John Harkey, a first-year Brittain Fellow in Georgia Tech’s Writing and Communication Program, recently collaborated with artist and filmmaker Micah Stansell, whose work “The Water and the Blood” is currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Georgia (MOCA GA). Drawing equally from his own and from others’ writings, Harkey composed a voice-over script for Stansell’s 20-minute film, which might be better described as an immersive cinematic installation — eight separate but synchronized projections, each one 10-feet high, seamlessly surround visitors on three walls. Harkey’s collage of language, read by Michael Adare, is obliquely but deliberately keyed to the work’s specific array of episodes, and thus operates as a kind of “verbal score” for the kaleidoscopic film (the only audio in the room itself is a dreamy ambient score; to hear Harkey’s voice-over, visitors put on a pair of wireless headphones that are provided at the gallery’s entrance). Stansell’s work has received wide acclaim since it opened in late August, and art critic Jerry Cullum even made special mention of the voice-over’s significance to the piece: “The philosophical analysis that dominates one of the soundtracks eventually becomes a useful guide to the labyrinth of story and re-collection of an intrinsically fragmented narrative. The aphorisms include advice on the cast of mind needed for ‘undoing a stubborn knot,’ as well as meditations on the limits of understanding. Someday we might indeed understand every moment of everyone’s history, as one solo speech in the soundtrack suggests — but not in this life of endlessly partial perspectives.” “The Water and the Blood” will be on view at MOCA GA through December 3rd, 2011.
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