Work in progress: Witness 2 & Witness 3 (2:00 min preview), multiple single channel video A Royal Commission is the highest form of public inquiry that can be held into matters of public importance in Australia. This recent work proposes multiple single channel videos, focussing on the 2022/23 Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme. As can be seen in the 2 min sequence for this submission, ‘witnesses’ have been stripped of their context, sound and edited in a way to remove any of their statements. The remaining footage of waiting, reading, looking is stretched in time and stitched together through subtle transitions. Placed side by side, the subjects create implied dialogue out of their posturing and their proximity to one another. The shots, framing and minor spacial dis-continuity does not hide the post-production applied to the footage from the viewer. In the context of a royal commission, the only power a witness has is through their testimony. This has been carefully edited out for each portrait. Those that had power over, have been placed alongside those that were powerless in a composition that levels each sitter.
Stephen Armitstead works with experimental installation, video, photo-media, architecture, objects, interactive elements, and sound on Whadjuk Noongar Boodja