Titles and Writers

2006 Some Buildings Die of Old Age – Writing: Daniel Pryde-Jarman
2007 There is a Failing Man – Writing: Rachel Lois Clapham
2008 Fame is a Two Party Dick – Writing: Huw Bartlett
2009 General Insurance – Writing: Dr. Mark Leahy
2010 Withdraw to Seduce – Writing: Roy Exley
2011 Sometimes People Get Cranky – Writing: Mark Sheerin
2012 She Couldn’t Have Attended Anyway – Writing: Theresa Bruno
2013 Rigidity Causes us to Make Mistakes – Writing: Yvette Greslé
2014 Incarceration is Socially and Economically Crippling – No writing
2015 Mercy re NY Job – No writing
2016 I Don’t Know What its Foreign Policy is – No writing
2017 This is a Storm of Enormous Destructive Power – No writing
2018 We’d just Hashtag it TFA and keep Moving – No writing
2019 Let’s be Clear, I Resigned – No writing

Rigidity Causes us to Make Mistakes, 2013

Every year, on 11 September, Micheál O’Connell (Mocksim) produces a printed image derived from a frame of an animation created in 2001; following the attacks on the World Trade Center. O’Connell communicates nothing of his intentions, or what motivates him to enact this repetitive ritual (which exists in relation to 9/11). He does tell us that he intends to continue this action for the rest of his life; this private gesture of capturing a miniscule moment of a moving image; a different, successive moment each year (differences in the printed images are so slight they are barely discernible).

O’Connell’s animation, which suggests two tower-like forms, appears in my imagination as an abstracted simulation of the collapsing Twin Towers (albeit only obliquely). The forms inhabit an intense dark green ground which, in the printed versions (C-type photographic prints), is unexpectedly glossy (resembling the seductive language of a commercial poster). Mocksim’s yearly action, of printing a successive, single frame of his animation/simulation is, in fact, linked to a commercial project. He has created a ‘Yearly Print Algorithm’ which annually re-calculates the sale price of the prints linking their monetary and associated symbolic value to the artist’s own life expectancy and reputation as an artist (‘most likely year of Mocksim’s death’ is apparently 2049). Of course, the artist’s calculations and the numerical language of grids, graphs and columns do not account for the unknowable, and the amorphous territories of chance and coincidence. None of us can anticipate, with any certainty, the date, or the circumstances, of our death. The irreverence, and dark humour, of Mocksim’s calculations (or rather his performance) give way to poignancy, the sensation of knowing that we cannot determine (unequivocally, at least) how it is we will die and when. This is one of the most tragic, and indeed frightening, aspects of the events of 11 September 2001, and others like it, the not knowing, the reverberating shock of it all, the unexpectedness. The event has multiple significations. It is a political and symbolic event of great magnitude but it is also a human event about unanticipated mortality and loss in violent circumstances. Mocksim’s project is, in this sense, a Memento Mori of sorts: it pays attention to transience and uncertainty even as it performs the language of empirical knowledge. I am reminded of the art historical Vanitas and its symbolic undoing of desires, material and earthly.

On 11 September 2001 a spectacle of horror was transmitted on televisions around the world. I recall, watching the event in Johannesburg, where I lived at the time, the unreality of those collapsing towers; no longer immutable and untouchable. Writing from the perspective of the twenty-first century, one takes for granted mediated images of horror; their accessibility and proximity. In her book Death’s Showcase: The Power of Image in Contemporary Democracy (2001), Ariella Azoulay writes of television as ‘death’s display showcase’: ‘it allows viewers to approach ever closer and yet never arrive, to observe and yet to be unable to touch’.[1] ‘Television cameras’, she continues, are present in nearly every place, as if no one-time moment shall remain alone. Cameras would lurk in anticipation of capturing the ultimate one-time moment – death – at its moment of occurrence’.[2] We are now used not only to television but also to the often disconcerting intimacy of transportable screens: laptop, smart phone or tablet. Images of violence are at our fingertips, whether we choose to evade them or not.

I cannot claim to speak with any authority for the events of 9/11. They are somewhat detached from my own subjectivity and history; and they represent one amongst many acts of politically motivated violence in which civilians, across the globe, have lost their lives. In 2004, Judith Butler published her collection of essays, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. All were written ‘after September 11’, she writes, and in response to the conditions of heightened vulnerability and aggression that followed from those events’.[3] One of the points she makes is that ‘certain forms of grief become nationally recognized and amplified, whereas other losses become unthinkable and ungrievable’.[4]  Writing too about the idea of a public sphere, she argues that it is ‘constituted in part by what cannot be said and what cannot be shown. The limits of the sayable, the limits of what can appear, circumscribe the domain in which political speech operates and certain kinds of subjects appear as viable actors’.[5] The events of 9/11 do not exist in a vacuum and a homogenous worldview, their meaning and significance is contested, and similarly to all conditions of historical violence and trauma, ultimately opaque, despite the assumption of understandings grounded in measurable thought.

