Ha Ha - Hiatus

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"ha" Hiatus: Right (Bespoke righthand VW van door panel.)
"ha" Hiatus: Left (Bespoke lefthand VW van door panel.)

Dibond. Aluminum hanging
Each approx 100cm x 76cm x 3mm

Dan Shipsides

This is a work which relates to Alfred Jarry’s amazing and beautiful book ‘Exploits and Opinions of Dr Faustroll, Pataphysician’ written in 1898 but published posthumously in 1911.

In it, Dr Faustroll’s side-kick Bosse-De-Nage, a dog faced baboon, speaks often but only ever says ‘Ha, Ha’. Chapter 29 generously elaborates some thoughts concerning the words ‘Ha’ ‘Ha’ where ideas connecting with time, space, duplicity and oppositionality are expanded and grounded in these sounds. Also relevant is that Faustroll and his side-kick (oh, and a bailiff who is chained to the oars...) travel through a strange archipelago in a ‘boat’ which is actually a sieve made of a material which repels water absorption, allowing it to skim just above the surface. It sounds absurd, and it is, but these ideas pre-figure many concepts that have since emerged from the world of physics.

So anyway, I needed to replace some damp wooden slide door panels in my VW van and so I decided to use dibond - a material which would not hold moisture and therefore would be a better material to use. My children and I love travelling in the van on adventures to the sea or the mountains and we love waking up in new places, sliding the doors open to the often (but sometimes not so...) fantastic views. So it seemed pertinent, and fun, to drill, with hundreds of holes, the words ‘ha’ ‘ha’, one for the left door and the other on the right door, to celebrate or mark the moment and to recognize the time and space we are in. It’s fun too because opening and closing the two slide-doors physically acts as the articulation of a reciprocal laugh. So, every time we open the doors we make life, art and laughter (see Dumal's 1933 essay on pataphysical laughter). My kids love and understand this, without the over-complications of theory – but they also understand time travel too.

This work was purchased for the Arts Council of Northern Ireland's collection in 2018.

Original languageEnglish
TypeContextual sculpture
Media of outputMixed media sculpture
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 6 Jun 2015


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