Harvey Loves Harvey is certainly not the first artistic approach to communication, and there is a very long history of the failures of language in academia, literature, theatre and cinema. One of our favorites is Abbott and Costello’s classic “Who’s On First?” comedy routine.
For W.O.F.?, we decided to use this routine as the ideal form of collaboration, and as a great example of the study of language and its failings. Using the same media we employ for our other projects, Harvey Loves Harvey recreated the classic routine with Mr. Dean in Brooklyn and Mr. Nash in Boston. The routine itself was treated as a ‘bible,’ and unaltered by the artists.
The project consists of three parts:
1. A book that documents nearly two months of emails, in which Harvey Loves Harvey perform the entire routine. Every email is printed in the book, including messages involving mistakes made by one artist or the other, and several incidents of backtracking.
2. A CD of audio recordings made over the phone, in which Harvey Loves Harvey perform the “Who’s On First?” routine. Four recordings were made:
a. Both artists worked from the script
b. Mr. Nash was unscripted, while Mr. Dean worked from the script
c. Mr. Dean was unscripted, while Mr. Nash worked from the script
d. Neither artist worked from the script
3. A photograph was made of Harvey Loves Harvey in the classic pose of Abbott and Costello from the “Who’s On First?” promotional material.