Harkey Composes ‘Verbal Score’ for Artist’s Film at MOCA GA

The Water and the Blood

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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Diane Jakacki

About Diane Jakacki

Diane Jakacki received her PhD from the University of Waterloo, where she specialized in early modern printed drama, and participated in federally-funded digital humanities research projects. She has published two articles on applying social semiotic methods to early modern theatre history, an edition of Wit and Science, and co-authored an essay on developing digital image annotation tools. She is a software consultant to imageMAT and the Records of Early English Drama. At Georgia Tech she applies digital humanities methods to pedagogical solutions. Jakacki is currently developing researching the Elizabethan clown Richard Tarlton and his touring relationship with the Queen’s Men troupe.
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