Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Residency 4, Day 29: 'Our life is half natural and half technological. Half-and-half is good.' - Nam June Paik

More information about the show
Photo Credit: Sam Sung
MOG says: 'I was thinking about the most common approach to discussing another person's art work or similar, whether in pedagogical settings or not. Though it would be hard to avoid the practice completely, there are issues with it. Say, you have been asked to give feedback or critique someone else's creations or findings. Related phenomena include too-quickly linking to contextual examples you happen to know, or citing thinkers of unlikely relevance, but the main irritating habit is to make, not one, but numerous suggestions to the other person, as to what they might do, or could do, or should do. At a certain level there is value in a modicum of this, and if ideas are provided less formally, and with people not caught up in the art-game, that can be wonderful, but, too much of it is not fruitful, not helpful, and arguably even (passively) aggressive. 'Showing off' one's apparent creative abilities in order to help out, surely arises from a kind of insecurity. It is bad in educational settings, with pupils or students, and it is bad with peers. Even when, and maybe especially when, ideas and concrete tips are sought - students sometimes want to be told what to do for example - vigilance is advisable. Work can be discussed without making numerous mini-proposals or egging someone on in a direction of your own interest. Resisting this urge, results in a finer creative and intellectual challenge and is more useful to the other party. Or new lines of inquiry might arise organically out of the dialogue, as opposed to being prescribed by one party. The over-giving of ideas, ironically, often merely closes off possibilities for the receiver because, if they were to carry out those actions, then the work would not be theirs. Of course, as I think about this, it seems obvious that a highly interesting strategy could be to operate in yes-clown mode and appropriate all concepts, ideas, and practical suggestions made by these keener than keen, sometimes patronising, creative-boss-people. "You could do this", or "You could do that", or "Have you thought of this?" "Thank you, thank you, thank you..."'

I'm gone! Four residencies completed. The System Interference Exhibition will open on Saturday 17th September. Professor of Digital Humanities and Director of Cambridge Digital Humanities, the brilliant Caroline Bassett, and I will converse live at 2pm, right here

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Residency 4, Day 28: 'There is no standard culture or artistic language, there are only dialects.' - J. Ardle McArdle

Curation or no curation, whatever that means. Went over to see the Fragments in Constellation people and found set-up in full flow. Looks like something special emerging there.

And I, former FCA man, 'Private O'Connell M, 1015445', have boxed up a post-conceptual art exhibition today: 

Monday, July 18, 2022

Residency 4, Day 27: 1. 'I don’t stop when I’m tired, I only stop when I’m done.' - Marilyn Monroe

 Time to pack up.

Stupid Plugs instructions:

For some reason each morning, for the cycle to work, on both sequences of electronic timers/adaptors, it is necessary to press the MANUAL button (up to) 4 times on each of the four electronic timers, so that ON appears and then it is switched back to AUTO, starting with the one nearest the socket, in sequence. Does that make sense? I need to return to re-write these instructions or make a video tutorial/explanation.

Solved the problem (later) I think. I need to re-programme the Stupid Plugs as follows:


Sunday, July 17, 2022

Residency 4, Day 26: 'We need more... elitism before we fall further victim to the cult of self-congratulation and the feel good factor.' - Emer O'Kelly

Though I am not one-hundred percent sure how I feel about the quote above, nor the article it came from, written by Emer O'Kelly a decade and a half ago, it does deal with an important subject. Of course it is right to defend elitism, other than material/power elitism that is, i.e. some people being stupendously wealthy and powerful, whilst a fraction starve, many live in poverty, and most conduct their lives in precarious insecurity. But if a road bowler, say, has committed to their sport, and is measurably better at it than others, and knows their stuff, that's something to admire, and look up to even, right? The interests and achievements of a few are a) not an insult to those who don't play the game, nor b) necessarily aimed at humiliating those who are less good at it. And, who would not want to deny the pleasure, once-removed, of seeing another human being, impress by throwing a 28 ounce cannonball down a winding road, precisely, and at great speed, in the way those experts do?

