Misery Connoisseur (MC) is an artist group comprising of Rowena Harris, Michael Heilgemeir and Emma Hunt, as well as the title of the magazine that has been central to their practice.
MC deals with miseries – the desires, aspirations and fears of contemporary man in the face of ubiquitous consumer culture, the pervasiveness of imagery, the dictate of perpetual self-optimisation, as well as the constructedness of corresponding modes of visual communication/reception.
The work of MC can be seen both as an expanded editorial and curatorial practice concerned with building platforms, and as the production of their own artwork, with an intended blurring between these classifications. MC’s output spans video, design, photography and publications.
MC champions the format of the 'Artvert'. Within the context of Misery Connoisseur Magazine, MC combines the work of artists and writers along with their own creations - the Artverts. These mimic and subvert the commercial aesthetics, strategies and language associated with glossy lifestyle publications and the realm of branding. Stemming from the distributed magazine format this approach has been further expanded into events and online formats, where selected artists extend and develop their work, transposing their ideas from the printed page.
To date Misery Connoisseur issues 1 and 2 have been published in the form of a glossy magazine with support from the Arts Council England, along with an array of events, conversations, films and printed material.
The film Phil (2014 - currently available on the home page of this site), is a film by MC performed by Steven Levon Ounanian. Phil contemplates with horror, awe and delight, the increasingly pervasive reign of the screen and embraces the paradigm of sacrificing one's physical integrity in order to progress. Along the way Phil takes a sceptically amused look at the desires and fears of contemporary man in the face of ubiquitous start-up culture and the dilemma of perpetual self-branding as a precondition for multiplying one's cultural and social assets.
*Misery Connoisseur has been supported by public funding from the Arts Council England