Project Arts Council Commissions: Systems Interference
Work supported by a Commissions Award (The Arts Council of Ireland, An Chomhairle Ealaíon) was exhibited at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre in September-October 2022. Touring and Dissemination funding also meant that 'System Interference
' travelled to Wexford Arts Centre, August-October 2023, and will open at Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda in November 2023. 'The collection is mainly a mashup of three elements relating to aspects of the contemporary landscape: the increasing presence of wind farms, the road system with its traffic flows which have crept up over a century, and observations on ball-games, specifically golf and the unusual sport of road bowling. Substantial sculptural pieces include an arrangement of the typical pipes used for sewerage, electricity, water etc. which are embedded underneath roads, an upturned car, large inflatable wind turbine models and a toy wind farm with golf balls distributed about the battery powered turbines.
A number of works arose out of the thought experiment that golf courses could be converted into wind farms, and the game adjusted to suit (title: Turbogolf). For some years O'Connell has been posting proposals for this new game on TripAdvisor (in place of reviews) together with mockup images. In many cases the proposals have remained for golf resorts in Ireland and beyond, including Trump International in Dubai, and a resort found in what used to be part of the Amazon rain forest.
Part of his work in Skibbereen was to interrogate the Uillinn building itself and the area around, via a series of exercises in order to find ready-made work and include site-specific elements. Arguably, there is a serious dimension to the work in terms of environmental concerns, the democracy or lack of it in decision making, what is given priority and what is not. A number of other works, printed material, sound recordings and the signature "simupoems" - short moving image pieces which play in loop mode - are included as well as interactive elements and ways in which the exhibition, through planned events, has reach beyond the institution.'