Michelle Hannah – ‘Ambition’ – Artist Q&A

12. Michelle Hannah 'BLACK CAT' film still 2013


On Saturday 9th July 2016, 6-9pm, Instigate Arts take over the main gallery space at HOME in Manchester to host our ‘Ambition’ pop-up exhibition. In this series of Q&A’s we get a little more insight into what makes some some of the participating artists tick. Here we speak with performance, video and sound artist Michelle Hannah:


Can you tell us about your practice?
There is a strong sense of subverted romanticism in my work. In the roles which image, sound and performance can be used as an outlet, to understand – in my own finite way- emerging technologies, cosmic pessimism and new ontologies of identity in a post digital, non concrete world. To capture the ‘dark matter of pop’ through a musical guise.I look to the artistry and social context of pop music past and present, new philosophy, science fiction, music videos and fashion magazines as my main sources of inspiration.

How does your work relate to the themes of Ambition?
Ambition is an abstract word for me that resides possibly in an unknown drive to create my work; with or without fame, money or exposure as I am interested in exploring the immanence of what is ‘human’ and how one could still exist in this liminal territory where these social constructs do not matter.

Do you think the themes of Ambition relate to the current political and social climate?
Ambition is tinged with Neoliberalism, in that the individual as a ‘brand’ and the path to ‘success’ is more valued than the collective. This has seeped into all fragments of politics and mainstream thinking. Ambition is mostly centred in consumption, promotion of the self and ultimately capitalism…in contrast to quote Derek Jarman:

“One can know the whole world without stirring abroad. Without looking out of the window…the further one goes, the less one knows.”

How important is the role of artists’, and the art world, in shaping both people’s lives, and the social and political landscape?
They are many types of artists and ‘art worlds’ of course. It depends on the social and political context/country the work is made, shown and where the artist is from or identifies as in some aspects. With the internet, social media and the democracy of technology, everyone is a creator in some sense in their own landscape now. But with the recent recession the life of an artist (taking myself as an example, one that is not part of the consumerist art world possibly) to adapt, to reject mainstream heteronormative ideals, to be autonomous and form your own futurity; to not be entirely seduced by excessive monetary needs is an outlook that could possibly benefit a fairer society.

For more information about Michelle Hannah visit her webpage and follow her on twitter.


See Michelle’s work alongside other participating artists at our Ambition pop-up exhibition:
Saturday 9th July 2016, 6-9pm
HOME, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, M15 4FN
This is a free event and everyone is welcome.



4. Michelle Hannah 'BLCK' (black dress, black trainers, black paint, black manga contact lenses, microphone, vocal pedal) 1 hour. Performance. Basic Mountain, Edinburgh. 2015


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