Thursday, August 19, 2010

5 Questions: Floating Laboratories Founder Kevin Harris

Posted By on Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 3:01 PM

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click to enlarge Harris - JOSH LEVI
  • Josh Levi
  • Harris

3. For every event that has been put on at Floating Laboratories, you have showcased your work. Serving not only as an art space, but a personal studio/think tank -- was this your intent? What is your focus musically/artistically, and what differentiates it from other disciplines that you are interested in? My immediate focus is on sound installation and composition, but I am also very interested in sculpture, video and circuit design at the moment. In the broadest sense, my focus has always been on providing people with the type of stimuli that can potentially change the way they perceive the world. This is what gives me a reason to make art - before decisions are made about media or content. From this perspective, there is no difference between building an object and playing piano. It is me trying to confront my own preconceptions, learn from this process, and somehow communicate it to others through art. There is a certain humility that comes from being impacted by something you don't quite understand. It is always my hope that once humbled by confusion, then acceptance, people will be more thoughtful in the way they approach other aspects of their lives, from relationships to social and political conflicts.

It is only when decisions need to be made with regard to technical aspects within respective disciplines that differences between these disciplines arise. For example, my approach to music and sound is very dependent on the emotional impact it has for a listener and only relates to cultural nuance in so far as technology and instrumentation is concerned. Visual art for me relies heavily on a certain language which tries to explain a specific condition of our culture. I also like bright colors.

4. As prices skyrocket in cities such as New York and San Francisco , artists have been fleeing to set up shop in more affordable cities (i.e. Baltimore , Detroit , and St. Louis ). As the operator of a fairly successful up-and-coming arts space, what words of inspiration/advice can you share on the issues of St. Louis and its available cheap spaces, enthusiasm towards grassroot ethics and blooming art/music community.

I love St. Louis, and I don't blame people for moving here. True, St Louis is cheap compared to other cities. However, what is cheap for one person is always unaffordable for someone else. This is the world we live in.

While I am no expert on issues of urban planning, I do know that I don't want to live in a city with Starbucks and Borders on every corner. Conversely, I don't want to live in a city dominated by fashionable coffee shops where everyone has the same "interesting" haircut.

5. As the founder of a community-oriented arts space, what are your plans for the future i.e. musically, artistically, curatorially? Who are you involved with and who would you like to work with?

I would like to work with someone who knows how to operate a giant crane.

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