In the studio: Dan Halter

Dan Halter

26 May 2020

Dan Halter, Corona virus, 2020 from THIS IS NO FANTASY on Vimeo.

Fill us in on what you are working on at the moment..

Before the isolation I was working on making with Photoshop pro on making bank notes out of text from certain key books. This involved working with layers of image and text and so that the end result is the entire text of a book that also looks like a bank note. We did this with RMB100 made out of The Communist Manifesto and with Z$100 Billion Agro-cheque made out of the Animal Farm.

During the lockdown, I have been investigating the idea of language as a virus as put forward by William S Burroughs and his trilogy of cut-up books that I plan to weave. I have also looked at Albert Camus book The Plague and Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of The Plague Year as possible woven works.

With the limited resources that I have at home (the lockdown is severe here, I cannot go to my studio) I have started a project with my partner. This involves her reading out the entire genetic sequence of the coronavirus DNA while I write it down. This is made up of 30 000 letters consisting of A,C,G and T which I transcribe using four different coloured crayons. This is labour-intensive and similar to my studio practise.

Being an artist is usually a solitary pursuit – do you have any tips for people who are new to WFH?

I like to work with different skilled people to realise most of my projects and am actually not the most solitary artist. I have found myself most alone on some foreign residencies. My tip would be to set out realistic goals and stick to them.

What are you watching, listening to, looking at …
A lot of news etc..

If there was one good thing that you hope to come out of this, what would it be?

I think that this is a chance for governments to create some kind of safety net for people. Hopefully Government’s role will be increased and Big Business’ role diminished and things get a bit more socialist and less capitalist.