Political violence is embedded in the idea of repetition: it is commonplace that violence births more violence, it replicates and mutates, existing in relation to vested interests and the manoeuvres of those who hold and enact power. It also exists in the desire for vengeance; and in the kind of political anger (and indeed political affect, deliberate and considered), which migrates across generations caught up in repetitive historical conditions of war, loss, displacement and occupation. Violence produces trauma – both personal and historical – and, as the scholarly work on traumatic memory tells us, it is repeated and re-inscribed; passed down from one generation to the next.[6] Repetition exists in a complex relationship to historical trauma: ‘psychic trauma knows no time. It is a perpetual present, lodged like a foreign resident in the psyche’.[7] Violence is not only about acts of bombing, killing and torture. It is also present in censorship and the repression of the voices and perspectives of subjects who go against the grain of authorised speech and official points of view. This is apparent no matter where in the world one is situated.

O’Connell’s green-gloss surface, which he repetitively produces each year, is opaque and unreadable: its surface yields no meaning or resolution. Its scale declares its presence in the same way that a monument does: functioning as a site of state-sanctioned national memory. But it counters this language as much as it deploys it. The Towers are digitally produced constructions that hint at architectural, perspectival renderings, while they are ambiguous and not fully formed.

Lines – vertical, horizontal, angled – begin to draw us into the illusion that what we are looking at is real and legible. Their purpose is to convince us that what we see relates to something familiar in the world, something empirically known, stable and recognisable. These lines (for all their apparent precision) falter: they are stalled in the process of attempting to draft a coherent, completed form. The architectural spaces they suggest are obscured and congested with densely drawn, digitally abstracted forms. Computer generated, these bear no relation to the world other then what might be imagined or projected.

More than the collapsing structures themselves I remember the sight of falling bodies as I watched the events of 9/11 unfold on my television screen. At first, these images were transmitted as events took place in real time. And then, after the towers had crumbled these images were repeated over and over again. In my imagination, the artist’s computer generated forms, which cluster claustrophobically as they fall (and then are held in place by the print, the still image) are triggers re-igniting memories of bodies dropping to their death. Abstracted forms are transformed into corpses cocooned in shrouds, and lost in a ground that (no longer sure of its place in the world) makes no sense at all.

Yvette Greslé of Writing in Relation

[1] Azoulay, Ariella, Death’s Showcase: The Power of Image in Contemporary Democracy. Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England: The MIT Press, 2001, p.28.

[2] Ibid.p.28.

[3] Butler, Judith, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence, London and New York: Verso, first published in 2004, my edition published in 2006 (from the opening of the preface).

[4] Ibid.p.xiv.

[5] Ibid.p.xvii.

[6] See, for example, Pollock, Griselda, After-affects/After-images: Trauma and aesthetic transformation in the virtual feminist museum, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013.

[7] Pollock, Griselda, After-affects/After-images: Trauma and aesthetic transformation in the virtual feminist museum, 2013, p.2.

She Couldn’t Have Attended Anyway, 2012

“Two piles of shoes on a green background” (translated into every language that Google Translate will allow):

