17 Days Video Series

Day 1 | Dave Ball
January 19, 2012, 12:17 am
Filed under: 17 Days (vol.5)

Interview with a House Plant is a re-enaction of a celebrated 1985 television interview between Melvyn Bragg and the painter Francis Bacon. I take on the role of Bragg, while Bacon is played by a house plant.

My work stages irrational behaviours, actions and thought-processes. Works often follow absurd logic (e.g. changing my t-shirt to match the colour of trains passing behind me), or enact absurd premises (e.g. spending 6 months visiting a museum in order to repeatedly look at the same painting – hoping that it might start providing some meaning to my life), or interact with the world in ways that are simply “wrong” (playing a game of table-tennis against nobody).

By playfully breaking certain rules and conventions in ways which might be understood as “irrational” or “absurd”, I investigate the implications of causing “minor-ruptures” to normality, aiming therefore to reveal something of the structure of sense itself.
I’m also interested in exploring the mechanics of humour as a tool with which boundaries of normality and sense can be transgressed. Even if only momentarily humour allows conventional thought patterns to be reconfigured, allowing access to potentially subversive realms of thought and action.

Interview with a House Plant – TRT 13:00 mins

Dave Ball (b. Swansea, UK, 1978) is an artist and writer based in Berlin. He holds an MA in Contemporary Art Theory from Goldsmiths College, London and a BA in Fine Art from the University of Derby, UK. Through his cross-disciplinary practice, Ball explores the notion of a “rupture of sense” at work in various modes of seeing, thinking and behaving, and particularly as it is manifested in humour. Recent works include an absurdist-existentialist video investigation into landscape “Being Somewhere”, and an ongoing drawing project “A to Z”, which aims to produce a drawing for every noun in the English dictionary, starting at “a”. A current curatorial project is “Ha Ha Road”, a humour-themed group exhibition showing at Oriel

Dave Ball – Berlin Germany



16 Comments so far
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I love the idea of creating a voice for what you may think an intelligent fern would sound like…

Comment by Brad

Nice to pay homage. Executed well and clever.

Comment by Kai Wright

I like that nature was portrayed as “optimistic.” I would be interested to see what else they house plant had to say.

Comment by Ashley

The humor of this was very apparent throughout the video. I could not help but chuckled. I am concerned, however, about the background noise and how it could be distracting.

Comment by Alvaro Enrique Hernandez Tomas


Comment by Alvaro Enrique Hernandez Tomas

I feel the humor helps you get over the fact that this is so absurd and question the rational of conventional thought.

Comment by Jeremy

Very Unique I have to say! I think the subtitles for the plant are a little too small and can be hard to read at some point. Good job overall!

Comment by Tushona M

It would be very interesting to hear what the fern actually sounds like. Thought the effect of allowing the viewer to create there own voice is still a good option.

Comment by Chris T.

I enjoy the whimsicality of the idea, however, I think that what the plant is “saying” at the end is obscured by a too-fast ending. Also, the sound quality was mildly distracting.

Comment by rosalee722

The use of a plant as a painter was a good way to deal with the idea of the absurd. I wish the plant had a voice to it, the captions for what the plant said didn’t stay up on the screen for very long. Lot of noise in the background.

Comment by ckmankey

I thought that this was a good way to encourage the viewer to maybe start looking critically at actions, like interviewing artists, that are just assumed as normal/routine. It also started to make me think about the structure and sequencing of interviews more closely. The background noise is distracting though like everyone else mentions.

Comment by Heather

The idea of interviewing a plant is absurd, but I like that idea because most of the time when artists are interviewed about their work, they are way too serious and sometimes need to look at the absurdities in life.

Comment by Chris Sopsich

I think this is such a quirky idea. who would have ever thought to interview a plant! but anyways I think you did a nice job, very clean a professional maybe some more outrageous questions with such an outrageous idea.

Comment by Jacquie Lyn Akre

This is a fun idea, although it seems very low tech. I’m not sure if that is the aesthetic that the artist wanted, but the background noise was distracting, and it sounded like in-camera sound recording, which is not how most people record interviews, but overall a fun video with an interesting concept.

Comment by Leo

i love how serious this video is, and at the same time serious about the comedic portion of the video. so clear and crisp, great setting, love the sound.

Comment by nolan

It’s funny and ironic. He does well with interacting with a common household plant, which makes this video work. The background static noise is a bit distracting, but overall its clever and witty!

Comment by Dani Mullen

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