Part 13 of Joy and Tranquillity digital guide

Harold Offeh describes his installation

Listen to the audio

Watch the BSL video

Transcript of the audio

As you enter the gallery, you walk down a corridor. On the walls and floor are black-and-white photographs of dancers printed onto yellow vinyl.

There is a large black-and-white projection ahead of you with four dancers, each depicted against a blank wall. All the walls in the gallery are painted yellow, the colour of happiness.

The dancers on the projection are involved in a hypnotic trance-like movement. To the right of the projection are a series of flat-screen monitors installed vertically at different angles. Two of them are on the walls, and the other two are on poles, forming a semi-enclosed circle.

The display creates a sense of intimacy with the performers. Each of them depicted in their own home but brought together in the gallery. Social intimacy broaching physical distance.

Each screen displays a performer participating in a movement workshop, devised by myself and the choreographer Vânia Gala. The dancers are moving to a series of scores that act as prompts. These include shaking, passing out and turning, and the movements are variously vigorous and intense, and then slow.

The workshop was originally intended to happen in the same place, but we did it online due to lockdown measures, which means each participant is performing on their own at home, the installation forming a type of surrogate dance floor in which you as the viewer are participating. The films are edited so you can start and stop watching whenever you want.

About the speaker

Photograph of Harold Offeh

Harold Offeh

(he/him)

Harold Offeh is a UK-based artist working in a range of media including performance, video, photography, learning and social arts practice. Offeh is interested in the space created by inhabiting or embodying histories, using humour to confront the viewer with historical narratives and contemporary culture. He has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally, including Tate Britain and Tate Modern, South London Gallery, Turf Projects (London), Kettle’s Yard, Wysing Arts Centre Studio (Cambridge), Studio Museum Harlem (New York), MAC VAL (France) Kunsthal Charlottenborg (Denmark) and Art Tower Mito (Japan). He recently completed a PhD exploring the activation of Black album covers through performance. He is a Reader in Fine Art at Leeds Beckett University and a tutor in Contemporary Art Practice at the Royal College of Art.