Mark Harris

Inside Artists' Heads

Video Still, "Marijuana In The U.K." Mark Walker, Cameraman

In the summer of 2006, Mark Harris, director of UC's School of Art, documented six Chinese Rock bands at a Beijing concert he co-organized. The resulting video, paper cutouts and photographs explore the imagery of intoxication and utopian ideals. The following are five things that inspired Harris' "Utopian-Bands and Related Works," on view at the Weston Art Gallery through March 30.

Ideas about intoxication are really the concepts that drive my research. Intoxication is exhilaration with the world around us. No drugs necessary. In fact the Surrealists, intoxicated artists of the first order, felt that the richest intoxication was the unaided one.

So to the great Surrealist text of intoxication, Louis Aragon's Paris Peasant, his 1920s infectious and irreverent inventory of an arcade that was about to be bulldozed. Is there a better book about living in the city? Realistic, fantastic, rule-less, cruel, empathetic, sexist, sexy.

Gilles Deleuze's One Thousand Plateaus is a toolbox of intoxication to test all rules constraining thought. I remember the vertiginous and baffling feeling of encountering these destabilizing ideas for the first time — philosophy as the greatest drug of all.

Most music at one time or another. The strongest evidence of utopian realities, if only life could imitate art. 1968: Soft Machine; 1977: Punk, Al Green, Disco; 1980: Stockhausen and Lutoslawki; 1983: Rossini; 1984: Beny Moré; 2008: Chinese Rock & Roll.

Conversations in bars, in movie lines, at openings, in clubs, on the street, where ideas are born, worked through, discarded, revived, circulated. You never think that well on your own. The most productive thinking comes from exchanges with others.

ARTICULATIONS offers things important to one of Cincinnati's visual artists.

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