Although they happened within hours of each other, Lucy Harrison’s talk was very different to Seb Patane’s.
Lucy Harrison is a British artists who works mainly in commissioned projects and events. Her work is very accessible being rarely exhibited in galleries but on her website and public spaces. Her practice lies in Printmaking and Book publishing and highly focusses on video and photography. Unlike Seb Patane, Lucy Harrison broke down her talk by looking at her individual art pieces in detail rather than generalising them into certain themes or areas or work.
The first piece she spoke to us about is linked to a cab office that used to be Daniel Defoe’s house. She made a video highlighting the crucial link between how the cab office direct the taxis around London and how Defoe wrote Tour through the whole island of Great Britain from this house.
Following this she showed us screenshots of a piece she completed using every page from James Joyce’s book Ulysses. After photocopying each page individually she made them into frames for a movie.
From this she explained how she enjoyed taking things out of the background and making it a foreground. She met a woman who had been a extra in many television shows. The lady had archived all of these sections and put them together. Harrison took these clips and made them into a video, she finished off this by showing a small portion of interview with this lady. Harrison made the lady who usually was a background character the centre of her film.
Harrison was then commissioned to work on the Beacon Art Project. This project used her skills to help on the library buses which went around giving access to those without a library. She asked a local bingo called to read out the names of numbers followed by the name of a book which had that number in it, this book could be found in the library. This acted as a bingo for those using the bus as it travelled around the winner would receive a free book.
Her next project was a poetry based installation linked to a commission from the Southbank Centre. The Southbank Centre asked for people’s contributions to a poetry exhibition they were doing. Harrison took this one step further and from the 200 poems that were selected she used the first words in each poem. From here she put each word on a frame of a film and then put them on DVDs. Displaying them on eight television screens each would produce different sentences when the viewer entered the room. The viewer could choose wether to write the sentence they saw in a book.
Source : http://www.lucy-harrison.co.uk/projects/poetry-machines/
Her last two projects she discussed were the biggest projects.
The Carnaby Street project was commissioned by the property investor who owns the majority of the Carnaby Street. They wanted to create the Carnaby Street Echoes, a history of Carnaby Street. Harrison interpreted this and from here created 12 short films looking at the history of certain locations in the street. These used to be cabaret clubs, reggae bars and even bars where stars such as Jimmy Hendrix use to jam. Each video looks at the place and interviews someone who was a part of this place. This was later made into an app.
Videos of Carnaby Echoes : http://www.carnabyechoes.com/map/#
The Balfron Tower was a popular tower block in East London. The tower block is currently being refurbished and instead of being social housing it will be becoming flats for Canary Wharf. After advertising to find people who lived in the building before, a polish man who now lived in the flats opposite. They got in contact with the man who she managed to interview. He invited Harrison into his home where he lives with his son who is his primary carer. Harrison managed to get permission to go back to their old flat in Balfron and take some pictures. She brought the pictures back and he talked her through them, he then decided he wanted to go back and see the flat. Her short video captures the going back to the flat, the stories that he tells us about the house and the way of life. She ended up exhibiting the video and the photographs she took in the flat. People were given a book to accompany this and many did not realise they were talking about the flat in the video until the end.
Although different, I really enjoyed Harrison’s talk. I love the fact that she is a practicing artists but work mainly on commissions, this is different to all the other talks we have seen. Her storytelling technique is strong throughout all her work and that kept me interested and involved right up to the end of the talk. Her work is very research based which I appreciate as well, it has helped me to see I can really link theory to my work and still come out with a high quality informative outcome.