MICHEÁL O'CONNELL / MOCKSIM
In the past I designed and directed scenarios involving performers, often a professional clown. Appropriated objects, photographic tools, digital recording and display machineries were incorporated into these orchestrated routines. The work I do now was influenced by that period but one project culminating in 2010 marked a change in direction. The activity involved reappropriating images from municipal council car parking contravention systems. Since then I have carried out many similar exercises: instead of inventing routines, everyday mechanisms are interrogated directly. At first the aim was to find contemporary readymades, ostensibly mundane data and digital imagery, but the investigations themselves became interesting. I share selected results from these activities but also provide documentation and instructive material. In addition, found items may be included as elements in the short looping films, I term 'simupoems', which have been a feature of my practice since 2003.

As well as designating images taken by traffic wardens as art photography – the series entitled Contra-Invention - beauty was found in courier company Point of Delivery signatures (Missing You) and supermarket self-checkout machines were used, but to buy nothing (Less). More recently I have sent money flowing unnecessarily around bank accounts, turned my mobile handset into a speed camera and created symphonies through simultaneous use of sat-navs and maps-apps while driving between destinations.

Work was often presented or exhibited in project spaces as well as established locations, such as the Whitechapel Art Gallery (London), Lighthouse (Brighton, UK) and Wandesford Quay Gallery (Cork City, Ireland). I ran a blended reality event using Second Life and curated guerrilla fringe activities at the Venice Biennale. Increasingly I simply screen or share materials online, on specified dates. Contra-Invention had been invited to Les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d'Arles 2011, was subsequently nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012 and part of From Here On at Arts Santa Mónica, Barcelona in 2013. Thanks to Arts Council England and other funding sources, the show also toured Britain and Ireland in 2012/13. The original catalog was included in Martin Parr's Best Book List in 2010 and for a time I became a member of the international ABC Artists' Books Cooperative, which advocates the use of Print on Demand and queries the status of publishing. Missing You was exhibited in Macclesfield, supported again by Arts Council England, in 2014. A public event was run to coincide with the show, at the famous Silk Heritage Centre, where photography artists Rut Blees Luxemburg, Mishka Henner and I debated under the title From Jacquard to JPEG. In 2014 also the simupoem Delivering was screened in Birmingham as part of Turtle Salon, initiated by producer and director Michael Shamberg, and along with another work Recay, is now formally part of that collection.

CV download: Mocksim CV

Paper: Poetic misuse of functional systems

UCC Radio (15 mins, SoundCloud): Interview