Archived entries for

Something About Some Thing To Do With Paint

Past student of Art in the Contemporary World, Susan Connolly will present a series of new works which explore the physical qualities of paint extending our understanding of contemporary painting.

The Mac, Belfast
Sunken Gallery
9 May – 22 June 2014
Mon – Sun 10am to 7pm
Opening Thursday 8th 7-9pm

Painting as a mode of tactile production is designed to be consumed primarily with one’s sight; so at first glance these paintings appear to represent surfaces which have been flagrantly abused; their distorted supports, cut away paint, stained surfaces casually hung, placed onto armature like tragic trophies of some catastrophic event.

Yet it is a deliberate and what is actually a very delicate and systematic examination from within the canvas that informs and produces these critically engaged works. This is achieved by confronting the ‘problem’ with painting by incorporating its very destruction into the work itself.

These paintings mirror the scuffed, scratched, and beaten surfaces of living, they tell stories from within the processes of the painted history. By not being limited to the wall bound traditions associated with painting, questions of surface and support lead to answers of volume and the paints new status as an object, as they protrude and project into the viewer’s physical space.

Susan says of her practice “Most of my studio work comes from time spent looking; considering and questioning much of what I see, read or experience in relation to making objects. I think it is a very exciting time to be thinking about painting, with all the rhetoric of ‘death’ within the medium proving sheer nonsense again and again.”

Susan Connolly was born in Dublin, studied at Limerick School of Art and Design (BA, 1994-1998), The University of Ulster at Belfast (MFA, 2000-2002) and The National College of Art and Design (MA, 2011-2013).

Recent exhibitions include; Three Degrees of Painting, 2013 ‘Airport for Shadows’ at The Cross Gallery, Dublin, 2011 ‘Constellations’ at Visual, Carlow, 2011 and ‘Connections’ at Red/Rua, Dublin, 2010.

IMAGE: CYM, MYC, YCM, Acrylic paint, medium gel, pine stripwood, mirror, 2014

True Detection Symposium in association with Darklight Film Festival

29 April – 6-10pm
The Generator Bar, Smithfield Sq., Dublin

Aligning criminal detection and nihilistic terror, Nic Pizzolatto’s TV series True Detective saves the significance of detection from forensic positivism and restores its essential negativity (de-tect) to the immanent cosmic and existential horizon, that is, to the diurnal hell that is ‘you’. Against the anglo-historicist forensic norm of truth as something still there to be known, the crime show refreshingly advances the essential negativity of knowing, namely, the fact that truth is not an object of knowledge, but a swampy, lived matter of uncovering and exposure which perforce must stay open to its own most pessimal possibilities. The true detective, a secret friend of the irreligious saints of cosmic pessimism (Cioran, Ligotti, Thacker, et al.), is here one who entertains and contemplates the absolute worst. If he offers any salvation from evil, if he fulfills his duty to protect and to serve, it is at best in the name of the personally terrifying principle that there is no one to be saved.

This symposium, taking shape around the dark intellectual subtexts of this mass entertainment, and in the midst of not knowing how the story does or should end, seizes itself as an opportunity for spontaneous reflection upon the shared fate of crime, investigation, and cosmic horror. It offers, on the formal grounds of True Detective’s narrative double frame, a speculative detection of detection upon the precipices of the true abyss.


Daniel Colucciello Barber, “Affect Has No Story.”
Edia Connole, “Contemplating the Crucifixion: Cohle and Divine Gloom.”
Caoimhe Doyle & Katherine Foyle, “The Flat Devil Net: Mapping Quantum Narratives in True Detective.”
Paul J. Ennis, “Consciousness is an Error.”
Daniel Fitzpatrick, “True Dick . . . the Accelerated Acceptance and Premature Canonization of True Detective.”
Nicola Masciandaro, “I Am Not Supposed to Be Here: Sorrow, Birth, and Mystical Circumspection.”
Niall McCann, “‘This May Well Be Heaven, This Hell Smells the Same’: Dissecting True Detective’s Aesthetic through Burroughs, Passolini, and Tarr.”
Fintan Neylan, “Detecting Expiration’s Artifice: On Time’s Growing Frail Worlds.”
Scott Wilson, “The Nonsense of Detection: Truth between Science and the Real.”
Ben Woodard, “‘Nothing Grows in the Right Direction’: Scaling the Life of the Negative.”


