Sign(s) of the Times
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landings, the 10th anniversary Skibbereen Arts Festival looks back at the past ten years whilst exploring what the future holds for our town.
Commissioned to develop new artwork for five 'billboard' sites around the town, artists Glenn Loughran, Tomasz Madajczak, Conor McGarrigle, Micheál O'Connell (a.k.a. Mocksim) and Institute of Dwelling (Marilyn Lennon, Colette Lewis and Elinor Rivers) will present diverse views of Skibbereen, offering an insight into the town for locals and visitors alike.
Digital photo-collage, 2019
The dream of discovering new lands, inhabiting the whole earth and eventually moving into outer space, has influenced centuries of intellectual, cultural and technological development. The moon is no more an aim, a target, a goal, the destination.. Humanity is searching for other planets which can replace our home, Mother Earth. Technology has the potential to allow us to reach a stage where space travel will become a form of public transport. The same technology can help us to understand ourselves and to re-discover a bond with the world from which we became.
Have a great time! Cool! Grand
Micheál O'Connell / Mocksim
Typography/Photography Composite, 2019
How smart are Gmail smart replies?
Micheál O’Connell / Mocksim describes himself as a ‘systems interference artist.’
To find out more Google Mocksim, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org ;)
Glitched digital photograph, 2019
This work reflects on the materiality of the digital processes that connect a town like Skibbereen to the global network; collapsing distances through high speed data transfers that are, even in this era of the cloud, still reliant on physical infrastructure.
I began with the landfall of the Hibernia Express, a 4,600km transatlantic fibre optic cable and Ireland’s fastest connection to the world, on Garretstown beach in 2015. On visiting the beach I discovered that there is nothing to see, because as with much of the connections that enable the digital age, this major piece of critical infrastructure is hidden from view. This work set out to make visible some of these processes at work in our everyday digital world.
Undersea begins with a photograph of the site of landfall. This scene was digitally captured and stored as a data file, a representation encoded as data. This digital file was then repeatedly transferred around the world via email with its specific routing traced so that it was, in all probability, transmitted at the speed of light via the same fibre optic cable that the image represents.
The code of the digital file was then altered to insert additional information on the materiality of the cable; its undersea route and physical properties, its engineering and location, and its process of transferring data, into the code of the image itself. This process introduced glitches into the image itself, thus making visible traces of the materiality and operation of the cable and the code of the image. Finally, the image was over layered with the hexadecimal code that composes the image we see, in a final revealing of the mechanisms underlying the production of the image and its circulation through the network. The same network that underpins Skibbereen’s digital town
Where Lies The Brazen Moon?
The IoD (Institute of Dwelling)
Digital photograph, 2019
The IoD (Institute of Dwelling) is a collaboration between artists Marilyn Lennon, Colette Lewis and Elinor Rivers. In Where Lies The Brazen Moon? our focus is on using the body as an antenna, tuning into invisible forces through the practice of divining adapted from folk customs.
The public is invited to engage in a playful act of solving a riddle and using divining rods to find the location of a buried cast bronze moon, hidden in a secret location in Skibbereen Town. Divining packs and instructions for use can be obtained from Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre.
Divining is a resilient folk tradition that has a current-day practical application while also having a magical aspect. It is still widely practiced in West Cork today to locate reliable water supplies. Traditionally divining has also been used for finding lost objects, missing persons, minerals, diagnosing health conditions and locating dwellings etc. While certain people have a particular gift for divining water, everyone has the potential to be able to divine.
Digital photograph, 2019
Jambelí Island (03°15′N, 080°02′ W) is located in the archipelago of Jambelí in the south of Gulf of Guayaquil, several hundred meters from the coast of Puerto Bolívar and the city of Machala in the province of El Oro, Ecuador.
It has an area of 2.419 hectares and an altitude between 0 and 10 m above sea level (asl) covering the entire Jambelí Archipelgo. There are three main types of natural ecosystems: sandy beaches, mangroves and dry scrub. It has a small population of 225 inhabitants, the majority living within the port of Jambelí, which receives tourists weekly. The annual average temperature is 25°C (PMRC 1993). It is included in the IBA (Important Bird and Biodiversity Area) ECO34 declared in 2005 (Birdlife International 2017).
In the last two decades, more than 35% of coastal wetlands in the tropics and subtropics have been destroyed, mangrove forest being the most affected habitat. Shrimp ponds are widespread on the island of Jambelí and are the cause of the destruction of a large part of the original mangrove forest. Mangroves provide a natural barrier to coastal flooding. Due to rising sea levels, the Island suffered its worst ever flooding in December 2018, with significant loss of property and coastal protection.
The citizens of Jambelí have been forced to develop improvised flood barriers across the Island.
This work was developed as part of What is an Island? The Listening School. The Listening School is a conceptual school set up in the Galapagos Islands for three days in July (25 – 27) and linked to West Cork and the Skibbereen Arts Festival in Ireland. The school will develop a pedagogical programme around listening and sounding the archipelago in the Anthropocene with islanders and artists.
This project has received funding from the Arts Council of Ireland and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 777707.