Hayley Harrison’s work examines our disconnection with ‘nature’ and each other – via discarded materials, text, performance and video. Through the rituals of making and performance she commiserates redundant packaging and honours ‘natural’ products, questioning the anthropocentric distinctions we make between the human and the non-human.
The work navigates home, as a shelter, a community and ancestry drawing from two perspectives: the anxiety of her childhood experiences of family and the refuge of nature, and the current world-wide anxiety of climate change and loss of community. She is interested in the implications of the language we use around ecology and our human-centric understanding of time.
Harrison uses the debris of consumerism (IKEA packaging, plastic bags, crisp packets) as a surface or container for art mediums or found organic materials (a cat whisker, clay found on a beach). These materials are collected from her natural environments: the streets around her studio in London, during rural walks, or the towpaths around her narrowboat on which she lives. In earnest, yet satirical protests these products are re-appropriated into unnatural artifacts, props, performances, or installations. These resulting artifacts and moments suggest ghostly topographies or unspoken existential conversations with the abandoned (both human-made and natural). As her relationship with each material develops, she reconfigures them into new, archetypal structures or objects in response to new spaces in which she exhibits or performs.
Harrison also works on collaborative projects with local communities – informed by themes within her practice.