Paul Harrison - Away from the unknown

7:28, 2011, Animation
Away from the Unknown is a digital stop motion animation that explores a notion of Hyper reality. So this piece is looking at an opinion that i have in which currency is a form of Hyperreality.

This animation was basically a reaction to my anxieties surrounding money and how it controls lives. Furthermore this work contains issues involving materiality and the immateriality of an image or depiction. In the end i hope this work can help people gain a greater insight into our capitalist way of life and particularly how monsey is used to symbolise value.
DirectorPaul HarrisonProducerPaul Harrison

CountryUnited KingdomEdition2011 ScreeningsSheffield Hallam Degree show , AMPERSAND, June 2011

The progressive image Screening. The Viewer Gallery ( The origonal gallery,hornsey London) September 2011

< overview


Who is Paul Harrison?
I am an artist currently based in sheffield, I was born on the 21 August 1989 in Beverley East Yorkshire. I have dark curly hair and freckles coupled with a massive love for the genre of music called reggae. My artwork tends to primarily take the form of animations and drawings that explore notions of change and transformation. Ideas that are interrogated through the process of a consistent questioning surrounding a particular interest. For example I look at narrative as a part of my work that is placed and lives within language both visually and sonically. The words attached to the materials I use, even the physical written words conspire to form a question. One that is not necessarily designed or motivated by a desire for an immediate answer, its existence is open ended I am fascinated by the possibility for something new arising from the space thats created in this type of inquiry.

What is Away from the unknown about?
Away From the Unknown is about this idea that I have in which money or currency is a form of hyperreality one thats really related to the ability money has to create real human anxiety. This animation was basically a reaction towards my fears towards our relationship with value and the illusion that surrounds money being all powerful. This piece of work really attempts to play with the difference between the materiality and immateriality of an image and how we negotiate the difference from physical to digital space. So its really about challenging preconceived notions of how money functions in our lives whilst at the same time providing a platform from which to imagine ways to overcome currency’s hyper-real affect on us.

How did you start with film? And do you have an educational background in art or film?
I started through looking at interviews with renowned individuals on youtube, these included people as diverse as: Rupert Murdoch, Dalai Lama, and Theirry Henry. So it was very diverse and originally I was planning on creating a video montage of these individuals speaking creating my own discourse. However it was with the words of Steven Pinker, an Canadian experimental psychologist that really allowed me to progress.

’theres a value in imagining being in a plummeting elevator and then taking a coin out of your pocket and trying to drop it’

This sentence really spoke to me as a metaphor for my frustration towards the economy, the politicians and there tax benefits it just really spoke to me. So I then used this to describe the seemingly unescapable hold money has over us. This particular appropriation was the basis for the whole discourse.

Could you explain how you work, what themes or concepts you use and what is important to you?
I work intensively often debating and thinking through the images as I make them in this way I find it easier to relate to and hone into the works context. Concepts such as change and transformation are important as I believe they are both massively important to anyone working in moving image. Also hyperreality and the writings of Jean Baudrillard are a recent influence, in terms of writings I would say Carl G Jung and Martin Buber are also big academic influences. The notion of altruism is important to me as I think its something that is inherent in our being, in our existence.

How long do you usually work on one project?
Usually a couple of months it depends on the direction the work takes.

How does the title relate to the work, and how do you find a fitting title?
I think it relates in terms of the motion it evokes so moving away from the unknown is moving towards something all to familiar which at the time was what anxiety was. It is loosely hinting that we desire the ability to know, and you cant with money. I always find titles difficult in the past i have named the works to literally and it just gives to much away.

Where do you get your ideas or inspiration from?
Mostly people, I like watching interviews with very well known people on youtube as you learn something new very quickly.
Also other artists that work in different mediums they always provide fresh fuel and a desire to make new work. Visiting exhibitions and watching animations always are very productive for new inspiration. I also spend a lot of time doodling which i find very useful.

How important is sound in film, and if you use sounds, do you create your own or use existing?
Sound is important without it i do not think the work would have the same presence it would be compromised. Because sound is such a physical experiential thing, it creates a space and thats needed for the works audience to get absorbed in the visual content.
I think sound is really suggestive and can manipulate its audience into feeling a certain way, so in that sense its important. I do a mixture of both recording and sourcing existing audio for my work.

How does content relate to the form of your work?
Well a very easy way is that my content because it is hand drawn and digitally manipulated, it carries vague hallmarks or traces of a cartoon. Which animation is very closely matched with, in the modern digital age there are lots of cartoons and they use stop motion in a very commercial way. Where the form of my work is very much animation as an art, rather than advertisement I think because its popular to animate products and adverts as an art form animation can suffer and be overlooked.

What possibilities of the web are yet to be explored?
I think digital space and social networking has allowed for this freedom, creative freedom and an ease of communication can only lead to more platforms and events like this. As a result of this ease for new dialogues i think really interesting collective collaborative projects can be achieved on the web.

Did the web changed your view on art, or your career?
Not really

Where would you place your work; cinema or art. And what is the difference between those according to you?
Art, I think some cinema has the potential to be art however i think art in general is much more critically engaged, its a lot more characterised and free from certain restraints.

How influential is the reaction to your film by the audience?
Very without their reaction I would not be able to measure if the work was a success.

What is your next project about?
Purely digital video, stop motion expanding on the theme of balance and how you can only really see it in its proximity to opposites.


< overview