Jonathan Mayhew / Lucy Stein / Andrew Vickery / Marcel Vidal

A site-specific exhibition at The Hacienda organised by Pádraic E. Moore

Open daily at The Hacienda, Arran St. East, Dublin 7
2nd May – 1st June 2014
8pm to closing
PREVIEW: Thursday 1st May at The Hacienda from 8pm to closing.

Although Luxury is a concept familiar to all, it is difficult to find a satisfactory definition for the word. The criteria of what constitutes luxury are extremely subjective; dictated by one’s desires, sense of identity, economic situation and moral bent. One person’s prerequisite is another’s extravagance. Yet, regardless of one’s definition – and whatever reason one has for seeking it – the intellectual or physical pleasure luxury provides can be vital. The artworks that comprise this site-specific exhibition offer a variety of views of luxury, and underscore that while it is not crucial to survival per se, it is still very much essential; a needless need.

Andrew Vickery’s paintings provide glimpses of interiors conceived and constructed by the reclusive King Ludwig II (1845-1886), remembered today via opulent fairytale castles constructed during his reign. Ludwig’s tragic existence epitomises the pursuit of luxury as a means of escape. He spent much of his reign sequestered inside extravagant environments decorated with murals depicting the legends upon which Wagner’s operas were based. The subject of one of Vickery’s paintings is The Venus Grotto at Linderhof Palace in Bavaria; an artificial water cave illuminated by a spectrum of electric light, through which Ludwig would drift in a golden shell-shaped gondola. While these kitsch constructions might be seen as excessive, they provided the fragile Ludwig with asylum. He once proclaimed, “It is essential to create such paradises, such poetical sanctuaries where one can forget for a while the dreadful age in which we live.”[1]

In contemporary society acquiring and consuming luxury is a major social activity requiring vast quantities of time, money, energy, creativity and technological innovation to sustain it. The economic cost of branded commodities doesn’t follow the logic of physical value – but permits participation in the illusion of exclusive glamour. Glimpses of this are seen in the works of Jonathan Mayhew, in which he juxtaposes (and occasionally obscures) the faces of superstars with various consumer goods, theatricalising commodities and their appearances. [2] These collages, part of an ongoing series entitled There is No Alternative, underscore how what was once termed ‘high culture’ is no longer intrinsically superior; nor is popular culture intrinsically ‘inferior’. Similar dualities are present in the two watercolors by Marcel Vidal: Raw Fillet and Grade D Diamond. In the context of this exhibition the coupling of precious gems with dead meat underscores how the procurement of certain luxuries often entails nefarious activities and can incur costs that are not merely monetary. Both Mayhew and Vidal’s work advance the idea that art has become an enduring and indispensable luxury commodity, first and foremost as a socially unique commodity, and secondarily as eternal art able to afford a transcendental aesthetic and intimate emotional experience.

Malapropism and word play are central to the work of Lucy Stein, and her poster On Heat exemplifies this. A photograph of her studio’s interior, photocopies of two historical artworks are prominent in it: The Egg by Odilon Redon (1840-1916) and a medieval image of St. Catherine. In the context of this exhibition, these two images symbolise polarised perspectives of luxury. St. Catherine is deified for subjecting herself to various methods of deprivation including self-scourging and prolonged starvation. Her ascetic piety exemplifies how abstinence and chastity are inextricably linked to morality. In contrast, Redon’s rotund egg is an image that exudes edible plenitude and physical gratification. Redon was one of several artists working in the late 19th century associated with the Decadent Movement. The Decadents produced art with no didactic purpose; for them, sensual gratification was fundamental and an end in itself.

The Hacienda is a renowned drinkery and its stuccoed saloon interior is a cardinal component of this exhibition. Works by the aforementioned artists are installed insouciantly alongside the curios and photographs that have been accumulated by the proprietor over the decades. For The Luxury Gap, the salon hang and superabundant atmosphere of this nocturnal haunt combine, creating a munificent gesamtkunstwerk. [3]

[1] Wilfrid Blunt, The Dream King: Ludwig II of Bavaria (New York: Viking Press, 1970), p. 143.

