Follow

Artwork in progress about technology and more-than-human impacts 

From November 2021 to February 2022, I have been working on a project about the nonhuman voices that were uprooted from Poulaphuca in Wicklow, Ireland, when the valley was flooded to create a hydroelectric power station.

My work is using philosophy (Simone Weil, Vinciane Despret, Donna Haraway) to look at the unintended consequences of technological development on nonhuman critters in the area.

Artwork in progress about technology and more-than-human impacts 

I learned that the Púca, a trickster figure from Irish mythology, was fabled to live in the King's River, one of those rivers that was dammed. He takes many forms, but in this story he was in the form of a metre long pike, a fish that is still found in the river and reservoir.

I am arguing that this mischievous critter was given free reign to swim out into the world via the electrical system that was established in the 1940s.

Artwork in progress about technology and more-than-human impacts 

Within this area are some extraordinary remnants of the valley from before it was flooded.

Probably most striking of all are the creatures that I call "Snámhaire" (the Irish for a "crawler" or creeping thing). These monstrous objects are the result of trees that have been cut down to avoid snagging boats on the newly formed lake. Their roots have been exposed by the erosion of the flood water.

Artwork in progress about technology and more-than-human impacts 

Thinking about erasure and uprootedness, I have been making objects related to this for an exhibition in Blessington, Wicklow, in February 2022.

My process begins with sketches and quick paintings, getting an understanding of the objects.

While I do this, I continue to read. I took a deep interest in the poems "Ozymendias" by Shelley and Smith from the early 19th Century, about time's way of erasing civilisations.

Artwork in progress about technology and more-than-human impacts 

This leads to installations. I am creating a painting and an underwater system of fibre-optic lights that will be controlled by an Arduino. This ties together the passage of time, uprootedness, mythology (which will feature in the painting) and technology.

With four weeks to go, this is the first piece coming together.

Artwork in progress about technology and more-than-human impacts 

@ephemeral Thanks a lot for sharing! Was the hydroelectric power station built to provide electricity to the entire region? Or did the households already have electricity at that time?

Artwork in progress about technology and more-than-human impacts 

@jine

It was to provide regional electrical power, mostly to nearby Dublin City. At the time (1930s) it was a big engineering job but also an important nationalistic statement for the newly independent Irish Free State.

It was controversial locally because so many humans had to be evicted. But I'm looking from a different perspective.

I've also brought in two other artists, whose work I'll share here in the coming weeks.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
mograph.social

mograph.social is a Mastodon server for the motion design community. VFX artists, 3D artists, animators, designers and illustrators with an interest in moving images are all welcome.