Twee hopies van skoene op ‘n groen

shtyllat e këpucë në një sfond të gjelbër

أكوام من الأحذية اثنين على خلفية

Երկու կոշիկ piles է կանաչ ֆոնի վրա

yaşıl fonunda ayaqqabı iki hemoroid

zapata pila atzealde berdea

Дзве груды абутку на зялёным фоне

জুতা দুটি একটি সবুজ পটভূমিতে piles

купчини обувки на зелен фон

Dues piles de sabates sobre un fons


Dvije hrpe cipela na zelenoj podlozi

hromady bot na zeleném pozadí

bunker af sko på en grøn baggrund

Twee stapels van schoenen op een groene

amasoj de ŝuoj sur verda fono

Kaks hunnikud kingad rohelisel

Dalawang tambak na mga sapatos ng isang kulay
berdeng background

Kaksi kasoittain kengät vihreällä

Deux piles de chaussures sur un fond

Dúas pilas de zapatos nun fondo verde

piles ფეხსაცმლის on მწვანე ფონზე

Zwei Stapel der Schuhe auf einem grünen

σωρούς από τα παπούτσια σε πράσινο φόντο

લીલા પૃષ્ઠભૂમિ પર બે જૂતાની

pil nan soulye sou yon fon vèt

שתי ערימות של נעליים על רקע

एक हरे रंग की पृष्ठभूमि पर दो जूते के

kupac cipő egy zöld háttér

Tveir hrúgur af skóm á grænum grunni

tumpukan sepatu dengan latar belakang hijau

chairn na bróga ar chúlra glas

mucchi di scarpe su uno sfondo verde


ಹಸಿರು ಹಿನ್ನೆಲೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಶೂಗಳ ಎರಡು

녹색 배경에 신발 두 더미

ສອງ piles ຂອງເກີບສຸດຫວັດຄວາມເປັນມາສີຂຽວເປັນ

Duos acervos calciamentorum in viridi

Divi pāļi kurpes uz zaļa fona

krūvos batų žaliame fone

купови на чевли на зелена позадина

timbunan kasut pada latar belakang hijau

Żewġ munzelli ta ‘żraben fuq sfond

hauger av sko på grønn bakgrunn

دو انبوهی از کفش در یک پس زمینه

stosy obuwia na zielonym tle

Duas pilhas de sapatos em um fundo

Două grămezi de pantofi pe un fundal

груды обуви на зеленом фоне

гомиле ципела на зеленој позадини

hromady topánok na zelenom pozadí

kupi čevlje na zelenem ozadju

pilas de zapatos sobre un fondo verde

Mbili marundo ya viatu kwenye background ya

högar av skor på en grön bakgrund

ஒரு பச்சை பின்னணியில் காலணிகள் இரண்டு

ఒక ఆకుపచ్చ నేపథ్య న బూట్లు రెండు


Yeşil bir arka plan üzerinde ayakkabı İki

купи взуття на зеленому фоні

گرین پس منظر پر دو جوتے کے

đống giày trên nền màu xanh lá cây

bentwr o esgidiau ar gefndir gwyrdd

צוויי מערידן פון שיכלעך אויף אַ גרין

by Theresa Bruno:

Sometimes People get Cranky, 2011

Sometimes People Get Cranky: the tenth iteration of Mocksim’s Yearly Print

In the late evenings of 1480, Señora Uccello would indeed get cranky. According to Vasari, she would go to bed; her husband, the painter Paolo, would stay up exploring draftsmanship. When she called him to take his conjugal place beside her, he would cry out in raptures: “Oh! What a sweet thing this perspective is!” [1]

Dante also suggests there is something chaste about this new aspect of painting. The role of perspective is almost nun-like in his assessment: “Geometry is lily-white, unspotted by error, and most certain, both in itself and in its handmaid, whose name is perspective”.[2]

So the geometric principles of the Quattrocento painter might even be seen as moral ones. It is surely a Christian discovery that: “Parallel lines receding from the plane of the picture surface appear to meet at a single point on the horizon, the vanishing point; Lines parallel to the picture plane do not converge.“ [3]

If politics is the continuation of war by other means, perhaps the same might be said of art with reference to the Catholic crusades of the 12th and the 13th centuries. Islam has never shown any great interest in representational innovation. Perspective soon became an occidental norm, an empirical version developing in the protestant North.

After all, a certain faith or at least convention is necessary to read perspective. So writes art historian Ernst Gombrich: “It is important to be quite clear at this point wherein the illusion consists. It consists, I believe, in the conviction that there is only one way of interpreting the visual pattern in front of us.” [4]

Perspective has a certain dogma, as can be shown by the anecdote about a Japanese student who came to Britain in the early 20th century. Yoshio Markino attended a grammar school where he was taught to draw a box using perspective. His less naturalised father saw the efforts and responded: “What? That box is surely crooked not square.“ [5]

In his twin tower series the artist Mocksim uses classical perspective together with a monochrome green background which calls to mind a hunt, deluge or battle scene by Uccello. As has been said: “The importance of monochrome [is] not only derived from Florentine feeling for sculptural form, but also stem directly from Alberti’s analysis of what is most desirable in painting.” [6]

So far the work is perfectly civic and ordered, but we know only too well that the geometrical certainties of the Christian era now meet a challenge in the form of the two hijacked planes which flew into the Word Trade Centre on September 11 2001. Until that point the horizon of the world was guaranteed by a superpower.

This at least is what writer Jacques Derrida contests. “The obvious fact is since the ‘end of the cold war’ what can be called the world order in its relative and precarious stability, depends largely on the solidity and reliability, on the credit of American power.” [7]

What we lost when American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 hit the towers was our sense of perspective, our relative horizon, here in the West. Perhaps this is what Mocksim had in mind when he spoke to me of “switching off perspective“ to generate the crumbling, shadow towers in his 9/11 series.

Along with switching off perspective, Mocksim has removed the horizon from his ghostly scenes. His towers hover in a virtual space, as infinite as the justice swiftly promised by US foreign policy in the wake of the attack. It is a virtual space which denies us the chance to define what might have just happened.

“’Something’ took place,” points out Derrida, “we have the feeling of not having seen it coming, and certain consequences undeniably follow upon the “thing”. But this very thing, the place and meaning of this “event,” remains ineffable“. [8]

He calls it “a unicity with no generality on the horizon or with no horizon at all.” [9] Clearly following the unprecedented event par excellence of 9/11, lines of perspective and vanishing points have become quite unworkable. We need a new visual language. And having reached the end of this pictorial line, Mocksim is compelled to repeat the moment of impact.

The renaissance science of optics is just a “language that admits its powerlessness and so is reduced to pronouncing mechanically a date, repeating it endlessly, as a kind of ritual incantation, a conjuring poem, a journalistic litany or rhetorical refrain that admits to not knowing what it’s talking about.” [10]

But Mocksim’s project risks becoming more than a mere struggle to comprehend. By reopening this archive each September, he may be conjuring up future attacks. “The worst comes back, or threatens to come back.” [11]. Even a condemnation of the event will call it back

In fact, the simple flick of a switch by which the artist demolishes both towers seems to preempt the form of techno war which also threatens humanity, “the possibilities for destruction and chaotic disorder that are in reserve, for the future, in the computerized networks of the world”. [12] This is one possible horizon of the work.

