Solstice Art Centre, Navan 12 January – 1 March 2019 The exposé of Cambridge Analytica last year showed us how we are complicit in our own surveillance. It’s no longer just footage from omniscient CCTV that tracks us; self-authored social media data is also capable of being harvested, hacked or stolen. And thanks to unscrupulous but canny work of electioneers, the world now has Trump and Brexit to deal with. As the wordplay in the title suggests, the current exhibition at Solstice surveys surveillance-related art from multiple perspectives. The show originates from Centre Culturel Irlandais Paris – Ireland’s cultural outpost in Europe – and is curated by centre director and Belfast
PÁDRAIG SPILLANE REPORTS FROM BERLIN’S TRANSMEDIALE FESTIVAL 2018 Transmediale Festival 2018: ‘Face Value’ took place from 31 January – 4 February at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. Bearing name changes over its thirty years, transmediale continues to examine and advance understandings regarding how societies absorb technologies. This 31st edition employed the familiar blunt phrase ‘face value’ – the apparent or supposed worth of something – to position multifaceted assessments of relationships with technologies and the influence they have on current cultural and political trajectories. As stated on the festival’s website, transmediale 2018 aimed to “take stock of current affairs, to recognise things for what they are before saying how
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
The audio-essay I recently produced in collaboration with Justin Barton, On Vanishing Land, was in part a disquisition on the eerie.  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
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”.