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Residency 4, Day 25: 'My work, at its core, is about managing the vulnerability, awkwardness and discomfort of being alive. ' - Kara Hearn

Well, that was a busy day. As luck would have it in the final few days before this residency ends, the latest show at Uillinn was taken down, and a new one is not going up until Monday, so I was able to try out the galleries and spaces, and bring in battery-powered wind turbines, inflatable large ones, the 12ft (3.66m) high print I have just had made (in three sections) and more.

It occurred to me that the large print which is a photo of a packaged wind turbine toy (see, the packaged wind turbine toy itself (, and a stamp sized version produced for that ABC project ( would work well together as a triptych.

The idea got me thinking of the famous scene from Father Ted when Ted is trying to explain the basics of perspective to Dougal: Ted uses the example of real cows which are far away by comparison with a small toy cow which is close. Interestingly there are cows in the toy image too and the large one was produced so that the head of the apparently closer beast would be correctly cow-sized. The wisdom of the series Father Ted was partly due to its perfect appropriateness for the moment in history it was produced in, but also in other ways. So, for example, with photography, video, TV and cinema, human propensities are exploited via the tricks of perspective. It is easy to believe that certain figures represented may be far away, and others close, but screens and prints are two dimensional, flat items. Representations on the picture plane are all the same distance from the eye. So in that sense the majority are stupid and Dougal's puzzlement opens avenues to important overlooked truths. Off you go now to read Panofsky's Perspective as Symbolic

The great Kara Hearn appeared today at Uillinn with her family, the intrepid Bill and thoughtful Walter, all the way from New York. It was very pleasing to get together face-to-face, having had to collaborate remotely back in January and February:

Friday, July 15, 2022

Residency 4, Day 24: 'Elitist art for everyone!' - Antoine Vitez

Holy shit: everything is coming together here, in and around Studio 3:

I was thinking earlier about Institutional Critique, and not only about how necessary the set of approaches was. Maybe a degree of it is always important, years ago I co-ran an event called 'Bite the Hand that Feeds you', but is an apparent fingers-up to all institutions to be trusted really? And hasn't much of what was worth doing already been done. It is interesting too to defend and embrace institutions? On a nuts-and-bolts level, what is wrong with a plinth? Answer me that? Speaking of which, four will be produced for the September opening. In the end it feels better than resorting to upturned recycling bins. I want to bend the stick back towards tradition a fraction, and incorporate some of the paraphernalia associated with gallery exhibiting.

Also I want to credit the numerous firms who have helped. (Football and sports programmes often did, and still do, this. Am thinking of those heady days, trying to help organise the Blarney Three Day - which included creating drawings for the daily general classification, a rudimentary photocopied publication - whilst simultaneously racing in it.) Here's the list so far, maybe missing some:
  • Leslie Roycroft and Sons Garage (used car, delivery and setup)
  • Barry Brothers Builders Merchants (the pipes, the pipes...)
  • Thornhill Electrical (site of numerous experiments and workshops)
  • Kavanaghs Toys, Wexford (battery powered wind turbines)
  • TechSilver (motion activated audio devices)
  • Imagine Inflatables (inflatables)
  • Earthmill Maintenance (for ?)
  • Drinagh Pharmacy (my photography printers)
  • Digital Printing Ireland (post-cards)
  • Carbery Road Bowling (they'll run a workshop)
  • Countryside Sports (road bowling balls)
  • Designs and Signs, Bantry (large print on corra)
  • O'Reilly Couriers Goleen (print transport)
  • Blackwater Motors (car rental)
  • Bally Bia Restaurant (formerly a petrol station)
  • Your Surprise .ie (hi-vis jackets)
  • Skibbereen Tool Hire, Stephen Redmond (fencing for car)
  • Blueprints Express, Galway (A0 prints)
  • Hideaway Camping (I spent a lot of time here)
  • The Ludgate Hub (Very useful in fact)
and others...

