In addition to the exhibition and symposium, a companion book, This ‘Me’ of Mine: Self, Time and Context in the Digital Age, will be published. More than an exhibition catalogue, the book will present the cross-disciplinary engagement of the project as a whole. The heart of the book will be based around the artist interviews in their full versions and will include essays from the symposium panellists and guest writers, Paul O’Kane, Gen Doy, author of Picturing the Self, and Becky Huff Hunter. Becky also interviews me as artist in the show and curator of the project.
To help us get an idea of potential interest in the book, please sign up to the This ‘Me’ of Mine Companion Book by following this link or at the bottom of the page. You will not be obliged in any way by signing up, it is a simple head count and means to contact you when the book is available.
In an effort to make the interviews easy to access and to get an idea of their relationships to one another, here is the growing list of artist interviews. We hope you will enjoy reading them as much as we have enjoyed doing them.
As an adult, I have not always been able to pursue things as I would like because of limitations in my circumstances. I have had to find alternative ways to make things happen in order to achieve the things I wanted to achieve for myself. I’ve also had to continually measure my own understanding of who I am as an individual with how others see me or against what was expected of me. So the topic of self in relation to context is also a very personal one for me.
When I was younger I remember it completely blowing my mind when I first realised that every person I walked past in the street every day was as much of a person as me, with at least as many thoughts in their heads as I had. I suppose this is just an extension of that kind of thinking – I love the thought that each person in every photo in every newspaper has just as much interesting stuff going on in their lives as the individual who is the focus of the story.
I think we have to be in the ‘right’ place both internally and externally and that’s when a conversation occurs. For me self-recognition through the external is experienced in its ‘purest’ form when we are here, now, rather than through our pasts or futures. We can be taken off guard by something, something perhaps poetic that throws us into the present. Whatever that something is, we just have to come into relationship with it.
I think that pop culture in general is just a wrapper for supplying the things that the market demands – i.e. what we want. These things do not change much; they are excitement, desire, escapism etc. So with this in mind I let my self lead the direction of my work by following what it is that I am drawn to.
Uniforms are dehumanising. All efforts to look individual are squashed, psychologically removing one’s identity in favour of a unified group, at once protecting the individual amongst a sea of sameness but also providing one’s enemies with one huge target. Like a flock of birds or a school of fish, there is safety in numbers, but one is not safe. My purpose is to bring the focus back onto the individual within the group, and what a lonely situation it is to be in.
The personal stories people tell are fascinating to me, they announce who they would like to be and often contrast with how others might perceive them to actually be…My stepfather has dementia and no longer knows who I am. He was a POW in WWII and now when he talks about his time there it’s based on the plot of The Great Escape. I think we have always been characters in our own fairy tale.
“Popular culture, the media, and more recently the proliferation of communication media surround us, influencing how we navigate our world. Perception may be altered through both amalgamation over time and also via direct sensory input or experience, we know that we are operating within electronic networks but I don’t think anybody actually sits down and thinks about that directly!”
“I use this vast mass of memorabilia to tease out and present my memories of childhood and family relationships, conscious of the distorted effect that time can have on real, authentic memory. I’m fascinated by what the objects we surround ourselves with say about us; steeped in social and political history they are a part of our identity, providing us with a sense of self and revealing our connections to the wider world.”
“I mean, the essence of being female or male is different and I feel it is important to struggle to understand more precisely the positions of men and women within these boundaries. My point of view is as a woman. I can’t understand my own vulnerability and the vulnerability of women without understanding the vulnerability of men.”
“From my point of view, the passage of time is interesting because it is within a space of time that metamorphosis and transformation can occur…I think that time is inescapably relevant to the self because it is within time that a self is built or deconstructed, subjected to the violence of existence, and within which the self moves, inevitably, towards death.”
“All that is visible is a barely responsive exterior… This indifference, characteristic to the figures in my paintings, suggests the social is almost taken away. You wonder what is revealed in this state of consciousness, just mindless projections on to others perhaps.”
“Perhaps what’s missing is what’s outside that loop or the fear of its ceasing to be a loop and become something that runs forward in time. All those fears and hopes, everything the intimacy within the home brings, begins to open up to a greater loss and eventually time will bring the loss of things because of the infinite nature of time; everything outside of time is infinite.”
“At art college we were encouraged to self-analyse our output and I found myself not fully understanding how I travelled from initial concept to final outcome. So, now I find it useful to think of myself as a black box where every new line of enquiry has the potential to reveal more of my inner (often hidden) self and my motivations for doing what I do.”
“Initially it was very important to move away from outward observation, it came out of necessity for me, and I had to close myself off from the real world for a while although outward observation is creeping back into the work acting as little anchors.”
“But it may be that without meaning there is only space, so in a sense I make my paintings by accident, but knowingly so. The central space created by painting ‘at the periphery’ has a tension that is constantly pregnant with possibility. In order to remain so, the tensions of space are never resolved, but continue and it is this continued lack of resolution that forms the overall content of the picture.”