I am an artist and researcher working across forms of video art, experimental documentary, and pedagogy.
My recent video works act as ‘cinematic investigations’ into the effects of neoliberal ideals, managerial techniques, and technological developments on the human voice and speech.
Using frameworks and concepts of ‘the event’ to underpin my projects, I see my practice as ‘future-oriented’, working with methodologies prior to the event such as scenario-planning, simulation, rehearsals, and pedagogy, to forefront a politics of premeditated state and corporate actions and socio-cultural (re/un)learning. Collaboration is fundamental to my practice, recently working with local groups, actors, puppeteers, teachers, and musicians.
Henry Bradley lives and works in London. In 2017 he graduated from the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University, and since then has undertaken exhibitions, commissions, and residencies with; Gasworks, London; ICA, London; BBC, UK; Jerwood Arts, London; Fondazione Prada (Belligerent Eyes), Venice; HALLE 14 Centre for Contemporary Art, Leipzig; PS2, Belfast; Arts Catalyst, London; AUF AEG, Nuremberg; Kassel DokFest, Kassel; The Room Projects, Paris with LUX, London, among others.
HD Video / 04:00 min / 2019
‘Frenulum’ uses techniques of theatre and song to explore the gestural politics of phonetics, group ritual, medicinal intervention, and children’s games, following a group as they perform imaginary tongue-surgery, seemingly in order to alter the speech of one of their members.
The activities draw upon an operation called a ‘lingual frenectomy’, something commonly used to decrease the effects of tongue-tie, but which has also been controversially used in specific parts of the globe to help children’s future pronunciation of certain English phonetics without scientific evidence of any correlation.
Set in a school gym littered with familiar pedagogical signifiers of adaption and transformation, the film stays within a poetic and abstract space that deals solely in gestures, choreographed movements, and phonetic song. Through this approach, the politics of inclusion and exclusion the group is engaged in is never made fully clear, and with adults evacuated from the situation, any levels of agency at play in the vocal transformation we witness are also left increasingly open to interpretation.
HD Video / 54:28 min / 2017
‘Glossolalia’ parallels a method acting class, in which actors are trained to access and utilise their unconscious and irrational nature, alongside an Accent Softening Course for Business, whereby international workers learn the ‘Standard English’ accent so as to help further their careers in the UK. Interspersed throughout are a series of scenes, including children learning phonics and reciting an absurd poem inspired by Jorge Luis Borges, that further questions our relationship to language, meaning, and pedagogy.
HD Video / 28:16 min / 2018
‘Rhythming’ updates Harun Farocki’s ‘The Interview’ (1996), re-staging a Small Talk and Storytelling class for entrepreneurs on a specifically built stage in an old East German cotton-mill warehouse.
It highlights how practices of behavioural psychology and storytelling, commonly adopted by large scale advertising projects, have now become frequent practices by which the contemporary individual worker can sell and understand themselves. Throughout the video, the workers and the teacher collectively leave the set to go behind the stage, denaturalising the reality of the educational situation taking place as they change clothes for new scenes or get paid by the artist for their time and labor.
The video is to be accompanied by a performance lecture discussing its wider themes. In 2018 this was performed by the actor Juliane Elting, at HALLE14, Centre of Contemporary, Leipzig, 2018.