Hannah Spector Artist Statement

My research and practice combines video, performance, printmaking, and installation to understand the body as an alternate archive. My work is grounded in theory and poetry—orienting me within a deep appreciation of language. I use language as a malleable tool to create what scholar Kara Keeling calls, “future poetry.” This kind of poetics is interested in the disruption of existing structures of communication in order to project a new future. Rooted in the disruption of gender norms, power systems within language, and limiting means of self-expression, future poetry pushes against a linear interpretation of time. 

My alternative archives exists mostly as multichannel video installations or live performance. I see the lens itself is an archivist. When I perform, the camera is an observer of archetypes and novel domestic cosmologies. I link new ideas within the mental image-repetoire of viewers, introducing unexpected connections between image, action, and text. The language of film is immersive, and becomes an archive in motion—able to see a body work through trauma, conflict, and discovery within a wordless space outside of paper based documentation. The video is an ephemeral, malleable document that both refuses and recreates the archive. As Bachelard says, a poet weaves the daydream down into reality. And in this fragmented society in which we live, I ask, what happens when the daydream is more sane than reality?

Hannah Spector Portfolio

“blue repeating”

Single channel video
Length: 6:38

A businessman goes to the desert, thinking of words like abundance, grit, determination, and perseverance.
Written, directed, shot, and edited by Hannah Spector. 
Mai Snow as “The Businessman.” 

Installation View @ Mass Gallery, Austin:

“the romance of seeking”
Multichannel video
Length: 5:32

Through re-enactments of pop poses, the performers' bodies create recognizable statues that could be transposed into films, yearbooks, or search engine results.
This never ending technological gaze finally finds its peace in a death ritual mirroring the retelling of spiritual leader Ramana Maharshi's enlightenment.
Exhibited in the larger group show, "circular score," this project is based off of the 1976 happening, "Three Evening on a Rotating Stage," curated by Jean Dupuy. 
I asked 3 other artists to use the rotating stage as a foundation for performance and subsequent multichannel video.
I curated, designed, and built this exhibition.
There were 4 total monitors, while only 3 are pictured below.

Installation View @ Colab Projects, Austin:

“oceanic feeling”
Multichannel Video
Length: 7:59

The video discusses the idea of spontaneous generation and eels—tying in the relationship of the pulsing ocean to our bodies and breath.

Installation View at The Visual Arts Center, Austin:

This multichannel installation is a digital tide-pool.
Viewers step up onto 3 levels of a wooden platform in order to look down onto the 4 screens. 

(Above) “most of the godesses are headless,” Artist book, silkscreen on BFK.

“ breakup with me”
Private interactive performance
(Below: Performance stills and script)

On February 14, 2020, I held 9 private performances inside Colab Projects (TX).
You could chose to breakup with me or have me breakup with you.
This performance was designed using protocols from live-action role play (LARPing), drama therapy, and family constellation.
The room was designed to create a metaphoric dreamscape. 
The room was filled with boxes, 200 eggs, and 100 cups of water of varying heights.

“suzanne (leonard cohen cover)”

Video performance
Length: 0:42

Installation View @ The Visual Arts Center, Austin:

“rattlesnake (the meaning of the word)”

Multichannel video
Length: 5:26

Installation View @ TedXUTAustin:

“listening to a candle speak”
Performance object

“love of the wolf”
Multichannel video
Length: 3:18

Based off of a 1998 Hélène Cixous essay, "Love of the Wolf," this video creates an image-repertoire discussing the nature of pain within love.
The repetitive, layered narration mimics the mental circularity present during the cycle of a relationship, as described by Cixous.
This work was originally installed as a multichannel video at Colab Projects (TX).
The single channel version was shown for the April 2020 STABLE Arts online exhibition, "not (yet) futura free."

“everything ends by coinciding”
Performance still

“circle of longing”

“the truth is dirt, its voice the noise of worms” (Video work in progress)
Video stills for multichannel video

11. Selected Works on paper
Dimensions Variable

Related writings on the work:

Rachel Urbano essay, “Hannah Spector,” 2020.

Sightlines Review for “TOOO”, 2021.

“Hannah Spector and Jacob Bailes, a collaboration,” 2016.