Friday, July 8, 2022

Residency 4, Day 17: 'The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.' - Hans Hofmann (mathematician etc.)

What an interesting day, working with WE ARE HERE, a group of curator-teacher-artists, who also skydived into discussions about the Highlanes space with Aoife Ruane, saw elements of, and gave thoughts on, the System Interference work, and, finally, showed their own work.

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Residency 4, Day 16: 'With monologue and voice-over you can give anything a voice, even a stone or a piece of seaweed.' - Orla Barry

A busy, stimulating day, to begin with discussing much with Catherine Bowe in Wexford,then crossing the country diagonally via Kilkenny, stopping along the way for further video calls, to eventually pick up a box of work in Galway, right where we used to swim, and where dad was a kind of lifeguard, and the skin and blister Cecily used to boldly jumped from the top of Blackrock diving board, no problem.And then back in the Drogheda direction

Monday, July 4, 2022

Residency 4, Day 13: 'Good taste is as tiring as good company.' - Francis Picabia

Whilst today was productive, there is much to be done. Was in the company of seemingly relaxed genius Stephen Canty for whom most challenges are easily and efficiently overcome. Spoke to Philosopher of Aesthetics John Roberts about some exciting writing he is doing. More about that in due course. The brilliance and faultiness of Flann O'Brien was given attention. His writing, like so manys', missed out on the existence of women. Had an exchange with Caroline Bassett who has just published Anti-Computing (dissent against the machine): Discussed #mondaysimage with artist Lisa Blas: A road-trip to Waterford, Wexford (Arts Centre), Clara Co. Offaly, Galway, Drogheda (Highlanes Gallery), and back down to Skibbereen is planned, with workshops and discussions and pickups and house-checks and more on route. Whilst today was productive, there is much to be done.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Residency 4, Day 12: 'The title... is another colour on the artist's palette.' - Marcel Duchamp

        Title or Working Title         Year         Likely Gallery Location
  1. Go Find Yourself                    2022 Reception area
  2. Insecurity Camera Dance 2021 Reception area
  3. Irish Sigs (More PODS)        2019 Reception area
  4. Soi-veillance                        2021 Reception area
  5. Uillinn Pipes                         2022 Gallery 1 (low)
  6. Typical Cross Section      2022 Gallery 1 (low)
  7. Array                                2022 Gallery 1 (low)
  8. Boring 2 (Drive-by)                2021 Gallery 1 (low)
  9. Inflatable Wind Turbines 2021 Gallery 2 (high)
  10. Stupid Plugs                          2022 Gallery 2 (high)
  11. Battery Powered Wind Farm 2022 Gallery 2 (high)
  12. #camponagolfcourse Tent 2021 Gallery 2 (high)
  13. #camponagolfcourse Poster 2021 Gallery 2 (high)
  14. You are Trespassing               2021 Gallery 2 (high)
  15. Turbogolf Proposal               2022 Gallery 2 (high)
  16. Autofocus Feedback Loop 2021 Gallery 2 (high)
  17. Insecurity Guards               2021 Gallery 2 (high)
  18. Immersive Interactive Installation 2021 Gallery Lift
  19. Signage 1                             2022 Gallery Lift
  20. Insurance                             2021 Stairs/hall spaces Right side of Uillinn
  21. Turbine Kick                           2020 Stairs/hall spaces Right side of Uillinn
  22. Battery Power                        2021 Mezzanine
  23. Solar Power                            2021 Mezzanine
  24. Wind Power                            2022 Mezzanine
  25. Hand Power                            2022 Mezzanine
  26. Making Wind                         2019 Mezzanine
  27. Dutch Stamp                          2020 Mezzanine
  28. Turbogolfing Real               2021 Stairs/hall spaces Left side of Uillinn
  29. Turbogolfing                          2019 Stairs/hall spaces Left side of Uillinn
  30. Turbogolfing Still               2021 Stairs/hall spaces Left side of Uillinn
  31. Signage 2                             2022 Toilet opposite Studio 1
  32. Reserection (Easter Rising) 2022 Toilet opposite Studio 1
  33. Spare Balls                             2021 Toilet opposite Studio 1
  34. This is Not a Ball on a Pipe 2021 Toilet opposite Studio 1
  35. Killed Negative                       2021 Outside Uillinn
  36. Loading Bay, and the rest... 2022 Online