But you cannot anticipate the worst without some hope for the best. Allowing chaos into his work Mocksim exposes the viewer to the impossible, or to history, or to “this other regime of the ‘possible-impossible’ that I try to think by questioning in all sorts of ways…by trying to ’deconstruct’ if you will, the heritage of such concepts as ‘possibility,‘ ‘power,‘ ‘impossibility’ and so on”. [13]

It is not hard to see these destructured towers as deconstructed towers. Mockim’s Yearly Print moves beyond perspective, beyond dogma, beyond the monolithic. Which brings us back to Uccello, searching all night for the vanishing point. His beloved perspective, which closes off the future, may not have been sweet at all.

Mark Sheerin of Culture24

[1] Giorgio Vasari, The Lives of the Artists, OUP, p.83

[2] Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy, new edition, OUP, p.124

[3] ibid. p.126

[4] E.H. Gombrich, Art & Illusion: A study in the psychology of pictorial representation, Phaidon, p210

[5] ibid. p 227

[6] Peter and Linda Murray, The Art of the Renaissance, Thames and Hudson, p.116

[7] Giovanni Borradori, Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jurgen Harbermas and Jacques Derrida, The University of Chicago Press, pp.92-3

[8] ibid, p.86

[9] ibid, p.86

[10] ibid, p.86

[11] Jacques Derrida and Bernard Stiegler, Echographies of Television, Polity Press, p135

[12] Borradori, p.101

[13] ibid, p.120

Withdraw to Seduce, 2010

Software or no software, the artist Mocksim’s impressive work looks positively digital and consequently, for me at least, leans towards the esoteric. Two complex confabulations of lines descend (or rise) either side of the stretched portrait- format picture-plane, as they contort themselves into complex pseudo- geometrical forms. These linear contortions are held in envelopes as they fall (or rise, we can’t tell if levity or gravity prevails here, paralysed, or frozen, the lines keep the trends of their motion a secret) invisible carapaces that jut out and seemingly shudder to the anarchic tumult of the fidgeting lines (imagining frozen fidgeting here is a neat demonstration of the ‘Reception Theory’ in action (see Hans Robert Jauss [1]). Mocksim, we have to assume, has performed some sort of digital wizardry here, through which the work is given its esoteric edge. This is a position that was predicted, strangely enough in 1992 – before the digital era had really kicked in – by the American theorist, Glen Mazis, when he wrote, “To understand how we can now comprehend sudden disproportionate change and unpredictable transformation, it is important to grasp how the notion of feedback has displaced linear causality insofar as we have begun to look at the world in terms of ‘open systems’”. [2]. The concept of open systems goes cheek by jowl, of course with the idea of chaos

The upper sections (or lower sections depending upon which way the image is hung) of these vertically orientated envelopes have a musical or poetic quality, they have broken into rhythmic play here, but they soon surrender to a sort of creeping decay that forges its relentless progress down the picture-plane (anachronistic terminology here that barely does justice to this slick hi-tech c-print coated aluminium) towards chaos (a state never quite achieved). I sense intriguing resemblances to the three-dimensional scores for electronic music that in the ‘70’s became artworks in their own right, (see Cornelius Cardew, Friedrich Cerha, R.Kayn, or David Weinstein) suggestions here of musical phantasms apparently coursing through these constellations of forms as they jostle for attention on this crisp green-surfaced aluminium sheet. Somehow, through all this apparently random graphigraphy*, run the threads or traces of what could be meaning, (don’t we always look for meaning?) we can sense strands of rationale struggling to breathe, maybe fighting for a handhold – admittedly a rationale that might be a digital clone of the real thing, but nevertheless it certainly signals its presence, flickering like isolated neon signs in an abstract morass of nocturnal urban lights. As far as the poetic is concerned I am, for some unknown reason reminded of the poetry of Tom Raworth (enfant terrible of the 60’s/70’s British poetry scene), his ‘Electronic Atmospheres’ loosely fits: –

cedar and sweet grease

hook by sense the next to savour how do we know faint distance from faint here by area the fading ring remembered seeing two thoughts at once

for though my thought maybe your image all our voices are the same said rhythm pausing for reflection leaving an error in the stream

snow in the railway cutting a ruin artificially lit high flat streak music a cold headache with branches tingles [3]

We can see the ‘rhythm pausing for reflection’, ‘faint distance’, ‘faint here’, ‘a ruin artificially lit’ and ‘an error in the stream’ (in fact more than one) all nestled uncomfortably in this barely controlled pandemonium where any attempts at surface have been repeatedly consumed by the roiling substrate.

But enough of description, of analogies, of surmise, a move out into a stream of associations might now fit.

A phrase hits me full-on here ‘Bucky, eat your heart out!’ – Buckminster Fuller’s experiments with geodesic forms in the 1960’s gained a lot of publicity and went on to be influential in the development of lightweight roof structures for commercial buildings, and of course for his renowned domes – the geometrical webs that he designed were often complex, but the ones based on the pentagon were the most successful and abiding. Mocksim’s image seems to be infused with the remains of failed geodesic webs their catenae racked by disorder as if a plagiaristic spider had been foiled in the middle of a flawed attempt to simulate Fuller’s work.

