Brittain Fellow Composes 'Verbal Score' for Artist's Film at MOCA GA

John Harkey, a Brittain Fellow in Georgia Tech's Writing and Communication Program, recently collaborated with artist and filmmaker Micah Stansell, whose work "The Water and the Blood" is currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Georgia (MOCA GA).

Drawing equally from his own and from others' writings, Harkey composed a voice-over script for Stansell's 20-minute film, an immersive cinematic installation with eight separate, but synchronized projections, each one 10-feet high, that seamlessly surround visitors on three walls. Harkey's collage of language, read by Michael Adare, is obliquely but deliberately keyed to the work's specific array of episodes, and thus operates as a kind of "verbal score" for the kaleidoscopic film  - the only audio in the room is a dreamy ambient score.  Visitors must put on a pair of wireless headphones to hear Harkey's voice-over.

Stansell's work has received wide acclaim since it opened in late August, and art critic Jerry Cullum discussed the voice-over's significance to the piece: "The philosophical analysis that dominates one of the soundtracks eventually becomes a useful guide to the labyrinth of story and re-collection of an intrinsically fragmented narrative. The aphorisms include advice on the cast of mind needed for 'undoing a stubborn knot,' as well as meditations on the limits of understanding. Someday we might indeed understand every moment of everyone’s history, as one solo speech in the soundtrack suggests — but not in this life of endlessly partial perspectives." "The Water and the Blood" will be on view at MOCA GA through December 3rd, 2011.

Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellowship scholars are innovators in teaching English in the Georgia Tech Writing and Communication Program housed within the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts School of Literature, Communication, and Culture. 

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Rebecca Keane