Foundations (2022)

Medium: Three channel video running sequentially (no sound); running time: 14 minutes

In the months after my father passed away suddenly in October 2019, I began painting with watercolours in small sketchbooks. The practice was simply therapeutic — I am not a trained painter and do not use it as a regular medium. However, at that time, the fluid dynamics of the medium appealed to me. I was intrigued by the flow of colour across the page as it pooled and whirled through its own watery ecosystem. It is a quality I have always wanted to translate into the digital. I found that by supersaturating video clips in contrasting colours (yellow and blue; green and magenta; red and cyan) and then using data moshing, I was able to develop a certain visual instability evocative of watercolours.

Foundations is the result of this experimentation. It takes the form of a video triptych: Roots Grasp, Soil Gives Way, and Gravity Takes Hold, comprised of footage shot at Mullaghmeen forest (the largest planted beech forest in Ireland), Fore Abbey (a 7th century Benedictine Abbey near where I live), and a pre-famine cottage that is being restored to become our family home, all within Co. Westmeath, Ireland. These are sites steeped with history, but also common play areas that my family and I visit on a regular basis. The videos are set to play on individual monitors, one at time, sequentially, creating a narrative arch that evokes fantasy and fairy tales, but only implied through imagery as there is no clear, definitive story.

This work was developed for and is being exhibited in the solo exhibition PseudoRandom at the Emerson Contemporary Media Art Gallery (Boston, MA), curated by Leonie Bradbury (January to March 2023).