It might seem that I am offering a lot of modernist references here, but there is no escaping the fact that there is something inherently neo-modernist in the mien of this work, whether that is deliberate or not – but I hesitate to push this as any reference to ‘isms’ is distinctly out of fashion.

The schematic linear maps of the global network of civil airline routes are visually fascinating, mesmerising almost, and there is a certain resemblance here. Spiders return, to scuttle hither and thither, freshly enthused by their research into aviation routes, high on sniffing kerosene fumes, laying their webs, a smokescreen of filaments to confound the gaze of analytical eyes. (remember those laboratory experiments involving spiders, psychoactive drugs, and the documentary footage of their consequently fumbled attempts to weave webs). The most significant aspect of all this seems to be the fact that where the web of lines is thickest, densest, it abuses, adulterates and abnegates the green ground on which it has trespassed and this trespass might be seen as symbolic of man’s ongoing abuse of the ecosphere whose generic colour, green, is seen to represent the eco-friendly network of environmental campaigns – here serially despoiled. This is paralleled on those aviation maps by the phenomenon whereby the densest areas of lines are found where they meet at busy international hubs such as Heathrow, Schiphol, Frankfurt, Paris, New York and Los Angeles and where air and noise pollution must at their greatest.

As if to give all this multi-linear confusion some semblance of security, through its ordered presence, a subtle framework of evenly-spaced horizontal and oblique lines that join along a vertical axis, appears to create the corner of a cage, underpinning the crazily-figural lines, offering a sort of rack on which sanity might be hung. It seems ironic that what might be perceived here as the most ordered element amidst this general disorder, is also the most enigmatic. Its incongruity might be forgiven if it were to offer a structural role, but this would take some mathematical wizardry to establish – end of conversation! Remember Dan Hayes’ 1997 John Moores Prize-winning hamster cage, ‘Harmony in Green? If not, let me reassure you that its multi-toned metallo-verdant bars, which, except in terms of proportions, look nothing like Mocksim’s cage corner, but who knows which ardent art historian, eager to feed as many supplements as possible to a burgeoning art-historical archive, will correlate the two in times to come, perhaps quoting Sol LeWitt as a common reference – come to think of it LeWitt‘s ‘Lines to points on a Grid’, 1976 …… Give the work of 1960’s Op-Art operator, Francois Morellet, the Angela de la Cruz treatment, and the result would have to be described as ‘Mocksimesque’. This would seem to be a good point to leave this critical strategy behind.

Inevitably we must tackle intentionality. The zeitgeist dictates that we must correlate intentionality with concerns about identity, the illusion of harmony, or how the plurality of culture must be addressed, and against whose perspective a work of art must be measured. Then there are the phenomena of celebrity, celerity and inter-cultural synergy. I have to say, however, that I am somewhat resistant to the concept of zeitgeist, despite the fact that certain trends in the ‘world of art’ would seem to corroborate its existence. The supposed effects of the zeitgeist are undoubtedly causative, however, nothing will ever move on if it is habitually reverenced – we are talking vicious circles here. Reverential I’m not and I have the feeling that Mocksim isn’t either. So what is going on here, is this simply digital madness, has Mocksim become a cyberslave? or is he merely enjoying himself, and should not necessarily be counted as a devout worshipper at the shrines of Babbage, Turing, Backus, etc. The possibility remains that he has become a studious follower of the random effects of spontaneity, a factor that endlessly feeds the rich reservoir of the aleatory, the element of chance, that acts as a supercharger to the creative act. Much is born of chance, but through its auspices, much rests on the shoulders of the practitioner who heeds its pull. Mocksim seems to be bearing up well if this image is anything to go by. He confounds the expectations of those who would like to see something immediately recognisable and classifiable, and his integrity, as a result, remains irredeemably secure and inviolable, this is not, however, to suggest that his work is obscure or impenetrable. It is an unspoken fact that the contemporary idiom requires that nothing should expose itself to the threat of classification or the numbing adjunct of an ‘ism’. Without having seen the precursor or successor to this image (I am aware that this is a frozen extract of or excerpt from a video sequence, something much more animate and dynamic, something, which as a result of its movement with the flow of time would convey a totally different message or meaning) it is very easy to afford it an importance that it does not actually claim. In fact it might be true to say that it does not claim anything at all outside of and beyond its video context.

Carsten Nicolai’s recently published book, Grid Index, [4] undertakes an exhaustive study of grid patterns, with reproductions of hundreds of permutations on the geometric grid, where the evidence of cause and effect moves rapidly from the glaringly obvious in the simplicity of the square grid through to the mind-boggling complexity of 10-fold symmetry, where to establish any presence at all of the workings of cause and effect would be a minor miracle. The minimal meeting of cause and effect, visually at least, in Mocksim’s work leaves the eye free to roam – without the burden of cognitive responsibility – across those finely woven linear webs, inventing, at will, diverse and extravagant versions of cause and effect scenarios. At one point I was convinced that these lines composed an armature for some mechanico-organic mutant, whose essentially benign presence was such only because it was frozen and for an instant I was in fear of ever confronting the video version (a catastrophic battle between two obese, unarmed, but impressively beteethed carnivorous (homophagous** worms – akin to the dune-monsters in Frank Herbert’s sci-fi epic, ‘Dune’). Then, fortunately I snapped out of that and was immediately overcome by the beauty of this infinitely fine network of delicate, ethereally interwoven, lacey lines, stunned into meditative mode, I retreated and left the work free for the unhindered puzzlement of others, and wondered why beauty has become such an ugly word. But that’s another story.