[2] Quote from keynote address by Donald Kuspit of a conference on Kunst und Kommerz held at the Swiss Institute for the Advanced Study of Art in Zürich, June 2010.

[3] In the mid-19th century, this term was popularised by Richard Wagner who applied it to mean the synthesis of all art forms into an all-encompassing and immersive work of art.

IMAGE: There is no Alternative,Jonathan Mayhew C-Print. 2014


Cliona Harmey
Preview: 6–8pm, Thursday 17th April 2014
Gallery hours: 12–6pm, Thursday–Saturday until 3rd May (not open Good Friday)

Referring to the lowest atmospheric layer and literally meaning “sphere of change”, the troposphere is the site of weather, turbulence and atmospheric transformation. Inspired by this mutability Troposphere is an exhibition of systems-based sculptural works that are concerned with spatial, broadcast and environmental phenomena (flight data, light, atmospheric pressure). The works exist at the intersection of sculpture, object hacking, diy/enthusiast electronics and live transmission. They look at inscription processes which combine natural and man-made systems. The main projection in the exhibition uses live-transmission information received from passing planes—combined with images of the sky—as a form of live electronic writing, updated each time another plane enters the range of the receiver. Other works take the form of simple material hacks where systems and objects are combined and reconfigured.

Cliona Harmey has been active as an artist since the mid ‘90s after completing a BA Sculpture at NCAD. In 1999—2000 she undertook a one-year residency at the now defunct Arthouse Multimedia Centre in Dublin, which was one of the first worldwide dedicated digital media spaces for artists. This started her on a process of working primarily with digital media, creating a series of video installations and a web projects. The work produced during that residency formed a major solo show at Arthouse entitled Sequent.

During 2009 she participated in Emobilart, the European Mobile Lab for Interactive artists, with collaborative works shown in Vienna and Thessaloniki. In 2010 she created a solo project for Unbuilding at Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, which looked at the legacy of the laying of the transatlantic cable, with works which were hybrids between remixed objects/sculptures and live data. Other exhibitions include: The Last Blue Sky, Mothers Tankstation, Dublin; Quantified Self, The Lab, Dublin; Last, Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; and Into the Light, The Model, Sligo.

Cliona is based in Dublin and is currently a Lecturer in Fine Art Media at the National College of Art & Design. Upcoming work includes a major commission for the ‘Interaction and the City’ strand of Dublin City Council’s public art programme. She is a current studio member at Pallas Projects Studios. Troposphere, commissioned by PP/S is one of an ongoing series of solo exhibition-projects by emerging and mid-career artists.

Events (see for dates and further information)

03/05/2014: In conversation – discussion with Francis Halsall (Lecturer, NCAD, MA Art in the Contemporary World), 3pm

03/05/2014: Closing Event – improvised music from David Donohoe (synthesizer), and David Lacey (drums), 6pm

20/5/2014: FILM SOCIALISME (Jean Luc Godard) – Experimental Film Club with IFI, selected by Cliona Harmey. 6.30pm

Godard takes an experimental approach to narrative, montage, screen text, editing and digital formats in this epic three part film. Starting on board the ill-fated cruise ship Concordia, and moving across multiple locations, Film Socialisme explores themes such as globalisation, history, war, culture, and circulation of capital (gold). The film has a strong engagement with cinema’s photographic legacy, the physical camera pparatus, and the play between still and moving image.

Troposphere is supported by Dublin City Council and through generous public support via Fund-It.


Artists and curators Talk
Wednesday April 9th 6pm

A discussion led by Levi Hanes with artists Clodagh Emoe, Felicity Clear and Ella de Burca. The discussion will explore ideas in the artist’s work, the themes in the exhibition and notions of humour in art.

The discussion will be followed by a short reading by Dr. Sarah Jane Scaife,
Artistic Director of Company SJ. Dr. Sarah Jane Scaife is renowned for her
extensive direction and staging of Samuel Beckett’s plays in various settings and scenarios and has presented lectures on his work worldwide.

