‘Dissonance is the truth about harmony’
Theodor Adorno saw the contradictions and paradoxes of art as revealing something about the tensions, conflicts and possibility of beauty and harmony in life. Growing up in Derry in north west Ireland, with its precarious situation between two states has inspired my artmaking on identities and conflict. Doire or Londonderry are words that mean everything and nothing, they are very real illusions. The small city has a high suicide rate and is divided by a river and religions that few follow. Franco Berardi states that there are no longer bourgeois and proletariat in our culture but ‘winners and losers’ – the losers perhaps being the immigrant, the unemployed, the cleaner – and who are the winners? The celebrities we read about who are in reality fretting over their status or the corporations that own the wealth of nations? Or is it all an illusion, paper being passed around – a simulation as Baudrillard would contest?
I am a writer and artist, foundry technician, curator and art tutor. I graduated with a degree in English literature and Politics from Queens University Belfast, an MFA from Manchester School of Art and a PhD from Glasgow School of Art. The research addressed the agency of art and the potential of artist exits. Titled ‘Exodus: Towards a Non-Identity Art, it concluded with the organization of a No Jury, No Prize exhibition where we had hundreads of artists exhibit – in doing so realizing Beuys call that ‘everybody is an artist.’ Today in our digital, social media age, it could however be argued that everybody must be an artist?
In my artwork, I create parallel micro-worlds – either sculptural installations in surreal environments or bizarre films consisting of edited found footage that explore the human condition. Alienation and division are principle themes alongside oppression and the affects of new media. The darkness of such themes are however counterbalanced by humour, light and harmony.