John Harvey: Blog

Intersections of image, sound, and word


Martin Herbert (1957-2014)

While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die (Leonardo da Vinci) Martin came into this world and proceeded to reinvent it on his own terms. That’s the indelible impression I have of a man and an artist whom I knew for a tantalizingly brief period. He was a creator of alternative histories, a maker of plausible fictions, and a hybridizer of facts […]

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Stephen Chilton (1975-2014)

I’ve lost a friend / And I don’t know why (Tim Hardin/Nico, Eulogy to Lenny Bruce (1967)) I taught Steve when he was first a BA and then an MA Fine Art student at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University. At the outset, my impression of him was that of a garrulous, grinning, and ungainly young man with interesting ears and a nervous laugh, who looked like a Mannerist version of […]

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My Diaries

 ‘Painting is just another way of keeping a diary’ (Pablo Picasso). ‘Keeping a diary is just another way of painting’ (Pascal Obispo). In July 2014, I published a public diary in order to provide ‘an insight into my activities, challenges, discomforts, and discoveries as an academic and a creative practitioner’ (John Harvey, [website]/’Blog’). Every other diary that I’ve kept is private. The first private diary was begun on January 1, 1971. My Lett’s Schoolboy Diary […]

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Expansive (10 05 2014)

The term ‘gas’, derived from the Greek khaos (chaos), was first used by the Flemish chemist Jan Baptist van Helmont (1577-1644) to denote an occult principle which he believed inhered all matter. For him, gas summoned the sense of the ‘proper elements of spirits’. On Saturday 10 May 2014 I gave the opening speech at the Expansive exhibition of works by Rebecca Backshall, held in the Gas Gallery/Oriel Nwy, Aberystwyth on the […]

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Preface to ‘Art/Sound’

 ‘What I have in my own mind is a complete fusion of the two concepts’ (Herbert Read, Education Through Art (1943)). The ‘Art/Sound: Practice, Theory & History 1800-2010’ module will be launched at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University in September 2014. It’s anticipated that this will be the first in a suite of modules, presented under the aegis of the eye(aɪ)–ear(ɪə(r)) group, designed to explore the interaction of image, sound, and […]

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‘If at first you don’t succeed — call an airstrike’ (Banksy, stenciled graffiti, San Francisco,  2013); ‘A desperate disease requires a desperate remedy’ (Guy Fawkes, London, 06 11 1605). On the streets of San Francisco there is a tit-for-tat battle in progress between graffitists and the proprietors of the buildings they’ve illustrated. The rules of engagement are as follows: one adversary tags a surface using an aerosol spray, the other […]

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The Noises of Art

Noise accompanies every manifestation of our life (Luigi Russolo, The Art of Noises (1913)); I think it is in sound’s nature to be free and uncontrollable and to go through the cracks and and to go places where it’s not supposed to go (Christian Marclay). The boundary between visual art and aural modes of creative practice is porous. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, artists, musicians, and writers have crossed […]

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Staking the Lizard

Burn a bridge and burn a boat, Stake a Lizard by the throat (‘Prince Rupert Awakes’). Gini Wade (née Barris) was responsible for designing one of the most revered and idiosyncratic progressive-rock album covers of the 1970s. Between 2007 and 2010, she studied for an MA in Fine Art at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University. She had returned to education, having graduated in 1967 with a BA in Graphic […]

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