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Effy Harle

Hello

My name is Effy (she/her). I was born in Budapest, Hungary. I am an artist and arts organiser working and living in the UK since 2012.

My work intertwines collaborative and social practice, addressing questions concerning feminist instituting and interdisciplinary working. I construct structures to support an elaborate web of projects, including spoken word, performance, publishing, broadcasting. Strands of material- and word-based making are intertwined within my practice. I craft costumes and stories, both constructed out of fragments; words and threads looped around each other creating a tapestry of narratives.

Before coming to the RCA I founded FemTech, an all-female art technician collective based in Nottingham. At the RCA, I developed this line of research through my dissertation titled Female Art Technicians: The Gendered Division of Labour in Contemporary Art Institutions.


I worked and exhibited extensively throughout the Midlands between 2014 and 2019. My work featured in exhibitions and events at Nottingham Contemporary, Primary and New Art Exchange in Nottingham, Eastside Projects, Birmingham and Mansions of the Future in Lincoln. 

I develop collaborative methodologies through my programming and instituting which are crafted to frame deeply interdependent and cross-disciplinary practices. I have been instrumental in developing several collaborative projects during my time at the RCA.

I took a leading role in developing CAP TV for RCA2021. CAP TV is our collective buzzing hive mind in full Technicolor realness! A platform hosting live and pre-recorded broadcasts from across Contemporary Art Practice students. For full listing of upcoming broadcasts visit mixcloud.com/cap_tv.

Together with Alessandro Moroni, I founded CAP Records, a framework for the release of sonic art, presenting artists whose work is at the intersection of spoken word, sound and music. Our first release is Tongue of blade ‡ Ears of mud, featuring nine artists from the Contemporary Art Practice programme. Released as a limited run of 50 cassettes available to pre-order via Shopify.

For Everything Forever, the annual festival run by Contemporary Art Practice students, I coordinated the writing and publishing strand of the festival with Georgina Watson and Anita Marante. Together we co-edited Mercurial Mist, an online and print-at-home publication featuring contributions from 34 artists and coordinated a series of writing focused events throughout the festival.

I joined the Feminist Society committee in early 2021 and programmed Unruly Assembly with Elena Lo Presti and Anita Marante. Through a collection of events from collage, zine-making, sharing of texts and even singing, the Assembly introduced personal and collective politics that represent diverse approaches to feminist art praxis.

— Grab your headphones and click Launch Project to listen to the sonic iteration of Father's Head. It's just under 7 minutes long.

Father's Head is a body of work spanning across a whole year, taking form across sonic, performative and textual iterations. A concoction of memory, fiction and dream in five verses about a house and its inhabitants through the eye of an estranged protagonist.

Father’s Head was born out of a series of writing exercises undertaken at my mother’s house during the first world-wide lockdown of 2020. It started as an experiment in fragmentary writing which I developed into spoken word accompanied by a soundscape composed by artist and musician Finbar Prior for the sonic iteration of Father’s Head which you can listen to above.

The excerpt below is from my essay Encountering the weird and the eerie in a time of urgency dissecting my interest in displacement within domesticity parallel to the theoretical reframing of Freud’s Unheimlich by Mark Fisher in his book The Weird and The Eerie. Father’s Head is situated at the forefront of this line of artistic research and rooted in my encounters with the weird and the eerie. 

The weird and the eerie made itself known to me first through the odd small-town British landscape. When I was sixteen I went to college in the Midlands for a year, where I found myself displaced, living on my own for the first time, in the eerie company of sandstone churches, surrounded by crumbling Victorian headstones, neighboring vast postindustrial landscapes with pylons crackling with electricity – an environment so alien yet intriguing.

On the 19th of March 2020, I got off a plane at 9 PM local time at Budapest Terminal 2. Sinking into my seat on the ‘wrong’ side of my mother’s car we zoomed through the unlit motorway. While 100 km/h speed signs flashed across my eyes, I was on an emotional collision course faced with the rupture in my life due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. For the second time in my life, I was entirely displaced: severed from the known, the comfortable, and the trusted. Spending months in my mother’s house which was no longer my home but more like a living museum populated by relics of the past, animated by bygone conflicts and alliances so unexpectedly vivid and seemingly alive in this place, caused an acute and overwhelming sensation of the weird and eerie in me, despite and hence their intimate familiarity.