Roy Exley of Photomonitor

* my neologism ** man-eating

[1] Hans Robert Jauss, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception. [Trans. Timothy Bahti]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982.

[2] Glen A. Mazis, ‘Chaos Theory and Merleau-Ponty’s Ontology’ in Merleau-Ponty: Interiority and Exteriority, Psychic Life and the World, Edited by Dorothea Olkowski & James Morley, SUNY, New York, 1999. Page 222.

[3] Tom Raworth, Tottering State, Paladin Books, London 1988. Page 203.

[4] Carsten Nicolai, Grid Index, Gestalten, Berlin. 2009.

General Insurance, 2009

The weeks passed and nothing happened. Or so it seemed. And as they crumble before us, what conclusion is there. Footage of the chase shot from helicopters showed a small armada of Greenpeace inflatable boats speeding into the security zone off the seaside resort. This allows the net to be periodically pulled on board while not knowing what another arm was doing. Happily, no one, apparently, was ever in any peril, though robustly ribbed, in two rows up the stem. Well, last night one shoe dropped.

Spun off on a river of crystal, an extrinsic motivation is evident from the spiralling demands of frustrated settlers. But all settlement activity whatsoever, including building houses on existing settlements gives some exposition with some vocalizing. There is your resistance to put a number on it, and the reports flood in from the Conradian heart of crazy Eight Years Later in a world currency crisis and a spiralling of trade restrictions.

Double columns can occur, as can plants with white. The two are linked through their actions and their fate. Nothing real to report beyond the obvious, that installed the falling shoe as an image of threat, composed of double columns of plates. Your vision for the interior is distinctive, with spiralling terminations that suggest the curling of elastic matter. I’ve seen this happen before, that first pair of shoes triggers a shoe tossing cascade.

A dim-witted character in the series kicks her shoe off to forecast the weather and has it accidentally fall on top of a truck on the site of the previous church, which was flattened when the tower collapsed in 1701. But a continuing rotation must recognize the principle of two states for two peoples meaning, concealing the blunt yellow lip.

Dark yellow ridges on the upper surface and a central suture line between the two columns of plates in the two-state solution. The midline between the two columns is the lobbies, the two houses of Congress and the friends. Tomorrow should be fun. It seems like we have a much better idea now of what happened this near the tipping point, deeply grooved and twisted.

The police and Greenpeace played a game of seaborne cat and mouse, churning the deep green waters of the Baltic white with their spiralling boat wakes. Shown on the model is the sterling version, but all of that falls deep into the background now. And I’m sure again the detailed arrangement of how this is constructed provides useful taxonomic characters.

It starts with one dreamer, tossing his or her footwear-of-old high into the sky. The embedded plates are still in position making use of simple moralistic tales to ‘turn the world on its head’ and justify the war. Essential in securing the correct turn, alignment, and distance of a sky full of shoes.

These are two sides of the same coin. All plates bear spines, which attach and articulate that in times of tragedy and in the face of apocalyptic fear, we need a comic supplement. Try to pitch a “dead-falling shoe” spiralling down again while it usually skids out of scoring radius whereby we see it returning safely home in a pair of quite large, spiralling boat-shaped hoops. This harvesting device as constructed has limitations in cutting dense, long-leaved grass quickly becoming a mirage in the rear view mirror?

Into the Teabag Vortex the shoe tree blooms with polymer beauty, they catch it in a net and it tows them wildly, until they land in another cloud, keeping the shoes well up in flight. The high floater will hook the stake from all angles, make lavish use of its new multi-plane, spiral it round to lash it on to the hook. Ruffling the waves of dew the situation will get out of control not adequately restricted but permitted to spiral upward.

Neither scores as a ringer because they are not open. Viscous drag on the orbital motion would then lead to a spiralling into the core. But the aircraft carrier is turning, very slowly, with an almost imperceptible movement. Now cast your nets wherever you wish, ever sure to observe a “square stance.” Step directly toward the mark, it is always disappointing to me to watch you tiptoe around discussions about where it’s really headed.

But if we remove the frills and bare the skeleton of the plan, we find that it is logical of any meaningful macro considerations. The pillars will rise only but not turn with them over some specific time period, usually several years necessitating a spiralling boat path due to the off-centre drag. The Green Line is not specifically mentioned, and was stopped in my tracks by the lobby. After all it’s just another falling shoe.

