3 screen video installation that proposes a realisation of The Forbidden Experiment; a hypothetical scenario in which a baby grows up deprived of any cultural or linguistic stimuli. The piece reflects upon the historical failures of both experimental psychology and popular fiction in representing this idea.
Cast: Jane: Eleanor Buchan
Adam: Thom Tuck
Cynthia: Kerri Hall
Harry Harlow: Tom Ferguson
Five strands of footage represent three narratives. The first is the popular Tarzan myth – represented by clips from the 1932 film Tarzan The Ape Man. The second is the experiments of the infamous Harry Harlow, who used monkeys to illustrate the effects of social isolation – represented by archive footage of Harlow’s experiments and an imagined talking head in which Harlow explains his research. The third is a fictional narrative drawing upon and juxtaposing itself with Harlow’s research and the Tarzan story, in which two individuals have grown up as subjects in an unnamed psychological experiment. They are shown both as young adults being rehabilitated and as an ‘odd couple’ being interviewed many years later.