Friday, July 1, 2022

Residency 4, Day 10: 'There is no problem, because there is no solution.' - Shigeko Kubota

My father and Flann O'Brien's brother, artist Micheál Ó Nualláin, worked together. The two connected in their scepticism towards the first inklings of neoliberalism, which presented itself in the form of an alien new concept in the civil service, 'the deadline'. Ó Nualláin was fond of my dad because he had stood by him during attempts to nudge him out of a role (or sack him I think). In gratitude, when Ó Nualláin retired, he gave my dad this illustration which I have in my studio:

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Residency 4, Day 8: 'AI will be responsible for reducing [car accidents] one of the leading causes of death in the world.' - Mark Zuckerberg

Robot artists Carolin Liebl and Nikolas Schmid-Pfähler sent some pictures from the studio visit they made a month or so ago, with the pleasing message, 'we found some pictures of the studio visit at your place in Skibbereen. What a great moment :)'. I don't think I'll bother posting them or sharing them yet. A hell of a lot is happening. Rather than share everything here in advance, I'll encourage people to turn up on Saturday, 17th September at 2pm, for the opening event. This though, begs the question, about what to post about (here). Maybe the issue of 'craft' is worth mentioning (again!!!)?

My craft is in striving to not make (or craft) anything. In other words, the extent to which I find myself making or crafting something is the extent to which I have failed. And, believe me, it takes huge effort not to make anything.

Thinking about those 'sky dancers' with blowers and the possibility of having one outside the art centre, on the roof of the connected café, during the exhibition, there are so many things to consider. Intuition says there's something wrong with the idea of having one at all. A word GIMMICK positioned on the side of it, might, 'em, 'work'. ('It works', another on of those problematic phrases often thrown about long ago.) That would be funny (-ish), but then how does a 'whacky dancer' contribute or somehow connect to the general themes? Maybe text like WIND POWER, or WIND ENERGY would be better. Then again having text printed on the side constitutes designing and that's against the principle just discussed. To do it properly would involve searching until some whacky sky dancer jumps out, so to speak, and seems appropriate to the show. I can't imagine what that would look like. It might take months to find. There might be nothing out there. Besides, words like mad, crazy, whacky or complex undermine the intentionality too. These are stresses and strains in Mocksim's life.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Residency 4, Day 6: 'The possibility of a thinking machine and the actuality of the human agent should be exposed as a false dichotomy.' - Reza Negarestani