Dr. Mark Leahy of University College Falmouth

Fame is a Two Party Dick, 2008

HIT THE HEADLINES Gripped by drama without a doubt. Perhaps there is no better time consider the impact. Today, effects of empire are written and presented, featuring traces of slavery and earlist pioneers. “Rationale has preminence!” cry emminent thinkers of the day while jounalism burns and edited authors and academics albeit, of course historians of the people specialising briefly to become one big influence.As they always are. – “It is of no suprise to sum up two different interests in tandem, the paradox to choose exists, to go along with the creed of freedom exists, betrayed perhaps in certain circumstances by the “guiding star”. Infused to self invent, to evoke improvisation and the spirit, the beginning of major power was born of rigid good and evil. “Elites!” saw themselves as the exemplary nation, building attitudes with and against landscape. These great events of forging might, list now as a kind of drive towards the accumulation of wealth and power and the nation state. To achieve this wealth and power of few hands, the goal of the guiding star of liberty became crippled by the economic deprivation theme. National power worked to expand chance for the few in all stages, and tensions. They did not see dangers in vastness.These were first and third real dangers, literally not to be found, or seeked. Over a brief time rough edges of dormancy reared; to some extent by the central theme, exposing the cyst at the core of the paradox for a land of liberty and institution. In a way vastness is a story of land taken and driven by imperial textures. Textbook history, right from the very beginning. Read the works and literature within calling to arms such and others like them – The Leader of a group muted great results of repression -conceptualised in an effort to build a city as an island. Here. In order to do so, legitamate massacre torched eternal, one number one sweet sacrafice. More empire than liberty and the idea of talking about it. Talk was the beacon for the world. From the beginning it started with taking land and expansion and war at every expansion overseas. Accompanied by liberty, of course, refining the earlier notion of the general profound event. Wrestling with ‘the all time’, articulators yearn to find a scheme to truly understand the document that expresses it more clearly than has ever been written since. Violation of knowledge and knowing does not make the need to struggle aesthetic, to expand across the line that has never been done. In particular, the century was the inconcievable paradox. significant in part for the acquisition of land and smaller numbers. “What do you say?” Nothing can be done to wipe it clean nothing detracts from the ideal of the nation and the short sighted. Obviously, schism is culture absolutely and the right were terrible never to be innocent. Centuries now unfold of struggle with expansion that faces into the identity politics at the cutting edge. We stand naked, in confrontation with part of man that always wants to betray experiment. To be down on vice and experimentation before the pressures become too strong. For most, land became a comment, they aspired to work the land. cultivating attractive but forbidden experiments, they speak of blessings but not necessarily of the curious economic bottom line. Parity is won and lost in segregation, on the other hand the sense of the irrational becomes above of and apart of all that is felt today, absolutely. Reality responds and struggles against the century of movement, and yet. And yet what makes it less than absolutely criminalised? The enormous population, are a long way from the political structure and the sense of freedom to protest is one of the things they overlook when fate is in their own hands. These same levels won movements around the world. Guilt and responsibility, a reluctance to persue all that is open, and their own reluctance. Wildly idealistic huge problems fix the world with the extraordinary, remarkable. The wellspring of genius, brings historicity together harmoniously. They hold broader originalities of war together and a broader might because of the need for people with different pens to tolerate the welcome. Setting down suburbs and roots; drawing in vast terrain and opposition, later became intellectualised. The idea was open in a sense to the industrial system which developed homogeneity. Industrial mines minds and so on – they came to work with not welcome but exploitation. Objects of ridicule and an amount of hostility does not account for welcome or treatment as equals. The rage! the innocent rounding up and the threatening. Useful, desperate teams in glowing terms. Born abroad perhaps more than that, analysis exists here for many cases treated well and expoited openly assimilated, wonderful assimiliator of fabric as fabric and the easily grouped. Something of them in a discussion enduring revolution around ‘however bad it is it was better in the old world’ – see how it was made better… For example, within a few years the making it or the seeing of the making of it gave not a hard time, harder times people, service easily and excusily face today, facing harassment running through. Things are bad but in the end we are really ok, becomes an excuse for complacency and economic system which believes leaving poverty behind is a good idea. Well, yes, but we’ve solved them. These Huge problems, and it ought to be better, we hold a belief in the redemptive power of politics and culture. The belief loosely is something else. The power through of revival creates sects and invents, marching together, hearts of the new central buried century, late away to surprise under the surface. In a second in a moment and those early, first crowds, the shapes and the experience. They did discourse on the axis of state, evil totally rooted directly became a socially modern error, think of the differences culturally, driven by belief. Overplaying is a part of what we use for it. Much to do with the opening up in a wider way than before. Our kind elsewhere talking about pro-life and the meaning of anything. Responding to a liberalism that tampers with the order. A response to a political reaction. Society is a response in movement and order. Our Sceptical eyebrows, cause and compete the looking around the sea of empire and liberty, some population putting its feet over the world. The empire that has military invades aptly so gives itself a rational. Tells this as a falsely moral rationale of expansion. A rationale to justify a task. Back to the recent couple of things and the impact and so on. Creating a reaction commented on the heartland moving to other parts into political activity, energising those forces. Constitution and the extent to the modern with a lack of embarassment or shame, prettyily and cleverly back to the theme faced with what they called a more perfect sense of individual locus of power – about balance for necessity, a bundle of work as a kind of guessing genius unresolved always deciding which power applies today, specifically. Pushing into the arena opened up or not, overridden or not. No resolution between which power prevails, legitamate mantaining the wealthy elite, bundle of framed worries and rebellions of the powerless stimulate wealthy government to make sure that insurrection and rebellion restablishes the elite and grows directly. Deligitamise after the paradox that we have been talking about for these many minutes progressively yet at the same time suggesting a compromise for human nature. Over time, the perfect struggle to face things and all of this ends well. The Highest standard of living is exported and reported through health and rank giving the fact of wealth shamefully disproportionate. To give wealth not create wealth. Turning finally across the table to evoke strong reactions of past and future importance and the out of time.