Levi Hanes is an Irish Research Council Scholar at Huston School of Film and
Digital Media, National University Galway, Ireland researching comedy in
contemporary art for a practice-based PhD. Hanes is a practising artist based in Galway having completed his MFA from the Glasgow School of Art in 2008.

Please RSVP attendence to or 01-451 5860
before Wednesday, April 9th at 5pm.

IMAGE: Credit to Joseph Carr

At dawn we will stand in a circle, as the sun rises it will renew the souls of the pure

NCAD Gallery, 100 Thomas Street, Dublin 8
11th April – 15th May 2014

Open view Thursday April 10th 6-9pm
Performance: 7pm (running time 10-20 minutes)
Opening hours 1-5pm. Admission free.

At dawn we will stand in a circle, as the sun rises it will renew the souls of the pure, is a two-person exhibition bringing together artists Conor Mary Foy and Nicky Teegan. Within their practices, the artists’ draw thematically from dystopian sci-fi, outmoded technologies, occultism, ritual and fiction.

Conor Mary Foy works with video, live art, photography and sculptural intervention. His work originates with the kernel of an idea: for a single video shot, an object, or a mask from which a final artwork develops. A common element in his practice is the use of masked or hooded actors, beckoning static sculptural installations and objects to exist in relation to the figure or actor. Fiction is an overriding interest in his practice, although there is a strong suggestion of specific themes and inspiration, certainties towards this are never stated in his work, leaving it open to a multiplicity of interpretations.

In her practice, Nicky Teegan’s process is influenced by her interest in dystopian science fiction, Greek mythology and organised belief systems that relate to natural phenomena. Through repetitive methods such as weaving, drawing, sound looping, layering and photocopying she makes objects, drawings, installations, performances, videos and sound works. In a direct focus, she is concerned specifically with the collector’s fetishistic engagement with artefacts of material culture. This inspires her to subvert acquired objects and experiences by reconfiguring them, now reformed as artworks. In turn, these artworks, now formed as part of a collection, function in rituals and performances at a later date.

For this exhibition, the NCAD Gallery plays host to a reimaging of the artists previous collaborations. The gallery is a darkened space navigable by projection light which is in turn reflected off the textures of made sculptures and floor works. On the opening night, the two practices collide and converge in a live performance: employing several actors in a dramatic audio visual ritualistic enactment. To accompany the gallery pieces, both artists have each written a fictitious text as a central element, presented as printed matter for the audience to take away.

Exhibition Screening Event 5 -9pm, Friday 2nd May 2014
Location: Harry Clarke House Lecture Theatre, NCAD
An evening of screenings selected by the artists is programmed to complement the exhibition. They comprise a series of science fiction shorts and a main feature screening of the film ‘Logans Run’ directed by Michael Anderson.
Times and details will be confirmed closer to the screening date.

Biographical information

Conor Mary Foy is an artist based in Dublin. In 2013 he graduated from the National College of Art and Design in in Fine Art and is the current recipient of The Recent Graduate Studio Residency award at Temple Bar Gallery and Studios for 2014/2015. His recent solo exhibitions include, “Adiaphora” at Kevin Kavanagh Gallery Dublin and “Teratology” at Flatpack Gallery and Studios Dublin, in 2013. Recent group exhibitions and two person shows have included; “At Dawn we will stand in a circle holding hands…” with Nicky Teegan, at Tactic Cork (2013), ‘Numina’, ‘Observance Ur’, Crate Space, Margate (2013), Performance Night, Monster Truck, Dublin (2012), “Unit 1”, Dublin (2012).