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The sonic iteration of Father's Head is featured on Tongue of blade ‡ Ears of mud a compilation album of sound works by nine artists from the Contemporary Art Practice programme. The album will have a physical release on cassette, launching on 21 July 2021 in conjunction with the Contemporary Art Practice showcase at Cromwell Place, London, between 21–25 July 2021.

Preorder now via Shopify from a limited edition of 50 cassette tapes, featuring original design by Faye Rita Robinson. 

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The live performance of Father's Head sonic iteration will be broadcast on the CAP TV platform as part of Performance Relay on Saturday 4 July, 7.30 pm. 

Father's Head will be performed as a spoken word piece featuring make-up by artist Christos Gkenoudis. The performance will take place at Cromwell Place, London in conjunction with the Contemporary Art Practice showcase between 21–25 July 2021. Attendance to this event will be dependent on visitor restrictions. Bookings will be released in mid-July. A live broadcast will be aired on CAP TV. 

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The transcript of Father's Head has been published in the The Pluralist and Mercurial Mist and is available on Issuu or to read below.

Medium:

Spoken word, sound, text, performance.
— Album art by Faye Rita Robinson. Courtesy the artist.

Tongue of blade ‡ Ears of mud is a compilation of contemporary sound art featuring nine artists from the Contemporary Art Practice programme. Released as a limited run of 50 cassettes, available to pre-order on Shopify. The album will launch at Cromwell Place on 21 July in conjunction with the opening of the Contemporary Art Practice showcase. 

Featuring music by Chloe Langlois, Anita Marante & Pedro Tavares, Amelie Mckee & Melle Nieling, Alessandro Moroni, Nexcyia, Louise Ørsted Jensen, Kevin Siwoff, Luis Tapia, Effy Harle & Finbar Prior.

CAP Records was founded by Effy Harle and Alessandro Moroni in 2021.

Medium:

music and sound art, cassette

Read more

Mercurial Mist (print-at-home iteration) — Click Launch Project to start browsing a pile of images, writing and language from 34 Contemporary Art Practice students. Download the print-at-home version via the link above.

Mercurial Mist was conceived as the writing-strand of Everything Forever, March 2021, and was co-programmed and edited by Anita Marante, Effy Harle and Georgina Watson.

Across all iterations, Mercurial Mist remains a collaborative and de-hierarchised bringing together of text, images and language. First, the works were piled into the online blog (mercurialmist.tumblr.com), while a daily earmarked text appeared on the Everything Forever website before unfolding into a print-at-home iteration. Across all iterations each work took up the same amount of conceptual space, sitting next to each other, ready to be moved, scratched, folded, torn and rearranged. The formats required participation from the reader, inviting a sense of usership that took the act of reading further towards manipulation of language.

Medium:

publishing, text, writing
— I dedicate this song to the Tory government and RCA Vice-Chancellor Dr. Paul Thompson. @rca_ucu @pauseorpayuk @rca.action + Your next job could be in cyber. You just don’t know it yet. —

Tell me, Dr Paul T. is a protest song capturing the cultish side of art education, plagued by the insidious power of black-tied white-male politics. It was originally created for Reynaysonce Fayre — an evening of shambolic performances broadcast live — a framework synchronous with the politically charged antagonising spirit of the song.

The techno paganist aesthetic of the work takes inspiration from the subgenre of dark folk, while subverting the use of filters used on social media. Taking simple song structures and popular melodies, I give voice to collective frustrations through the humble form of protest song, high jacking familiar tunes to channel tongue-in-cheek commentary on the wrongdoings of vice-villains, towering political entities and menacing financial vampires.

The work takes on the legacy of RCA2020's Complaints Choir initiated by the Window Cleaner Society and takes cue from the work and methodologies of feminist collective F*Choir.


Tell me, Dr Paul T.

Protest Song to Hungarian Melody


Tell me, Dr Paul T.

Who is paying your fee?

Zoom your parents to ask

For your employee rights.

~

Student Finance England

How long will you post those

Statement letters to me?

They go in the compost.

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Might pay my rent in late.

Is your furlough pay low?

But remember, my dear

Your future is in cyber!

👽🌾💝

Medium:

protest song