PJ Harvey & Seamus Murphy, Rencontres d’Arles 2016
THE HOLLOW OF THE HAND
From 2011 to 2014, singer/author/composer PJ Harvey and photographer Seamus Murphy travelled through Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Washington, D.C., continuing a collaboration begun with the album Let England Shake. There Seamus Murphy collected images (photo and video) marked by an aesthetic developed since the 1990s in his work as a photojournalist; PJ Harvey collected words that would nourish poems and songs.
They transcribed the sensitive interrelationships between territories, images, and poems in an ambitious publication, The Hollow of the Hand. Post-war Kosovo, its villages abandoned and empty; Afghanistan in a state of perpetual conflict; Washington, its neighbourhoods evoking alternatively the symbolic loci of power or the underworld of a fractured society: Seamus Murphy and PJ Harvey examine tension and muff led violence, but also the strange, thrilling immanence of the everyday.
They go beyond simple reporting; they set conflicts in a context, both wide-ranging and manifold, which includes recording reality, representing it, and putting it into perspective through poetic texts.
These poems, photos, and fi lms are never confi ned to a literal, illustrative role. They are multiple, dimensional forms emanating from a single path, a single journey. They are gestures, ways of exploring the real, of experiencing it and performing it, in order to share it with the other side of the world.
Exhibition coproduced by the Rencontres d’Arles and Les Garçons Sauvages.
Publication: The Hollow of the Hand, Bloomsbury Circus, 2015.
Exhibition venue: Église Sainte-Anne.