Nicky Teegan lives and works between Ireland and London. She completed her MFA at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London and graduated from IADT, Dublin in Fine Art. Teegan’s solo exhibitions include “CozmicTransmissions ” at The Drawing Project, Dublin (October 2013) and “Star Gazing Lazer Cats” at Lewisham Arthouse, London (2013). She has exhibited in many group shows which include, “Studio, Tomorrow, buy me things like Machines” at East Street Arts Gallery, London 2014, “ At Dawn, we will stand in a circle holding hands” at Tactic, Cork (2013) “Signal”, Bold Tendencies, London, (2013), “Open Cube”, White Cube Masons Yard, (2013), Chelsea College of Art and Design Degree Exhibition (2012), “ Switch/Over”, Wimbledon Space, London (2012), “In Bang, Show, Out”, Pigeon Wing Gallery, London (2012), “Xamples”, Chelsea Space, London (2011), “Freedom to the City”, Rua Red, Dublin (2011), “Invite or Reject”, Chicago Loop Alliance, Chicago (2011)

IMAGE: By Nicky Teegan


The following text written by Barry Kehoe is reproduced here by kind permission of the Implicate Collaborative

MART Gallery, 190a Rathmines Road Lower, Dublin 6
3 – 20th October 2013

‘Implicated’ was the first exhibition of the Implicate Collaborative, an artists’ collaborative that is principally interested in investigating the boundaries of what is meant by the term privacy and how the public domain through changing relationships with new digital technologies, traditional media and the State intrudes and transgresses the boundaries of personal privacy. On the occasion of their first exhibition the curators and founders of the Implicate Collaborative, Jill French and Emily Bruton invited the following artists to take part in the exhibition: Fiona Chambers, Billy Ward, Lauren Brown, Jennifer Cunningham & Tim Acheson, all of whom explore aspects of the boundaries between privacy and the public domain in their work.

In a world where new media technology and the resulting interconnectivity is changing our relationship with the boundaries of what governs our understanding of private and public, the work of this artists’ collaborative is extremely prescient and topical. When we consider recent revelations on phone tapping and recordings of conversations in Garda Stations and the information being distributed by WikiLeaks, Edward Snowden, we can see that the possible intrusion of other individuals, private media companies or state authorities into our private lives is ever more immediate and probable. The ‘Implicated’ exhibition in the MART Gallery exposed the tenuous relationship between perceptions of privacy and the intrusive complicity of exhibition visitors. To engage with the artworks presented in the exhibition the visitor was invited to transgress these so called boundaries between privacy and the public domain as willing participants, viewers and voyeurs.

In the large front space of the MART gallery, formerly a garage for a fire engine, the London based artist Emily Bruton, presented an oil painting titled: I’m on a Twitter High (2013). The beautifully executed painting is an image derived from a twitter posting made by the country music celebrity Billy Ray Cyrus’ son Braison in hospital receiving treatment for a severe nose bleed that resulted from complications after a tonsillectomy. The peculiarity of this image arises from a consideration of why the Cyrus family thought nothing of tweeting this image. It is a private moment of their son’s treatment and by sharing it with the world they were inviting tens of thousands of people to view an intimate moment in the family’s private life. What attracted Bruton to this event was not just the sharing of the image but the idea behind its immediacy. The photo was shared in the public realm within a short time of being taken, but the photographic image itself, taken under medical spot lights, has the qualities of a baroque painting in the style of a Caravaggio. The visceral nature of the bloodied boy had a strange resemblance to the image of Cecco, Caravaggio’s boy model, and a bloody execution scene of the beheading of John the Baptist that Caravaggio had painted. The similarity between dramatic high Baroque chiaroscuro painting and the hastily snapped image led Bruton to explore this image through the slow and contemplative medium of paint. A process that resists the immediacy of the twitter shared image.

The second work that Emily Bruton included in the show was a piece titled Coverunder (2013). It is a recording she made using a hidden camera exploring the idea of surveillance, stalking and secret filming in public spaces in the mode of artists like Sophie Calle or Vito Acconci. Formally the work was placed in the gallery as a sculptural object. The recorded video footage was playing on a mobile phone placed in a small glass box on the floor. The image on the phone was framed by a black border on the screen and so appeared as a box within a box, within a box. To view the footage the visitor had to crouch down and become implicated in the voyeurism by physically having to make an effort to peer through strata and obstructions to see the video. In the process of following and documenting strangers in the street the artist, inadvertently during her pursuit, began to record her own feet as she secretly followed her targets. By accident the work became a self-reflexive pursuit in the mode of Edgar Allen Poe’s short story The Man of the Crowd. In this story a man sees a character standing apart from the crowd on the busy streets of London and decides to follow him, the literary irony of which is the suggestion that the man and his pursuer are in fact the same person. What is telling here, is that our obsession with others quite often tells us more about ourselves than those with whom we are obsessed.

