I think Futures is a fantastic program that will help to elevate and propel emerging artists - particularly in terms of prospective connections that can be created with other developing and reputable artists, curators and audiences from all over the world. Unseen is possibly one of better photo and art festivals that exists today, so what better environment to be a participant in. I’m excited for it.
I would certainly like that, yes. It is important to get yourself out there, to meet, connect and to see what else is going on in the world of art and photography. Besides that, it creates an opportunity to present oneself to others. I believe it important to branch out and explore other practices of making work. I am also excited to attend the talks and the many exhibitions that take place at Unseen.
When you live on the island of Ireland you somewhat live in a bubble, a delicate disconnect from mainland Europe. The is a particularly dichotomy in regards to gaining international recognition; on the one hand, it’s rather difficult because the market is flooded with artists that have the same goal, so it can be quite challenging to stand out in that aspect. On the other side, when you take into account the role of social media it makes the world a much smaller place. I believe that if you stick to what you are good at and cultivate an idiosyncratic style people will take notice. It’s important to put yourself out there using the tools of social media but also by applying for residencies and partaking in festivals or art fairs outside of Ireland.
Like most of the projects I have worked on, this stems from a curiosity, an ambition to understand, explore and a search for some answers. My quest led to some experimenting and collaborating with a doctor of physics at Kings College, London. I contacted him by email and he seemed interested in my proposal. From there we would have weekly Skype conversations. He had theories that I found stimulating and I wanted to respond to them in my own artistic way. I like to look beyond photography for inspiration; it’s about communicating and finding the best tools to use which introduces me to other creative modes.
Originally, I started as a mixed media artist; combining drawing, sculpting and other mediums. But along the way I always found that when I want to the camera is the first thing I use. Then I got confused as to what I was. Only within the last year I have decided and once and for all declared myself as a lens-based artist J . I still introduce other methods and techniques but the camera is my go-to medium. I am not afraid of mixing photography with different media if it is appropriate and strengthens the outcome; I believe I am resourceful in that sense.
It was my first time doing a project of this kind. With Moyross Study, I felt an obligation to investigate and respond to actualities of social and political matters around me. The place Moyross can be regarded as one the most notorious housing estates in Ireland, by way of the local and national media that have portrayed it this way. CCTV are omnipresent and a perimeter fence designed to keep the community in. To me it feels like an open prison. It made me curious. At first, I went there to photograph the area, I more or less ignored the people, I focused on the landscape, or barren landscape I should say, where habitation once existed – now there is nothing.
Moyross was designed from the offset to marginalise a particular class of society. In this research project, I respond to Henri Lefebvre’s The Production of Space (1974). Lefebvre’s argument is that space is not a natural given, but instead is an abstract, social construct based on economic systems, hierarchical power structures and the class system, which shapes human perception and limits agency and autonomy. The work also includes visual responses to academic sociologists that are based at the University of Limerick.
The plan is to further develop and present my current project, Moyross Study, nationwide. What is happening in this specific community is happening elsewhere. Gentrification is a universal problem and it needs to be deliberated openly, not swept under the carpet! People need to see what is happening and those responsible needs to be held accountable for their mismanagement and attempts at social engineering.
It is vitally important to provoke a dialogue with these themes with persons from all occupations and I believe art, if done correctly and engagingly, can address social issues, open a discussion and promote change.