Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Solstice post: Out with the Old; In with the New.

Transcript of second part (from 06:02):

'Anyway , that was older work.

In the past year, I have been commissioned by The Arts Council of Ireland to create new work using my typical approaches, for an exhibition which will open in September 2022, and may tour, and most likely there will be peripheral events and dissemination taking place beyond the institutional spaces.

The relationship between landscape and technology interests me. During residencies and periods in West Cork, I have been looking at the increasing, and dramatic presence of wind turbines, existing networks such as the road system, transportation, as well as the giving over of space for the purposes of sport for instance. For me technology incorporates not only the much talked about software, code, algorithms and apps, nor the ubiquitous new devices and computational network, but also the older and heavier, perhaps mundane machineries, and not only that, but also analogous bureaucratic codes and systems. All these are linked to each other, but some are the subject of critical conversations, whilst others are ignored and taken for granted.

One aspect of the new work I have been doing arises from the thought experiment, or entrepreneurial idea, if you like, that golf courses could be turned into, wind farms. The suggestion is that the changes would not only fit with environmental imperatives, but would make the game more interesting. Already there are traditional obstacles such as rough and bunkers; most courses will either have penalty areas, trees, bushes, or sometimes water, that present a challenge to the player. And, let us not forget, that in many countries there exists the sport of crazy golf.

I have been posting this proposal on TripAdvisor sites for golf courses, golf links and resorts around the world, together with mock-up images, to give an artist’s impression of what the new and improved game would look like.

Sometimes these proposals are removed, and in other cases they stick. Human gate keepers are clearly involved and perhaps algorithmic policing is a factor too. Google translate is useful for converting the text into the local language. Trump International Golf Course in Dubai, wrote back to me in Arabic thanking me for my visit and inviting me to come again soon. I’d been clear that the visit was a virtual and not real one - I’d looked at images of the course online and through maps - but perhaps that counts nowadays. I found another resort in the Amazon rainforest, or in what was once part of the Amazon rain forest, and posted the TurboGolf proposal there successfully, in Portuguese.

This is work in process, and as I say, just one aspect of the observations, interventions and interferences connected with technology in the landscape, in preparation for the exhibition at the West Cork Art Centre, or Uillinn, in 2022.

Links – and please excuse that pun - could be made with nineteenth century romantic-art concerns, and notions of the picturesque. Garden, park, and golf course design, employs methods such as prospect-refuge-theory which emerged then, and design principles such as Savannah-preference are relevant, as they were in the very successful children’s TV series, Teletubbies. Perhaps Golf is Teletubbies for adults, but I’d like to stress that in no way am I interested in mocking those who play the sport. The elitist connotations of golf may still be a factor, but women and working class people made claims on the game long ago, and the situation is different now. I see no reason why wind turbines, one on every green perhaps, would not make golf a more stimulating experience.'

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