Jill French had three works in the exhibition. In the main garage gallery space her first piece was titled: The Audio is On (2013). The work was presented as a sculpture and a sound piece. It consists of an under-lit digital audio recorder in playback mode on a low pedestal under perspex. The wall text beside the piece indicated that the recording was of a criminal investigation and implied that the recording was made illegally. Formally it works in the same way as Emily Bruton’s Coverunder (2013) as it also forces the viewer or listener into a complicit position. To engage with the work the listener must lean down to the readymade sculpture, almost pressing their ear against the perspex like an eavesdropper, to obtain any sort of sensible audio from the piece. Even then, the audio is not clear enough to be audible as a sensible stream of dialogue due to the overdubbing of a censorship tone designed to obscure the sensitive information contained on the audio file. Nothing is revealed by this recording except for the curiosity of those who engage with the work, thus revealing their willingness to transgress the law in the pursuit of their own curiosity.

Jill French’s Potential Intrusion I and Potential Intrusion II were to be found in the rear gallery and a smaller upstairs room respectively. Both of these photographic works are derived from a performance where the artist photographed houses through keyholes by either scouting empty houses or on occasion convincing homeowners to allow her to do so. Encountering the result of her investigations in the form of photographic prints in a gallery makes us complicit in some way with her performance that intentionally, intrusively and perhaps unethically transgressed the privacy of others. Strangely however there is very little information to be gleaned from the restricted field of vision through the keyhole leaving it up to the imagination to fill in the incomplete narrative presented by these tiny glimpses of domestic interiors. There is always the danger, however, that when we peer through the keyhole we may see something that may change us forever, and perhaps, not for the better. The difficulty with experiencing these forbidden images is that once we transgress we cannot undo what we have done, once we look we cannot un-look. What we see and experience changes us forever. But what has become even more peculiar in relation to this work is the willingness of participants to be secretly observed, becoming exhibitionist performers for a hidden voyeur. This highlights a phenomenon arising from the current world of social media where some feel the constant necessity to share every minute detail of their lives with the rest of the world.

There is something of this pedantic exposure of personal patterns of behaviour in the work of London based artist Fiona Chambers. Her work Groceries (2013) is part of a larger and ongoing project of personal logging and gathering of statistical information that explores the minutiae of the artist’s life. The work was inspired by the idea of the loyalty card system used by retail outlets to monitor the patterns of consumer purchasing for developing directed marketing strategies and streamlined stock control. Adapting the systems theories of Gregory Batson and Nicholas Luhmann, Chambers’ unusual observation in this logging process is that she has found herself, through the pattern of her grocery consumption, to fit the description of a typical woman of her demographic. It would appear that this form of systemic appraisal, now available through digital information processing, reduces human behaviours to simple coded binary functions. The resulting perception of the artist’s typicality is a product of the contingency by which all unnecessary information is excluded to satisfy the systemic gathering of information regarding her consumption of products. The unique way in which she may cook her vegetables is irrelevant to the system. The system only requires the binary function: she buys vegetables or she doesn’t buy vegetables, and so on.This systems view of a young artist’s patterns of behaviour is quite disturbing.The work was displayed formally as a beautifully printed book and as a projection of graphs and charts in a claustrophobic room upstairs in the gallery. The charts revealed the pattern of her consumption of groceries since April 2013.In reading the book and observing the charts there was a feeling of intruding upon the private information of another individual. However, we might ask, does the information become a screen behind which the actual person that generates this statistical information is hiding or is it a case, of the more frightening prospect, that there is nothing else, no complex human being, only the statistical log? The most terrifying thing presented here is that in accepting this systemic view of the world, as presented by this form of consumer loyalty card logging, it ultimately reduces choice and variation as it streamlines possibilities to satisfy the perfection of the system. The system reduces the human to nothing more than a function, an informatics communication, within an all-pervasive system.