Huw Bartlett of CAC

There is a Failing Man, 2007

‘There is a Failing Man’ is a digital print on aluminium made specifically by artist Micheál O’Connell to sell to an anonymous collector. The image itself is taken from a computer simulated animation of an upside-down picture of New York’s Twin Towers in mid fall. The print is the second in a once-yearly series in which O’Connell moves the same animated image forward by just one-second then, on the 11 September, produces an abstract print that is 1m x 2m. The process might sound beguiling, and the end product decorative and ultimately sellable, but it is a distinctly forward-thinking collector who buys There is a Failing Man. Far from being a representational, emotive and sincere fine art tribute to the Twin Towers, the work is part of O’Connell’s open ended and potentially antagonistic artistic experiment. In There is a Failing Man O’Connell knowingly harnesses a global symbol of Terror and skews it through digital technology in order to mime the material form of a traditional art object while manipulating audience expectation for his polished, finished and static C-type print.

As audience our relationship to There is a Failing Man and by default to O’Connell is potentially antagonistic because the artist partakes in none of the emotiveness of his 9/11 subject, nor does he claim the Twin Towers as the main factor in the work. The print itself is equally ambiguous in its relationship to the Terroristic, both visually and in any conceivable underlying message. In addition, O’Connell’s creative process for There is a Failing Man is as de-skilled, de-crafted and as fully automated as possible: he practises ‘art by rote’ or printing by computerised numbers in which technology serves as third party or mediator, distancing him, his human artistic touch and any inherent intended (terroristic) meaning away from the print.

The clear ambiguity of There is a Failing Man concerning the ubiquitous contemporary sensation that is the Twin Towers can be seen as political. In this sense, O’Connell switching off the built-in computerised visual perspective programme for his rendering of There is no Failing Man can also be seen as a political act; a salient comment on inherited hierarchical Western aspects of tradition, ideology and perspective that are embedded within our contemporary visual culture. There is a Failing Man then, becomes a space for both artist and audience to test what we are supposed to feel in the face of such a sensation 6 years after the event, but perhaps don’t.

This open-ended examination of affect or perception– political and artistic – is key to O’Connell. This is why he deliberately and technologically abstracts; to evade direct visual clues and inherent meaning in There is a Failing Man. Instead O’Connell wants to subvert audience expectations of finality, meaning and artistic vision for this art-world object and orchestrate a more relational, interpolative character for the work; one in which you action and complete meaning as the viewer. In this way, O’Connell renders There is a Failing Man radically open to the risk of misrecognition. It is misrecognition by you, me, the collector who bought it and now has it hanging in his home, in which the ‘failing man’ in question could refer to the infamous Falling Man of 9/11, currently thought to be Jonathan Briley, but could equally be the failing – or falling – of humanity, or the failure of O’Connell himself, both as a man and as an artist.

Whatever it is or isn’t about Time is certainly, and unusually for a print, at stake in this work. Just as O’Connell completed Some Buildings Die of Old Age on 11 September 2006, so too on 11 September 2007 the artist, irrespective of result, stopped what he was doing on that same freeze-framed animation of the twin towers and printed There is a Failing Man. This strict 365-day time factor ensures There is a Failing Man is not only performative of its own creation – it embodies its own process in and by its final manifestation- but also embodies the changes in technology, software and attitudes toward global politics that have occured in that period. It is solely this factor of Time, and its affects, that intervenes in O’Connell’s controlled, repetitive system of making these prints to ensure There is a Failing Man is already very different in technique and critical reception, albeit not in look, from Some Buildings Die of Old Age, 2006.

It is also testament to the ephemeral or evental nature of There is a Failing Man that I am documenting the work here; an act of arts criticism or journalism that would otherwise be quite irregular for a single print by one artist. But what I’m feeling on this day, right here, in response to There is a Failing Man is just another layer in O’Connell’s experiment in the affect of art. God Willing, O’Connell hopes to do – moreover sell – approximately 40-60 more prints, one every year for the rest of his life. O’Connell’s impending death is perhaps the most fundamental -temporal- factor at stake in There is a Failing Man. If he succeeds in living this long there will be 40-60 more reviews to read, all very different, contrasting opinions, all grappling with how they feel – or don’t- about what is essentially the same image. Which is exactly O’Connell’s point.

Rachel Lois Clapham of  Live Art UK /Open Dialogues