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: