This research, culturally contextualized in the practice of drawing as a fundamental human endeavor, is continuous with the time-honored practice of drawing from life and builds on the historical continuum of the field. The practice requires presence, connection, direct observation and LIVE TRANSMISSION. This work transcends arbitrary "oppositions" between abstract and figurative art, between purely gestural expression and documentary intent, resulting in narrative work which is not figurative.
LIVE TRANSMISSIONS render visible normally invisible or fleeting movement patterns through seismograph-like drawing done in real time. Trajectories inherent in human activity are carefully observed and drawn simultaneously with both hands. Following closely the intensity of each segment of an activity, the direction of the line as well as the quality of its intensity is transmitted. As a person makes a gentle movement, a delicate line is drawn. If the action tracked is forceful or violent, a correspondingly vigorous line is made.
The method developed requires close observation and actual drawing in real time with multiple razor-sharp pencils and both hands. Simultaneous to an action taking place, I draw methodically with multiple razor-sharp pencils and both hands, condensing movement into accumulations of graphite line which combine the controlled refinement of classical drawing with the sensuality of spontaneous gesture. Time-space coordinates for each drawing are recorded with precision, contextualizing each activity in a specific continuum and geographic place.
This work is done as far as possible without “thinking", without "interpreting." The dialectic between observer and participant, control versus relaxed participation coalesce to form the conceptual base for LIVE TRANSMISSIONS. Scale and physical limitations are determined by real-life expediency. In 2017 there exist approximately 4000 LIVE TRANSMISSION drawings done both privately and publicly on five continents. The TIME_SPACE coordinates for each drawing form the title which is written across the bottom edge of each drawing. LIVE TRANSMISSIONS communicate beyond the specificity of language.
Select videos featuring Morgan O'Hara
Documentary Handwriting the Constitution
O'HARA Performative Drawing for Phill Niblock's 88th Birthday October 2021
Morgan O'Hara Live Transmission 2013 - A MUST SEE!
DISCUSSION OF THE WORK
I have had very interesting conversations with people of all walks of life regarding my work. I have in some cases asked an individual to send me a short text with their thoughts, without any determined length or deadline. I have been fortunate to have these collected texts ready to use and have published several in the ENCYCLOPEDIA OF LIVE TRANSMISSION.
I am grateful to those who contributed their thinking to help me reflect on my work.