Micheál O’Connell/Mocksim: systems interference artist.

Appropriation and attempting to unearth the poetic in everyday, often dysfunctional, technologies, systems and bureaucracies are key activities. Strategies include misuse, misunderstanding, lampooning and tinkering. Both the much-discussed computational, algorithmic, expanded photographic and surveillance networks, and older heavier networks comprising of road systems, physical machineries, commercial and entertainment infrastructures are of interest. Real movements of packages and multifarious forms of transportation emerge as a direct reflection of the invisible information flowing, via 'packet switching', on digital systems.

As well as hacking and re-presenting low-level tracking imagery and data, I discovered that supermarket self-checkout machines could be used to buy nothing, was ‘onboarded’ as a Deliveroo rider, and exhibited estate agent/auctioneer ‘Sold’ boards on their posts. Currently I am giving attention to the overlapping of functional infrastructures, including wind farms, and other uses of the semi-rural landscape, like ball games such as golf, and the unusual sport of road bowling.

There is a performative aspect to the interventions and presentation of findings. Imagery, data, substantial readymades and significant objects are exhibited directly; the methods are shared in the form of instructions or tutorials and, thirdly, elements are incorporated into live events or short looping films I term simupoems’. The latter have been a consistent feature of the practice, with two included in the late Michael Shamberg's Turtle Salon collection.

In the early years I adopted a 'yes clown' approach to exhibiting, accepting all offers to show, carelessly responding to open-calls and employing guerrilla tactics. The attitude stemmed from a belief that, whether individual groupings like it or not, 'the art system' incorporates a broad spectrum of practices, from supposedly critically engaged work to hobbyist activity. That is not to dismiss the value of important contesting between these different factions.

Work has been shown in project spaces, established locations such as the Whitechapel Art Gallery (London), Lighthouse (Brighton, UK) and Wandesford Quay Gallery (Cork City, Ireland) and, long before the Covid-19 pandemic, using available and invented systems for streaming, distribution and feedback. An early project, Contra-Invention, had been invited to Les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles was later part of From Here On at Arts Santa Mónica, Barcelona and more. I was subsequently invited to join international grouping ABC Artists’ Books Cooperative and, since completing a practice-led PhD in 2016, have been actively intervening both independently, and via a number of collectives, including The London Group, again.

I won a Develop Your Creative Practice (DYCP) grant in 2019. Later support from the Arts Council of Ireland (a Commissions Award and Touring and Dissemination funding) has allowed new work to be produced for a solo exhibition at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre, opening September 17th, which will be shown at Wexford Arts Centre in 2023, and Highlines Gallery, Drogheda in 2023/24.

Past CV and portfolios: 2022, 2019, 2017, and 2014. Academic: profile/writing

Sample writing about, interviews or references to the work:
17-Mar-22 Review/Interview, Ali O'Shea, Tilting at Windmills, Kara Hearn and Mocksim
06-Dec-21 Review (micro-blog), Gallery Dodo, Jon Carritt and Dan Palmer, Instagram post
02-Jul-21 Interview, Uillinn Podcast, Gavin Buckley, Systems Interference Art
12-Jun-21 Interview, University of Sussex symposium, Jason Price, 'Simupoems' call-out, talk, Q&A
22-Jan-21 Interview, Hereford College of the Arts, Daniel Pryde-Jarman, Talk, Q&A
01-Aug-20 Article, Visual Artists Ireland Newsletter, Chris Steenson, Have a great time. Cool! Grand.
17-May-20 Interview, Isolation exhibition talk Q&A, Darren Nisbett, Talk, Q&A
01-Jan-20 Article, Visual Artists Ireland Newsletter, Micheál O'Connell (own), Golf Courses as Wind Farms
21-Nov-19 Referenced, New Tactical Research, David Garcia, Beyond the Evidence
02-Oct-18 Referenced, Fifteen Questions music magazine, Daniel Hignell, Distant Animals
01-Feb-17 Referenced, Contra-Invention, Joan Fontcuberta, From Here On: Postphotography...
01-Jan-16 Referenced, Contra-Invention, Joan Fontcuberta, La furia de las imágenes 2nd edition
17-Oct-15 Proceedings, CHART Conference, Micheál O'Connell (own), Poetics of the Supply Chain
06-Jun-14 Review, Writing in Relation, Yvette Gresle, Missing You and three other initiatives
11-Sep-13 Reviews, various writers in response to prints, Yearly Print project
26-Mar-13 Publication, InterArtive, Special Issue #50 Art + Copyright, Contra-Invention
25-Oct-12 Interview, UCC Radio's Artbeat, Don O'Mahony, Mocksim at Boundary Work II
14-May-12 Review, criticismism II, Mark Sheerin, Trainofthoughts @ The Horse Hospital
30-Aug-11 Review, criticismism II, Mark Sheerin, Contra-Invention
01-Jul-11 Catalogue, C. Chéroux, J. Fontcuberta, E. Kessels, M. Parr, Joachim Schmid, From Here On
16-May-11 Catalogue, Les Recontres Arles Photography and Link 2
10-Mar-08 Review, Huw Bartlett, Feed Lack Loop