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The HAT Project 2006/07 is supporting 20 exchange fellowships between England, South Asia and Australia

Johnny Magee

Residency at MIRIAD

My Five Day Residency at the Harley

Posted by Johnny Magee on 18th May 2008

image: 'Welbeck at Night'

I lived with Ramesh and Arvind who had travelled from Northern India. They (like me) were undertaking their residency at the Harley Gallery on the Welbeck Estate in rural Nottinghamshire. The image above is the view from my accommodation on the estate. The process of residency itself (rather than the artist's work) became the subject for my work.

You can watch the three films made during my 5 day residency at the Harley Gallery, April/May 2008 - just click on the image.

FIELD: (click on image to view)
The title, 'Field' is a reference to 'in the field'. The film looks at the terrain of study, which is intended to somehow represent a coming to terms with the unfamiliar. When one is outside of the familiar. The two artists are walking around their environment.... there are no other people, or cars. They are both dressed in clothes normally worn in their native environment.

FOUNDATION: (click on image to view)
The film is concerned with the ritual of preparation... i.e. the need to follow a process in order to proceed. The need for 'foundation'. The artist is applying 'cow dung' as a base layer prior to making a tribal painting.

LONGING: (click on image to view)
Intended as a melancholic piece, the film is about a longing for home - 'home sickness'. The camera examines the domestic living space. Its austerity and lack of personal objects accent the transitory nature of the space to highlight the emotions associated with being away.

Off to Delhi very soon

Posted by Johnny Magee on 20th March 2007

I've started packing my bag.... and am trying to work out how to get all my cameras, computers, hard drives and clothes into a 20kg allowance. I did look into buying an extra 10kg excess baggage.... mainly for my tripods (I have two, a normal looking one and a monopod) and after a flurry of phone calls, established this would cost £400... I can buy ten tripods in Delhi for that... and I'm feeling bad enough adding to the world's carbon... so will resort to a carboard box on a chair!

I'm Flying KLM from Manchester via Amsterdam

I'm going out a couple of days early to give Barney, Jeremy and Anupa a hand with the Exhibition. I am going to show some of my films - which started out as a set of six, but with the pressure of my other work, this has come down to three.... and may even be two. It will definitely be two as they are already made. I rather fancy making one of them during the flight, I've always wanted to edit on the 'fly' (sorry).

During the cHAT week, as well as taking part to tease out everyones ideas and thoughts... I plan to record the main speakers (using video), take lots of pictures and keep a 'LIVE UPDATE' going on the HAT web site. This is a new feature we have added just for cHAT week. So apologies in advance if I annoy any of you with my camera.

See you in Delhi!!

Warli Dance Film

Posted by Johnny Magee on 30th December 2006

A short film showing the Warli Dance which was beautifully performed for us when visiting the village of Ramesh Hingade can now be seen by clicking on the picture below

CLICK on image to see film
(QuickTime is required: Download a free player here)

The photograph above depicts dancers linking arms with a musician in the centre playing his mashak which is the bagpipe of India.

Smash & Grab

Posted by Johnny Magee on 23rd December 2006

I've been back in the UK for a week now, following my trip to India & Pakistan. While out there I took 1,700 photographs and shot two films, one with Tom in Ahmedabad, the other with Tabitha in Lahore. I was meant to shoot a third film with Peter & Pamela but this had to be postponed due to ill health…… and will hopefully be made in the UK in the new year. Lionel’s day at NID will be expressed through the still image.

(film still) Tabitha in 'The Crossing' . The camera positioned in the centre of the road.... "if you stay still all the traffic goes around you" says Tabitha...!! I like this metaphor!

All attempts to capture the raw material for my work are through brief snatches of time. This methodology is more akin to the paparazzi than the carefully considered musings of an artist. This is nobody’s fault but my own, and is born out of working in an international setting, where long distant travelling means all sorts of constraints, and somehow aligning visits (to very patient and cooperative artists) with sparks of creativity and insightfulness …all through the veil of jet lag.

(film still) Tom in 'Silver'. We hired two rickshaws to film this sequence.... a road movie in search of silver jewellery. (I like the connection with HAT Australia/UK).

All this material - the 1,700 photographs and the two hours of video footage - is an ‘over compensation’ for the fact that I can’t go back. Once edited…. it will become a couple of five minute films and only a handful of usable pictures.

Lionel does business: The man (centre image) cuts the plywood shapes (see image below) used to make up his latest design work.

The plywood pieces are assembled in layers to create the shape of the 'computer designed' form.

I’ve long since thrown off the shackles of veracity and photographic representation, allowing playfulness with my interpretation in post-production. It’s a modernist thing! And if I am in the work….. What I need to understand (as a documentation artist) are my own experiences of being displaced as a traveller outside of my country against those who travel into it! i.e. I have a reasonable sense what it’s like to be an Englishman in India, I have much greater difficulty with an Indian in England.


