Under Cover of Night at Ormston House

As part of Belltable Late Night, Ormston House presents Under Cover of Night, a late-night screening programme of artists’ film. The event features a double-bill: Becoming Plant by British-Kenyan artist Grace Ndiritu and Expulsion by Irish artist Caoimhín Gaffney.

‘Under cover of night’ is an idiom used when describing activities carried out during night time hours, in darkness, avoiding detection from authority. The clandestine and revolutionary connotations of this idiom frame this programme. With distinct focuses and subject matters, the films find commonality in their radical propositions for alternative forms of living and being.

A brief introduction precedes each film, and there will be a DJ in the foyer playing music before, between, and after the films. The screening is Friday, 15 March from 9pm–12am. Tickets are €10 and can be purchased on the Belltable website here.

Expulsion (2021) follows a fictional utopian Queer State as it devolves from a promised oppositional force into a dystopian bureaucracy. Interspersed throughout is archival footage of queer activist Joan Jett Blakk, the drag persona of Terence Smith, who ran for President of the USA in 1992. Expulsion navigates through queer history, from the witchcraft trials and the inquisition, to current debates around the co-opting of queerness by capitalism. The optimism and determination seen in the footage of Joan Jett Blakk’s speeches is countered by the fictional queer state depicted by Gaffney, which descends into totalitarianism.

Editioned photographic prints available through Uphold

I can still taste the lake water in my mouth, feel it in my ears, 2023.

Medium format photograph, Giclée printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper, 35 cm x 28.7 cm, edition of 5.

Uphold presents three of my new editioned photographic prints as part of their collection. I’ve developed these medium format photographs over the past year as part of a larger body of work reflecting on the restorative power of nature alongside the reality of climate change – and resulting climate anxiety – through a fragmented representation of the landscape. The photographs engage a quiet register to examine the subject and were shot throughout Ulster: on Rathlin Island and at Lough Sheelin and its adjoining bog in Cavan.

Uphold is an iniative based in Northern Ireland, run by Household, that sells work by contemporary artists in a not-for-profit model: when you buy from Uphold you are directly supporting the artists and their work.

The bog released all that it was holding, 2023.

Medium format photograph, Giclée printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper, 29cm x 35cm, edition of 5.

Emerging too damp to catch fire, 2023.

Medium format photograph, Giclée printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper, 35 cm x 25.6cm, edition of 5.

These works were developed with the support of funding from Platform 31, the University of Atypical and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Purchase editioned photographic prints through Uphold.

It all began with the turlough: broadcast and publication online

A short story I wrote, It all began with the turlough, was shortlisted for the RTÉ Short Story Competition. It all began with the turlough was read on air by Aaron Monaghan and broadcast on Friday 20th October on RTÉ Radio 1.  The judges called it an “extraordinary feat of imagination” and “an original and funny fantasy with a lake as the protagonist”.

Over the past few years, I’ve walked to and photographed a local turlough, sometimes surprised to return to its disappearance. I’m interested in how we view nature as something that should provide us with our wants and needs, and how often we also view it with irritation when it defies or inconveniences us.

Read the full short story here or listen to it on RTÉ. Listen back to an interview about the story on RTÉ’s Arena programme which was broadcast on 20th October 2023.

Bite the Hand that Feeds You, PhotoIreland publication

PhotoIreland’s new publication, Bite the Hand that Feeds you, acts as a record of and reflection on the 2021 festival. Featured in the book is a conversation between myself, Julia Gelezova, and Alice Butler & Daniel Fitzpatrick from aemi. The conversation examines the festival’s theme of food in connection with a screening programme To be Consumed in Totality curated by myself and aemi.

Available from the Library Project.

Artlink residency and screening, Donegal

As part of the Artlink residency at Fort Dunree, a screening of two of my films will be held at Buncrana Cinema on Saturday 12th August at 5pm.

The two short films being screened are: A Numbness in the Mouth is set in a future Ireland where citizens are instructed to excessively consume wheat as the result of a bumper crop. And, Far from the reach of the sun is set in a near future where a drug that can alter your sexuality is marketed to consumers, alongside archival footage reflecting on the church and medical profession’s history of interfering with the lives of LGBTQ+ people.

Total screening time: 40 minutes, followed by a discussion about these two films and how they influenced the work currently being shot on residency in Donegal. Both films are presented with subtitles.

More information on Artlink residency at Fort Dunree.

Curdle at the Courthouse Gallery & Studios, Clare

An exhibition by Caoimhín Gaffney, Bassam Issa Al-Sabah and Jennifer Mehigan at The Courthouse Gallery & Studios, Ennistymon, Clare.

Preview, 6pm, Friday 4th November. Exhibition continues 5th November- 3rd December 2022.

Each artist has a surreal approach to storytelling, with images, texts and voice-overs bending reality to a breaking point; mirroring how trauma distorts, remakes and retells lived experience in its own image. To curdle is to render something ‘wrong’ or ‘bad’, or ‘to spoil’. Curdling represents this condensing of a reality gone sour through the different image-making methods in the exhibition; painting, analogue photography, video, hyperreal CGI and AI-generated images. These distinct approaches are brought together through a unifying impulse of sharing queer experiences. Alongside this, humour, frankness and absurdity appear as queer strategies of resistance.

New and older works by each artist are shown in order to trace the development of these ideas through their practices and across different mediums they have worked with. Caoimhín’s work uses outward-looking satires of geopolitics and capitalism, inward-looking meditations and dreamlike scenes and images to envision alternative ways of being and worlds with their own logic and possibilities. Bassam’s work creates intricate visions of war, resistance and perseverance to examine themes of displacement, nostalgia and personal mythology. Jennifer’s work explores personal and domestic materialities of queerness, grief and horror as they intersect with the screen, and ideas of truth and reality in a space where public and private spheres are constantly colliding with and abstracting each other. 

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