Micheál O’Connell/Mocksim: systems interference artist.

Unearthing the poetic in everyday, often imperfect, technologies and systems are key activities. The original aim was to find items of data and digital artefacts, but the interest extends beyond the computational network, to heavier machineries and physical apparatus. Real movements of packages and multifarious vehicles appear on the roads for example, as a direct reflection of the invisible information flowing, and 'packet switching', on digital networks. O'Connell attempted to break the new lower speed limits being introduced in many urban areas (on foot), was ‘onboarded’ as a Deliveroo rider, and exhibited estate agent/auctioneer ‘Sold’ boards on their posts. Right now he is giving attention to the overlapping of functional infrastructures, specifically the road system and wind farms, with other uses of the landscape, namely ball games such as golf and the unusual sport of road bowling. There is often a performative aspect to the interventions or presentation. Methods and documentation are openly shared. Elements from the investigations are sometimes montaged into the short looping films, or simupoems, which have been a consistent feature of the practice (and two of these are part of the late Michael Shamberg's Turtle Salon collection).

For a time he adopted a 'yes clown' approach to exhibiting, accepting all offers to show, employing guerrilla tactics and carelessly responding to open-calls. 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 the 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 Covod-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. O'Connell was subsequently invited to join international grouping ABC Artists’ Books Cooperative and, since completing a practice-led PhD in 2016, has been actively intervening both independently, and as part of collectives, again. In 2019 a Develop Your Creative Practice (DYCP) grant was awarded, and then a Commissions Award by The Arts Council, Ireland to generate new work for a solo exhibition which will take place at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre in 2022.

Short CV: 2020. Past portfolios: 2019, 2017 and 2004-2014. Academic: profile/writing

Sample writing about, interviews or references to the work:
02-Jul-21 Uillinn / West Cork Arts Centre Podcast, Gavin Buckley Interview
12-Jun-21 University of Sussex symposium, Jason Price Talk on 'Simupoems' call-out and Q&A
22-Jan-21 Hereford College of the Arts, Daniel Pryde-Jarman Artist's talk and Q&A
01-Aug-20 Visual Artists Ireland Newsletter, Chris Steenson Have a great time. Cool! Grand.
17-May-20 Isolation exhibition talk Q&A, Darren Nisbett Talk Q&A with Micheál O'Connell
01-Jan-20 Visual Artists Ireland Newsletter, Micheál O'Connell (own) Golf Courses as Wind Farms
21-Nov-19 New Tactical Research, David Garcia Beyond the Evidence
02-Oct-18 Fifteen Questions music magazine, Daniel Hignell Fifteen Questions, Distant Animals
01-Feb-17 Includes Contra-Invention, Joan Fontcuberta From Here On: Postphotography...
01-Jan-16 Refers to Contra-Invention, Joan Fontcuberta La furia de las imágenes 2nd edition
17-Oct-15 CHART Conference, Micheál O'Connell (own) Poetics of the Supply Chain
06-Jun-14 Writing in Relation, Yvette Gresle Missing You and three other initiatives
11-Sep-13 Response to prints, various writers Yearly Print project
25-Oct-12 Interview for 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 Clément Chéroux, J. Fontcuberta, E. Kessels, M. Parr, Joachim Schmid From Here On
16-May-11 Les Recontres Arles Photography Catalogue and Link 2
10-Mar-08 Review, Huw Bartlett Feed Lack Loop