Ian Haig works across media, from video, sculpture, drawing, technology based media and installation. Haig’s practice refuses to accept that the low and the base level are devoid of value and cultural meaning. His body obsessed themes can be seen throughout a large body of work over the last twenty years. Previous works have looked to the contemporary media sphere and its relationship to the visceral body, the degenerative aspects of pervasive new technologies, to cultural forms of fanaticism and cults, to ideas of attraction and repulsion, body horror and the defamiliarisation of the human body.
ian haig
Night of the Living Hippy, 2012
kinetic sculpture
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'Night of the living hippy', is about the reanimation of the dead, the work references artist Paul Thek’s work from 1967, of the artist cast as a dead hippy in his prescient work 'The Tomb' (1967) (also known as 'Death of a Hippy'). My work reanimates the dead corpse of both the artist, the artwork and notion of the hippy brought back from the dead, some forty years later utilisng simple Arduino micro controllers and electronic servo motors.

The notion of bringing a hippy back to life plays on notions of transcendental states and past lives. Here technology is a catalyst, the spark in reanimating dead matter of the corpse. The fictional narrative of the work, sees the body of a dead artist, exhumed from the grave only to be reanimated into the present. Recalling Freud’s ideas of the uncanny of something that should of remained hidden from view, but instead has come to the surface, literally in this case.

The hippy, and their association with drugs like LSD gives us the bad trip, a kind of uncanny living death, where one is inside their body but out of it at the same time. To the Grateful dead and their legions of ‘dead head’ fans, following the band around the country like zombies, to the call of punks in the mid 70’s for the ‘death of the hippy’, and finally the notion of the ‘dirty hippy'; sees that the hippy is closer to dirt, closer to death. The perception of the hippy too was irrevocably changed with the Manson killings. No longer the benign peace loving drop-out but the hippy as embodiment of the sinister, brainwashed, anti social killer. The hippy as a cultural and social construction has become implicitly related to death, dying and the dead.

Finally, my resurrected zombie hippy also connects the idea of technology as the spark of uncanny reanimation to the idea that, for contemporary media and technology, nothing is truly dead, nothing is off limits, everything can be brought back to life, re- born, remixed, recombined, reconfigured and mashed up, including the corpse of a hippy artist from 1967. In many respects, contemporary media is the media of the undead, the half-life, the zombie. Like the hippy it is the new ‘natural’ state of existence in the world.

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