Hannah O’Flynn’s work takes the form of books, performances, films, photographs, interventions and installations. Her practice is strongly indebted to writing, and is brought together by a recurring poetics of the absurd.
For the last years, Hannah has been developing work around the relationships of the human with the dominating systems of late capitalism and bureaucratic state control. This has been done through the lens of language as a mechanism for dominance over the possibilities of the human imaginary. Because of this, she has used her practice as an investigation into how to subvert languages of control so as to slip away from these hegemonies of power. Could the creation of new vocabularies, rather than the imposition of existing ones, allow for the imagination of an alternative reality to the one of the racist, patriarchal, capitalist nation state?
Most of her work contains a rather dry deadpan humour, which she has been using in the past to confront the absurdity of reality. In a failed search for the transcendental, her work slips into the existential, absurd or tragic meanderings. Boredom opens up in her work as a failed search for such transcendence, in a prolonged wait for the miraculous event to occur. The miraculous becomes something ungraspable, as once grasped it stops being so. Its essence is to stay beyond reality, always pursued, but never truly reached: an undefined presence that is all the more desired and longed for precisely because it is unknown and totally other. Untitled (Waiting Room), is a prime example of it: a waiting room designed to keep the audience waiting indefinitely (with a light elevator music playing in the background), with no purpose whatsoever.
The making of books is a relevant element in her work, as she often uses them as archives of the failures of her works or as registers of that which remains in the immaterial realm of the performative or the ephemeral. The poetics across her work swing between the abstract, the grandiose or existential and the completely insignificant or irrelevant. This means that often a kitsch aesthetic of consumerist culture appears side by side existential questions on the meaningless; or that one might enter giggling into a work to later face questions of structural violence.