Mark Harvey: Drop the Ball

Drop the Ball is a collaborative live performance and exhibition project by local artist, Mark Harvey. This project brings artist Mark Harvey into collaboration with Woodlands Park Primary School’s Year 5 and 6 students, who have invented sculptural forms to be used in a performance.

Over four days, students tested 3D thinking skills, making small models from recycled materials while working alongside Harvey, assisted by fellow artist Christina Houghton. A selection of these models were then scaled up into large-scale sculptural forms to be used in a performance at the school, as well as a live performance event at Te Uru. The students helping to make the sculptural aparatuses will be able to have ‘the last laugh’ on the male artist.

The Drop the Ball exhibition presents all of the participating students’ artwork alongside the larger performance sculptures, and a performance video screened in the gallery’s front window. Over the exhibition’s duration, more sculptures will be added by our local community to create a room filled with diverse 3D explorations of shapes that twist, ascend and multiply through the space.

Drop the Ball draws influence from Harvey’s experiences of being conditioned by the Pakeha colonising perspective of ‘breaking in’ the land as seen in construction sites in West Auckland (and his questioning of this through what has later been called decolonisation). He brings to this his experiences of unionisation in relation to working lives, and the inevitability of negotiating work-place political conversations. From this, he reflects on current contexts of Western modes of production and their underlying dominant ideologies. The work will also consider what can arise as risks to productivity when a sense of sustained outputs through repetitive labour-tasks still retain the potential of human error, along with attempted conversations within the worksite of the performance.

This project is also the result of years of project development in Belgium, Finland and across Aotearoa by Harvey in collaboration in part with Finnish/UK artist John Court, and has been funded by the Finnish Arts Council and Creative New Zealand.

Mark Harvey is an Aotearoa/New Zealand based artist, of Pakeha/Maori heritage who works with a range of approaches, especially performance and video. His work often engages with notions of productive idiocy, endurance, duration, social psychology, social justice, politics, climate change and various perspectives in ecology. He has presented in a range of international contexts such as the 55th Venice Biennale for Visual Arts, ANTI Contemporary Art Festival, Finland, Trendheim Kunstmuseum, Norway, and holds a PhD in performance art from AUT University. He is a Senior Lecturer in Creative Arts & Industries at the University of Auckland.

Image: Drop Kick (collaboration with John Court and Mark Harvey), ANTI Contemporary Art Festival, Finland, 2018

02 March - 19 May 2019

Learning Centre Gallery

Photos by Sam Hartnett

RELATED links:

Drop the Ball: Live Performance and Open Studio
Saturday 23 February, 10.30am-3.30pm

Panel Discussion:
Performing Collaboration

Saturday 11 May, 2pm