One day placement as studio assistant at Haroon Mirza Studio
I undertook my placement at HRM199 studio, in London on the 29th of January, where I had the opportunity to spend a whole day in the studio with Haroon Mirza, his studio manager and his technician. Haroon is an artist that I have come to know this year through my researches on sound and installation art. After I went to see his solo show in Southampton “Waves and Forms”, inspired by his multi-channel sound and video installations, I started working more with these new medias in my own practice.
When I finally managed to get the placement on the one hand I was really excited about the opportunity of meeting the artist in his studio and see his process, but on the other hand I was worried I could not be much of a help because my skills were pretty limiting.
On the day of the placement, as soon as I arrived, Stephanie, the studio manager, introduced me to the studio spaces and the other people working there: Tom, the technician, Haroon and his wife Gaia. After she described her and Tom’s roles around the studio, she began to explain my first task. My job was to tidy up, divide and classify some equipment that had just arrived from the breakdown of a show in which Haroon took part.
At lunchtime I had the opportunity to discuss with Stephanie my own practice and then I had the chance to have a conversation with Haroon about some of the works displayed in the kitchen too. Later on, he also showed me a sculptural piece on which he had been working on.
After lunch I started to do archive and press related tasks, which is actually part of what a studio manager usually does. I was asked to label and chronologically organise all the magazines and newspaper in which Haroon had been mentioned. It was interesting to read how people talk about Haroon’s work, but I was especially curious about the interviews, where the artist himself describes his own practice and ideas.
In the afternoon I also had time to talk with Tom about some technical issues concerning my current practice. He showed me what kind of equipment I should start looking into; he briefly explained how it worked and what to use it for. He gave me some practical advice on my work too and then left me his email in case I had additional questions in the future or would need advice on something for my installations.
Finally, before I left, I had the chance to talk to the artist’s wife, Gaia, who has her studio next door.
I consider this placement a successful experience, useful for my own art practice particularly for all the practical and professional information acquired on how the art world function. It gave me a clearer idea on how the reality of an installation artist works and eventually what to expect for my future.
In the end I cannot say that this experience directly influenced my work but it surely opened a lot of new possibilities due to the new technologies I got introduced to and all the good advises that made me realise how the creation of an experience is actually what I want to focus on in my practice.