1/2 cut chromes
Gildengate House - 31 July - 3 August 2015
Mike Harvey was born in Belfast
He studied at Goldsmiths
Mike currently lives and works in Belfast
A conversation between Mike Harvey, Oliver Roger Williams and Marta Bermejo
Oliver Roger Williams: Hi Mike, what’s the craic? I’ve been thinking how in the show there’s a sense that all the component parts are attempting to think the same thought under various guises, from disparate positions, some more evident than others. They’re superimposed upon each-other, with bits always outside the coherence of the whole. For me, there is a sense of commonality that perhaps emerges through the production of a fractured kind of space. This might come out of the materials and their configuration or manipulation, or through the communication, whether it be sound or text, often being interrupted, sometimes postponed or repeated. As if ideas are in process, not totally fulfilled.
Mike Harvey: These are a set of things I’m interested in. I’m interested in things as instantiations. Like, one quite different form being an instantiation of the same concept, or kinda basic language, as in another quite different form: a word or a gesture, or a shape or a look, that can have the same thing carried - they’re carrying the same thing. So that’s probably why I’m saying ‘crumpled in many parts’ as a way of introducing the show. That’s quite a key thing, a key methodology. In terms of the fractured-ness of it, that’s very much related to this instantiated series. But it’s also a way of dealing with the quite particular emotional register and set of quite physical expressions of a certain ambivalent identification. So it’s the type of identification thats both willing and full, but also extremely hostile to its fullness.
ORW: I feel that…
MH: So it's pulling itself apart a little but still trying to hold itself together. It’s not hostile to over-analysis, or a complete view. It’s not that it’s rejecting that or totally hostile to that. But it’s trying to do justice and allow space for the contradiction and tension. I mean, yeah, you can see through the wall but really it’s quite difficult. It’s not totally refusing to be something, or totally saying it’s in flux. All the stuff is trying to be there. It’s making a willing, decent, concerted effort to be there - but it loathes doing it. That’s something i’m bothered by, particularly to do with identification - how you both do and undo it. That’s through everything, within everything that i’ve been doing here and using this time to work through.
ORW: I wondered whether there might be a kind of space ideally produced from the work? I wondered if this term ‘remote inhabitation’ you’ve used before comes out of it. But we could just move on…
MH: I hope for certain productions of experience from the space. I hope for certain registers of sympathy and direction of engagement. But I don’t think I have a: ‘this is the way to be,’ in it. The entire space is trying to play the forms against each other, trying to make an environment that has a similar kind of engagement that i’ve previously achieved predominantly, or exclusively, in video. It’s trying to spatialise these things that can be done in a certain sharp way with single-channel video. Trying to push that out. As to ‘remote inhabitation’… it’s the deployment method of instantiation. Like, identification across a distance in order to transmit behaviour, attitudes, stances, looks, quips: ways of engaging with the world. I’m interested in it. I’m irked by it. The ways it claims you, and you can claim it.
Marta Bermejo: In one month you don’t have time to transform or perhaps go far beyond your initial idea… are there new or different materials you have come to through the residency?
MH: As regards to materials, I have been interested in expanding upon them. To use what’s coherent here in terms of it belonging together. I don’t feel its site-specific, and I don’t feel like it’s an intervention. But it’s looking at things that sit together, that belong together as a body - that have sympathy with each other to achieve a kind of requisite tension. If i’m dealing with this instantiation, or shaking forms, i want something that has a grounded logic to hit against that. This is something that has determined the material choices I’ve made here. There are other particular conceits and limitations that help to bring this balance.
MB: Maybe it’s a sympathy that only you can see!
MH: I guess there’s a transitory quality to a lot of the things. These are materials that go between, or prepare, or wrap, and have a certain lightness to them. They’re not heavy forms, but it’s kinda presenting them in a heavy way. Trying to give them weight.
MB: Maybe you could talk a bit about the performative aspect of the exhibition? You are performing in one of the videos, there are microphones inside a sculpture that invites the audience. It triggers some kind of performative action. But you aren’t sure if it’s the artist or viewer who is going to perform.
MH: With there being performative or gestural things happening, the use of it that is most appealing to me is that of misleading or obfuscation. I’m not interested in authentic performance experience. I am interested in certain energies you get from using these forms, but not as a direct or authentic thing. For me that’s not as productive within my work. It’s an interesting thing to pick up. It’s something i probably spend a lot of time thinking about. Its almost a denial of the performative aspect. I guess that’s the main function.
Photographs: Joseph Barrett and Mike Harvey