Been brewing titles for the upcoming show:
  1. Find Yourself - 2022
  2. Insecurity Camera Dance -2021
  3. Irish Signatures (More PODS) - 2019
  4. Soi-veillance - 2022
  5. Uillinn Pipes - 2022
  6. Typical Cross Section - 2021
  7. Array - 2021
  8. Insurance - 2021
  9. Boring 2 (Drive-by) - 2022
  10. Inflatable Wind Turbines - 2022
  11. Stupid Plugs - 2022
  12. Battery Powered Wind Farm - 2022
  13. #camponagolfcourse Tent - 2022
  14. #camponagolfcourse Poster - 2022
  15. You are Trespassing - 2022
  16. Insecurity Guards - 2022
  17. Immersive Interactive Installation - 2021
  18. Signage 2 - 2022
  19. Battery Power - 2022
  20. Solar Power - 2022
  21. Wind Power - 2022
  22. Hand Power - 2022
  23. Making Wind - 2019
  24. Breaking Wind - 2022
  25. Dutch Stamp - 2020
  26. Turbogolfing Real - 2021
  27. Turbogolfing Real Still - Probably won't do this
  28. Turbogolfing - 2019
  29. Turbogolfing Still - 2021
  30. Turbogolf Proposal - 2021
  31. Signage 1 - 2022
  32. Spare Balls - 2022
  33. Ball on Pipe - 2021
  34. Reserection (Easter Rising) - 2022
  35. Balling - 2021
  36. Loading Bay, and the Rest - 2022
  37. Green NRG - Probably won't do this
  38. Killed Negative - 2022
  39. Turbine Kick - 2021
  40. Autofocus Feedback Loop - 2021
  41. Die Cast! - Probably won't do this

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Residency 4, Day 5: 'Art will always be a site divided between subversion and institution, contemplative passivity and active rupture, the State and the crowd, creation and the market. An important work displaces these frontiers but it cannot abolish them.' - Alain Badiou

Today involved getting up close to wind turbines again, driving over my reading glasses and smashing them to smithereens, getting new ones in Macroom (2 for €12!!), chatting with and listening to the wisdom of Miriam O'Connor on the question of residencies in a) a cattle mart, and b) a field (of her own), listening to the world premiere of Amy Rooney's Pendulums and Sundials, and even more.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Residency 4, Day 3: 'Video... displayed in a temporal manner might be considered as theatre whereas video displayed... as part of an installation... results from the abandonment of the movement of time in favour of an emphasis on the spatial dimensions of exhibition.' - Bridget Crone


I got another phone call from Google HQ in Dublin last week, this time about the traffic jam promoted as tourist attraction, and business, on Google Maps. ‘Hello, is this Skibbereen Traffic Jam?’, they asked. The call took me by surprise, for some reason I was made to feel guilty, and lost my nerve. Rudely, I hung up on the caller but regretted it immediately. The location/business was then removed from Maps.

But why should I accept this? Fair enough, Skibbereen Traffic Jam is not yet a successful business, in the profit-making sense, but I do see it as a tourist attraction, and doubly fascinating, in that you can simply observe it, the vehicles, the facial expressions, bathe in its murmuring engine sounds, OR you can participate in it yourself (ideally with a car but possibly on foot). For my part, I had completed a street photography project in connection with the jam, and a film will be shown as part of the exhibition opening at @uillinnwestcorkarts the West Cork Arts Centre on 17th September.

In addition, I had begun, in discussion with experienced entrepreneurs, to think up ways of expanding the enterprise by producing actual Traffic Jam, in different flavours, to sell at the famous farmer’s market and/or directly to drivers trapped in their cars. So I have put the location back up on Google Maps as Plódú tráchta sa Sciobairín:

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Residency 4, Day 2: 'As long as I live I will have control over my being.' - Artemisia Gentileschi


It is not always easy to know what to do. In fact, arguably, it is surprising people are motivated to do anything at all. That is considering there is no meaning in the universe, especially. About a year ago, I arranged to meet the person who ran the MAFA I completed about two decades ago. He'd had health problems including a period, speculatively due to the medication prescribed, of having zero drive. It sounded terrible, to my ears unimaginable. The ordinary way he described it got me thinking. Perhaps curiosity, and the energy to pursue interests, is not special or mysterious, but simply chemical or equivalent. On the other hand, and this is maybe Beckettian, once you have decided life is worth living, or a slightly better option than not being alive, then that slightly becomes enormous, if not infinite. Leaving out the question of pain or love, if you accept that not being alive would be one-hundred percent nothing, then existence and consciousness becomes everything. So, it is a binary thing. Which would you like: nothing or everything? I'll have everything please. And it is enchanting, it has its charms, this existing business.