Ackroyd, Heather and Harvey, Dan. (3 of 5). Oral History of British Photography

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  • Recording date

    2001-01-03 and 2001-05-25

  • Recording locations

    Dorking and London, United Kingdom

  • Interviewees

    Ackroyd, Heather, 1959-, (speaker, female), Harvey, Dan, 1959-, (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Barnes, Martin, (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 3. (25 May 2001) Continued discussion of Living Skins and photosynthesis piece Snake in the Grass at the Serpentine Gallery, London. Work with Italian Curator Pieranna Cavalchini for installation in Arte Domani exhibition located in a former hospital in Spoleto, Italy. Ackroyd and Harvey's (A&H) piece entitled Prima Meteria used an olive tree. Descriptions of the difficulties of moving it into the gallery. In 1991 and 1992 A&H embarked on separate commissions, Daniel Harvey (DH) on a garden work for Robert and Lisa Sainsbury and HA on a performance with Graeme Miller, Desire Paths. A&H next collaborated on Forcefield a commission in a large derelict grain store for Galway Arts Festival, Ireland, 2000. During the course of the installation shadows of objects such as a garden shed and a tree were imprinted onto the walls covered in grass. Importance of water in the work, both in the growth of grass and in flooding floors in the installations that provide a reflective surface. Different symbolic, conceptual and scientific reasons for using grass in the work. Discussion of crossovers between science and art. A&H given grants by Wellcome Sci-Art Award and (National Endowment for Science Technology and Arts (NESTA) 1997 that allowed collaboration with scientists. Discussion of working with and guiding natural processes. Preoccupation with desire to fix images made in grass that were susceptible to fading. To address this H&A used a special type of 'stay green' seed developed with scientists from the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER) with Professor Howard Thomas who was working on chlorophyll breakdown. A&H's daughter was born and in1998. A portrait of HA and her daughter formed the basis for a photosynthesis image, Mother and Child for an exhibition at Santa Barbara Museum on which they tried new ways of preserving the image for longer by using stay-green grass and drying the works. At a period of advances in DNA mapping and genetics, this piece gained resonance and public attention. Process of image selection for photosynthesis pieces - conceptually matching the image to the technique.

  • Description

    Performer notes : Born Daniel Harvey. Recording notes : See also individual interviews with Heather Ackroyd C459/130 and Dan Harvey C459/131.

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