as a medium-sized foreground video in the center of the frame, panning left-to-right, but much more jaggedly than before.
0:27-0:28: Only the (D) video remains.
0:28-0:31: The (D) video has zoomed in enough that now the frame is ¾ pale turquoise water, but the beige-colored sand is still visible. (B) is back again as a foreground video, still small, but now in the center of the frame.
0:31-0:48: (B) remains in the center of the frame, while the background video changes to a far away shot of deep greenish-turquoise water (E). It moves every so slightly, and every few seconds, seems to loop. (B) is no longer panning horizontally, the camera motion has become slightly erratic as the frame goes over the cracked earth landscape.
0:48-0:51: Only the (E) video remains.
0:51-0:52: The background video shifts to an almost lunar landscape (F). It is bright, and the earth is beige and dry-looking. Cracked in some places, sandy in others, with rocky mountains in the far distance. The sky is bright blue and it is sunny. The video pans left-to-right quickly and jaggedly.
0:52-0:55 : (B) is back again as a small foreground video in the center of the frame layered over (F).
0:55-0:57: (B) enlarges to medium-size, remaining in the center of the frame, over (F).
0:57-1:05 : (B) video begins to flash on and off screen one second at a time, layered still over (F) which continues to jaggedly pan.
1:05-1:11: Only the (F) video remains, and it loops once]