System Interference

The first review of this show is scratched into the dirt on the side of a car parked outside: “This is cool”, it appears to relate to the car. I say ‘parked’. In fact the vehicle is dumped on its roof.

It’s just a silver Toyota but, inverted, it’s become a focal point for local curiosity, eliciting comments, questions and smiles from passersby who might otherwise not notice the gallery.

Thus, Micheál O’Connell interferes with at least one system for the new show System Interference at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre. The passing traffic, complicated by a Yaris.

Inside, the artist props locally-bought sewer and drainage pipes from floor to balcony wall. A cross-sectional diagram reveals how they pass beneath the street outside. Here they evoke arte povera.

The central motif of the show is a toy wind turbine which, by some exasperated irony, runs on a finite supply of non-rechargable batteries. By some twist of magic, these are branded ‘New Leader’.

O’Connell (aka Mocksim) proposes that full scale working wind turbines be installed on some of the world’s many golf courses. More important to save the planet than to improve your handicap.

The miniature wind turbine’s whirr and falter amid a scattering of golf balls in a piece which the artist calls Small Wind Farm (after Ligeti), a composer inspired by mathematical process.

There are 50 turbines and 100 golf balls. Do the maths? 100 New Leaders. But a number of the toys are already powered down and/or toppled. We don’t know where this all will end.

However the artist is diligent in his efforts to connect some things, short circuit others and upset the golfing class. He has camped out, in a cheap tent from Lidl, on a number of Ireland’s beautiful courses.

After pitching up on the greens, he will offer a review on Trip Advisor. QR codes invite you to jump from the gallery space into virtual spaces where O’Connell is trying to jam convention numerous ways.

It is totally quixotic of course. It is tilting at windmills to expect that, in the twenty-first century, a critical gallery show can effect the unpredictable progress of money-flows, data-flows and entropy.

But I will say, like the kid who made his feelings known about an unremarkable car now at a remarkable angle on the forecourt of this striking two storey space, this is cool. I like what it’s driving at.

System Interference by Micheál O’Connell/Mocksim is viewable at Uillinn: West Cork Arts Centre, Skibbereen, Eire, until October 26 2022. Gallery website is here.

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