Conceived as a fluid interrogation, the series exposes the inherent tensions between images, words, and historical records in invoking hidden, inconvenient or unwanted memory. Harasymowicz frequently harnesses archive, as a starting point for enquiry, a strategy and a cognitive tool to pose questions around the valididty o frecollection, the ambiguity of reconstruction, political representation and autobiography.
Begun at Centrala Gallery in Birmingham in 2015 with a final evocation at the Poetry Library in london later this year, the project fuses biography, newly commissioned writing and documentary records to explore one of the biggest WWII maritime disasters. The event- obscured in history and clouded in ambiguity- operates for Harasymowicz as a springboard to challenge political and cultural amnesia. Oscillating between drawing, instillation, performance, sound and video, the artist uses abstracted form and aural soundscape in order to challenge and antagonise visual strategies that deal with 'personal memory' and 'collective history'.
The centerpiece of the exhibtition is a new sound instillation in the form of a radio broadcast, dramatising real activity that took place in a German concentration camp towards the end of WWII. During the nights, a group of prisoners would engage in clandestine and prohibited collaboration to create fictitious 'radio programmes using the structure of real broadcasts- including news bulletins, weather forecasts, sports commentary and reportage- as a way of blocking out the surrounding reality of war, incarceration, displacement and the terror of the unknown.
As a way of exploring the impact of this action, and as a test for the potentiality of new narrations when they start circulating through her artworks, the artist has re-imagined these 'broadcasts' by recording a live performance in Sigmund Freud's former study at th eFreud Museum, North London. It presents an aural collage of performed testimonials, fiction, poetry, scientific research, experimental writing and sound distortions. The competing conflicting narratives reverberate and overlap, honing in and out of the war prisoners' ordeal whilst further interconnecting the artist's (hidden) family history and continuing a serious political enquiry into buried events.
Additionally, the installation in the front room of the gallery evokes an echo chamber of sorts in which attenuation, absorption, scattering and signal degradation are executed in nonfigurative forms as almost theoretical props in a warped transmitting - receiving activity.
Both timed, hourly broadcasts as well as the omnipresent sonic landscape form the pulse of this richly textured installation, which foregrounds the spatial and temporal nature of sound and utilises sound waves and its frequencies as a particular form of reenactment - an archive endlessly insisting on its present and relevance.
Curated by Dominik Czechowski.
In partnership with Centrala Gallery, Birmingham and the Poetry Library, Southbank Centre.
With Special thanks to Freud Museum, London
Additional thanks to: International Tracing Service ITS- Arolsen;
Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial; Pomorska Historical Museum Kraków.