Australian artist Lauren Brown’s piece …and jiggled to the beat in his black and blue tracksuit (2013) developed out of her fascination with the boundaries created between private and public space through the use of headphones and portable media devices that serve to isolate individuals in the private world created by their personal stereo when moving through shared social spaces. The work displayed various types of headphones mounted along a wall in the rear gallery that were accompanied by a touch pad that displayed a twitter feed linked to any post that made reference to the word “headphones.” The installation also included a facsimile of a courtroom drawing by Mike O’Donnell of John Dundon who, during sentencing at his trial for the murder of Shane Geoghegan, listened to music on his headphones for the duration of the proceedings. It was simply through the artist’s observation of twitter feeds and internet traffic regarding the word “headphones” that she became aware of the Dundon trial. This use of headphones is a perfect example of an individual using the technology of isolation to deny the intrusion of the powers of the state during the most extremely public moment of their own criminal trial. The work also highlights the incredible and constant stream of interconnectivity that social media can generate.

Billy Ward’s video work, The Falling Man (2013) is produced from edited CCTV footage that shows an accident where a man fell off of a railway station platform in front of a train just as it arrived at the station. In the video we see the man wobble back and forth balancing on the edge of the platform in a shocking dance of death. As he falls from the platform the train suddenly appears and runs over him. The footage has been heavily manipulated and presents the man’s peculiar motion on the brink of disaster as a comic and tense moment that turns to complete shock and horror as we watch him fall in front of the train. The original footage was taken from an incident that happened in a subway station in Stockholm when a man on his way home from a party fell from the platform and was knocked unconscious. In the original footage another man jumps onto the tracks and robs the unconscious man leaving him to be run over by the oncoming train. Luckily the man survived after having half of his foot amputated. In this case the artist has taken CCTV footage and manipulated it to heighten the tension and absurdity in the narrative. But it also reveals the unreliability of the image as an indexical sign or truth image. As in Emily Bruton’s phone footage and Jill French’s keyhole photographs, these views of reality mediated through a TV monitor, a telephone and keyhole photographs give a very limited perspective of the world. Billy wards framing, editing and manipulation of the video reminds us of the contemporary susceptibility in accepting the media image as truth. The Falling Man (2013) presents an image that like many others in this exhibition reflect Susan Sontag’s observation that “the camera’s rendering of reality must always hide more than it discloses…”

Jennifer Cunningham & Tim Acheson also limited the horizons of perspective through the use of a periscope in their collaborative piece Panopticon (2013) that is comprised of both a video projection and a sculptural element. They constructed a periscope, a device for observing an enemy from a defensive trench without being seen, through which we see a video projection. The video projection showed various views of the abandoned Cold War listening station Teufels¬berg, in Berlin. This was the main centre for the western powers surveil¬lance of the Soviet East, which surrounded West Berlin in all directions, thus making the listening post into a panopticon of sorts. A peculiarity of the panopticon, developed by Jeremy Bentham in the 18th century as a system for observing prison inmates without them knowing whether they are being observed or not, is that it places the observer in a position where they are surrounded on all sides by enmity and danger. As observed by W.G. Sebald in his book Austerlitz, when describing the fort at Breendonk in Belgium, we tend to build our defences where we are weakest in the belief that we are making ourselves stronger. However, in a peculiar act of irony we are inadvertently revealing our weakest points to our enemies. These derelict surveillance towers and radio transmission interceptors from the Cold War remind us that perhaps, like with Sebald’s observation of defensive architecture, the need to know the secrets of others, rather than making one stronger, reveals only weaknesses and insecurity.

The Implicate collaborative, in their desire to expand the audience for the Implicated exhibition that ran from the 3rd to the 20th of October in the MART gallery in Rathmines, organised a parallel discussion on Privacy in the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) that took place on the 11th of October at 6pm. The exhibition though it has closed in Dublin will continue on a later date in a venue in London. It yet remains to be seen, what further private boundaries we will be invited to transgress by this artists’ collaborative as they take their unique exploration of privacy and public curiosity on the road to appear in London sometime in the near future. Certainly with the most recent of revelations of alleged illegal recording of conversations in Garda stations the work of the Implicated Collaborative is resonating with a particular immediacy.

IMAGE: Potential Intrusion I Jill French

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