I had work lined up at the Arts Centre in Wexford for the second week of the Easter break. We’re installing the annual Living Arts Schools Programme exhibition. Every year a group of artists are selected to work in schools, in or near Wexford where they conduct a programme of art education, often in a medium connected with their practice. This year we had a ton of prints of different kinds, t-shirts, ceramics and animations.
Since returning from Paris I think I may have had a breakthrough of sorts. The research I had been exploring up until now was leading on from a photography project where I was looking at the spiritual in a secularized society. I was also interested in the uptake in new wave spiritualism and the connection or blurring of this with conspiracy theories. A common theme with both of these is a desire for, or adoption of, the miraculous, magical thinking, ritual and shamanistic leaders. There is a connection here with my undergraduate work where I imagined the inhabitants of a ruined future fetishizing the remnants of the old world and using them in their rituals to make sense of a lost unknowable past. I’ve always had a keen interest in alternative timelines, dystopias and the power of science fiction as parable. I had this in mind when re-reading The Copernicus Complex, a book by the astrobiologist Caleb Scharf. It is about our place in the universe and the possibility of life existing elsewhere. When reading it I was struck by monumental leap in human thought made possible by a simple device, the lens. This ability to engage in expanded seeing into the minute and the cosmic shook European Society and kick started the early modern period.