I Wanted to Write a Poem

Jonathan Mayhew, Wexford Arts Centre, 27 February – 25 March 2017

[Infinite Jest] can’t be read at a crowded cafe, or with a child on one’s lap.

Dave Eggers

WINNER of the 2015 Emerging Visual Artist Award, Jonathan Mayhew is one of those artists whose work requires a space where you can hear a pin drop. Wexford Art Centre (WAC) is not that space. Perhaps Mayhew’s exhibition of new work would have fared better in the attention stakes during the recession, when such regional art centres were empty saloons in ghostly Westworlds. During my visit, the endless stream of visitors to the cafe and the hoofing of piano peddles with woohooing children upstairs was a sign of the times. But, there is a big BUT to all of this, which I will get to later.

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Imperfect Loops & Screen Memories

The audio-essay I recently produced in collaboration with Justin Barton, On Vanishing Land, was in part a disquisition on the eerie. [1] For us, the eerie was defined by problems of agency. In the deserted spaces which often trigger the feeling of the eerie, we are forced to ask if there is an agent present, unseen but watching us. If an agent is present, what is its nature? Is it hostile, friendly, or merely indifferent? The feeling of the eerie is also likely to be provoked by the contemplation of the relics left behind by agents who have long departed. The statues on Easter Island, the stone circle at Avebury – these confront us with gaps in our knowledge. What kind of agents built these constructions, and what (now irretrievably lost) symbolic regime made sense of them?

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The Saw Tooth Wave/Put to the Sword

Benedict Drew/Miguel Martin, CCA Derry-Londonderry, 15 October – 11 December

I recently took a ‘How Millennial Are You?’ personality quiz while I should have been searching for a job, if you can digest the irony. “You are asleep. Where’s your phone?” was one memorable question. There could only be one answer: “On the pillow next to me”.

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