Contemporary Art Practice – Moving Image (MA)

Katharine Segura Harvey

Katharine Segura Harvey is a moving image artist whose practice explores the relationship between memory and trauma. Since graduating from Goldsmiths College with a BA in Fine Art and Contemporary Critical Practice, Katharine has exhibited in group shows in London, Germany and across Italy. Katharine lives and works in London.  

Contact

katharine.segura@network.rca.ac.uk

https://www.katharineseguraharvey.co.uk

Sponsors

We are in the midst of a global cultural trauma, the ramifications of which are certain to be deep and long-lasting. Yet we also find ourselves in a moment of fragile promise, an opportunity to use our practice and our position to shift thought, raise voices and mobilise action. Whilst trauma may be irresolvable, it may also offer possibilities to engage in a process of transformation to affect change and offer hope.  
My practice seeks to explore the irresolvable quality of trauma and how artistic representations of this irresolvable subject may move beyond mere metaphorical appropriations. If we agree with the position held by prominent thinkers that trauma is ‘indefinable’, it follows that trauma is unrepresentable. This naturally poses a significant dilemma for artists endeavouring to unravel this enigma. The question of what possibilities exist for artists to express the inexpressible forms the basis of my research and is the driving force behind my practice. I propose that within work seeking to represent trauma, an acknowledgement of the inexpressible nature of trauma itself must be present. Working predominantly within moving image, my practice explores how we may engineer both language and time- based media to express the unique qualities of trauma and its pervasive effects on the psyche.  
The concept of resistance is also central to my practice, specifically in relation to abuse: resisting dominant power structures, resisting silencing and resisting the status quo. My practice is inherently urgent; it seeks to confront and to raise undeniable concerns regarding the misuse of power and accepted notions of truth, concerns that continue to exist within the public realm of consciousness at cultural and political levels yet too often remain unaddressed. The need for change remains.
 

Dark Room

'Dark Room' highlights the assumed veracity of the image, images which we understand to be constructed and composed yet, nonetheless, we accept as truth. The fragmentary monologue, told from the perspective of abuser yet performed by the artist, gives the viewer access into the abuser’s predatorial process, thus making us complicit in their crimes. The narrator, a photographer themselves, hides behind the constructed realities of photographs they take, camouflaging their predatorial nature. Using photography as an extended metaphor, the writing style incorporates imagery associated with the analogue photographic process that also hints at the predatory nature of the protagonist. Whilst the monologue adopts the position of abuser, the sound and visual aspects of Dark Room are fragmentary, repetitious and signal re-enactment. Exploiting the mechanics of moving image, these qualities, also inherent hallmarks of trauma, are here offered up to be exploited through a process of transformation.

Once completed, this single channel stereo version will be the central screen of a three-channel installation with 5.1 sound. The three 8ft x 12ft screens will be suspended from the ceiling, with the left- and right-hand screens at forty-five-degree angles to the central screen. The screens will be hung to create the illusion of one seamless screen. This piece will also use a 5.1 audio set up to create an immersive and somatic experience, designed to overwhelm and unsettle the senses.

Medium:

Moving Image

Size:

10:53
Abuse
Autobiography
Child abuse
Contemporary Art
Fragmentary
Memory
Monologue
Moving image
Photography
Trauma
Truth

Painting A Traumatic Memory

Originally a 5.1 looped sound installation exhibited in a dark and confined space, this stereo version of 'Painting A Traumatic Memory' creates an internalised encounter with a fragmented and disrupted trauma. Narrated by multiple female disembodied performers, the text experiments with a writing style that seeks to represent the somatic sense of a traumatic memory, one which unwillingly appears chaotic and without comprehensible order. Emulating the non-linear and fragmentary nature of trauma, the plurality of voices attests to the collective experience of trauma. Their status as disembodied narrators positions them as silenced, ghostly presences left suspended in the traumatic memory.

Medium:

5.1 Sound installation

Size:

5:41

Boat Memory

Taking as its starting point trauma-focused therapy questioning techniques, 'Boat Memory' recalls an autobiographical traumatic childhood memory. Omitting the therapeutic line of questioning, the monologue pieces itself together into a linear narrative. A child actor embodies the artist’s adult vernacular, which raises the question of ownership; who does this memory belong to? Following Butler’s contention that any retelling is always dependent on an audience, and therefore a performative act in and of itself, 'Boat Memory' explores the idea that in narrating ourselves, we construct a narrative for an audience.

Medium:

Moving Image

Size:

10:45

You Have The Right To Remain Silent

Seeking to confront and re-examine the past, this two-channel video installation places the viewer in the middle of two inwardly facing screens, positioning them as both judge and jury and the two actors as witnesses taking the stand. As the narrative progresses, the power dynamic between the actors shifts, thus interrogating and exposing the confrontational dialogue between abuser and victim. The emerging conflict uses the text of an email correspondence between the artist and her uncle. Manipulating the original text both brings the abuser to a reckoning and calls into question the veracity of the document as evidence.

Medium:

Moving Image

Size:

12:01

Three Blind Mice

In 'Three Blind Mice', the artist talks back to and inhabits the original text, challenging the mechanical memory that bears witness and calling into question the authority of the found audio footage. The innocent playfulness to the initial interaction between the artist and her father is belied by the unsettling language choices of the artist as an infant. The subsequent manipulated recording exposes latent material beneath the outwardly nuclear exchange, transforming the experience into a disturbed and violent narrative. In inhabiting her younger self, the artist’s exposing and vulnerable performance both unravels and confronts the abuse.

Medium:

Moving Image

Size:

4:18

Leverhulme Arts Scholarship

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