Posted by Johnny Magee on 4th December 2006

Steve Dixon and I arrived in Mumbai early yesterday morning and made the long taxi drive to our hotel in the Kalbadevi district of the city.

Marine Drive, Mumbai, with the famous Chowpatti beach in the far distance

Taking some time to adjust to the different energies of India, with some orientation, and realignment with time differences.

The familiar Cab of Mumbai, essential for getting around. Motorised rickshaws, are not allowed in the main city areas.

Mahbub in Bristol

Posted by Johnny Magee on 29th November 2006

Mahbub Rahman Pictured at UWE

Following on from an earlier visit by Jeremy......., Barney and I went to Bristol, and the Art Media & Design campus at the University of West England (UWE) to meet up with Mahbub. We met in the Ceramics Research Centre, where Mahbub is developing 'enameling' techniques. If you visit Mahbub's page.... (short here) you can see a 360º Panoramic image of the enameling studio. More images relating to this - coming soon.

Playing with VR Photography

Posted by Johnny Magee on 21st October 2006

IMAGE: this is one of 40 images which
make up the 360 degree VR.

I'm attempting to teach myself VR photography.... and I'm getting really interested in this as a way of showing workspaces.... and other environments. If you click on this link My Hallway in Manchester the VR should load up.... but you may need to have QuickTime on the computer you're using. I'm using a trial version of the VR software....... which is why it's got yellow writing all over it..... let me know if you can see it!! email

India/Pakistan Trip Confirmed

Posted by Johnny Magee on 21st October 2006

I'll be making my way over to India during early December... eventually making my way to Pakistan. I will be visiting all the artists currently undertaking their fellowships, and I'll have my cameras with me!!

New Banners Added

Posted by Johnny Magee on 3rd October 2006


IMAGE: one of the new Banner Images: Liverpool

12 New banners were added to the site today... bringing the total number of banner images to 93. The banners are part of the 'overall' documentation of the HAT project. The images were chosen to evoke a sense of 'travel', 'exploration', 'enquiry' and 'place'. The site has been designed to randomly load a new image each time your browser is launched. Images used for the banners are taken by myself when visiting South Asia, the UK and Australia. If you would like to send an image to be added to the Banners... email to

Updated images now includes 'Boulder'

Posted by Johnny Magee on 2nd October 2006

I've added some stills from my 2004 film Boulder. You can read more about it by clicking here You can also watch the film via this link: BOULDER (You will need QuickTime to view it)


New Images Added

Posted by Johnny Magee on 25th September 2006

Today, I've added some new images from my book 'On Dog Hair and Sand' which was my first large scale work.

I've also added some older pictures which link to my emerging thinking around Art, Representation and Photography during the early 1990's


Guide to using the Text Editor

Posted by Johnny Magee on 6th August 2006

Today I managed to finish the first GUIDE to using the HAT web site...... The Text Editor guide is a PDF download and steps through the various functions. The plan is to add the guide to each host page.

> by the way the Seagull Head is from an image taken near the TATE gallery in St. Ives, Cornwall.

HAT Australia/UK

Posted by Johnny Magee on 1st August 2006


IMAGE: The HAT Australia/UK Artists pictured in Manchester during CHAT week, July 2003.

HAT Australia took place beween 2002 and 2003 when 17 jewellers exchanged between England and Australia. We've archived the site, which shows examples of artists' work as well as other aspects of the project such as CHAT week and the HAT Exhibition. To see the archived site, please CLICK HERE Unlike the current HAT site, the Australia/UK site did not allow artists to upload their own data. All the information was collected and added through myself as documentation artist and web master.

New WEB developments
Early developments in the WEB meant that people could read ...but not contribute themselves to web sites. New tools such as those used on the current HAT site are now making it possible for the WEB to function as it was originally conceived as being 'interactive' through blogs, and uploads from the user end. The HAT Project operates accross many different countries on a global level, and these new web tools are a key component to establishing a 'global' community and archive.

Steve Dixon gets 'hooded' up!!

Posted by Johnny Magee on 26th July 2006

Popped around to Steve Dixon's Manchester home to make a short film reflecting on his visit to Adelaide, Australia. Hope to get editing soon. Stills above show his workshop and wearing a hood made in relation to early Australian prisoners. To see a few more stills click here

HAT Site went live today

Posted by Johnny Magee on 15th July 2006

After a major re-think and re--design the new HAT web site represents a major leap forward in Documentation and archive of international research work. The site enables each artist to keep a diary, and image bank so that they can share their developments before, during and following their fellowships.


Johnny Magee talks to conference during cHAT week at Sanskriti, Delhi, India. March 2007

Click on image to open QuickTime movie