Friday, July 23, 2021

Residency 2, Day 23: 'I refused to look at the audience. Rather, the gaze becomes inward.' - Yvonne Rainer

Ways of acquainting yourself with a new area. These have become warmup exercises now, wherever Mocksim goes:

A. Check out the local car parking system, and try to hack it in order to obtain traffic warden evidential photographs, presuming they capture those. This was the original project:
B. Try out the self-checkout machines to see, for example, whether it is possible to buy nothing, and be thanked for the effort. Experiment:
C. Order things online so that courier company point of delivery signatures (PODS) can be obtained:
D. Interrogate the area in Street View. Of course:
E. Watch the traffic, capture its sweet sounds, and photograph the drivers, trapped in their vehicles. Work in progress:
F. Find examples of photography at auctioneers, supermarkets, consider them as examples of fine art, and also wonder about their function. E.g.
G. Drive around in a 7-seater car with 6 others, each with their maps-apps on, spouting directions to the same location. See

On this residency, and also the 2019 one, many of these were tried out.

G has not been attempted due to Covid and because the borrowed car is currently broken but I could attempt a version on foot maybe. Naaaa, bad idea.

As for B, back in 2019 there were no self-checkout machines in Skibbereen. This time round I have interacted with the two beauties now installed in SuperValu. Podcaster Gavin at Uillinn, or someone else had already given me the heads-up that these 'robots stealing peoples' jobs' were present. Also some work was done with the machines in Bantry SuperValu. I need to listen again to the recordings made, but the machine accents sounded different in each town. Is that possible: maybe it was just my imagination? Both probably simulate a kind of Dublinese or RTE-English. Whilst customers can buy nothing the experience is not too satisfactory because the machines are not effusive enough. The ones in London a few years back would really go for it and 'thank you for shopping at Sainsbury's' etc. Plus, the old machines produced a receipt as proof of the zero transaction. How beautiful is that! The discovery was definitely a highpoint of the past two-decades. Here's a 50 second tutorial: The giltches have been removed now and, at the risk of sounding egotistical, I'd like to think that my repeated interventions played a role in improving the functionality. Speculatively, because a copy of some of the outputs ( was sent to Alex Sainsbury, the artist in the famous family, he got on the blower to the serious business side of their empire. Thanks and compensation for this, consultancy work if you like, has not been forthcoming. Perhaps an invoice or pushy letter is in order.

PS: for the record I would not do something so anti-social as to carry out these self-checkout actions if there were a queue behind me. (Not my style, though I do have penchant for Viennese Actionism.)

Re. A above, as it happened, whilst in Cork city last week, wandering around with John Halpin - we did this as 12-year olds too and for a few years after that, whilst going to and from Mrs Scannell's famous oil painting classes at La Verna - I did stumble across two traffic warden's in action, one apparently a trainee. Needless to say it would have bee impossible to allow such an opportunity to pass. I am pretty sure I managed to manoeuvre my way into their evidential photographs. Not only that, but all the information necessary to pay the fine and hopefully, obtain the warden's contravention images, was visible on front of the ticket so that it could simply be recorded (via mobile phone pic). Usually, in other local authority or corporation areas, the tickets are opaque now, and there were no warnings either on this one, against tampering with the ticket as there often are. So the activity seemed legit. Unfortunately when I logged on to the Cork city system, and went to download the images, none were presented there. In the past it was possible to download these easily (and without paying the fine). Perhaps they only use them in case of a dispute here. Too right btw. As a one off, and in case that would lead to the photos, those juicy, time-stamped, low-res JPGs, I decided to pay the person's fine. An act of generosity let's call it, a public service, or maybe a stupid waste of money. I won't be making a habit of paying other peoples' fines but possibly something interesting will come of this. Will the system be able to cope with an anonymous other paying a parking fine? The boring answer is probably yes. How will the person who is meant to pay it react? The boring answer is that they probably won't puzzle over it but presume the system is faulty and that they got lucky. Others invest in their expensive pigments, oil paint, canvas and rat-hair brushes, and most of these characters still produce numerous works that nobody wants. I see the €40 spent in a similar way, or maybe it will prove even more worthwhile, as an investment into my practice.

Some snippets from last night's auditory voyeurism and note taking, on the campsite, connected with 1. young dog ownership, 2. home locations and 3. tents:

'You're lucky: at least she does swim.'
'Wouldn't go near the water.'
'I think it was because he didn't see it for the first year.'
'This one is very good with the kids as well.'
'Will she fetch for you?'
'She's not bad.'
'She's very good for a young pup.'

'We live in Clare.'
'I'm semi-retired now.'
'They moved it to Tullamore.'
'Brittas Woods.'
'I'm originally from Ardmore in Waterford.'

We had one at one stage, oh absolutely beautiful, a big one.'

Once again the €24 spent on the Lidl tent is paying dividends, worthwhile expenditure on a practice that never stops.

My, perhaps paranoid, suspicion is that these camping neighbours think it is weird that I am not engaging in conversations so easily with them. They appear to be very nice people but I am keen to be left alone reading the current novel, working on some diagrams, and ordering my thoughts. The thing that is actually weird is me jotting down their conversations. Soz. Does GDPR cover that?

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