Missing You: In late 2012 I repeatedly missed a parcel being delivered to my home. After studying the ‘Sorry We Missed You’ cards left after each unsuccessful delivery, I realised I was able to track the packages movements; in this case, the times, dates and locations as it travelled from distribution centre to warehouse to my home and back to warehouse each subsequent time we had failed to meet. Eventually I was there to sign for the parcel, and, perhaps in need of remote confirmation that I was holding the parcel in my hands, checked the tracking system again. Alongside the usual information, I saw a small .jpg image of the signature I’d just left; a Point of Delivery (POD) signature. I keyed in an invented consignment number and saw the parcel information for a stranger; the times, movements and their similar JPEG image.
Micheál O’Connell a.k.a. Mocksim has exhibited widely for over a decade at various locations including the Whitechapel Gallery, London, the on-line world Second Life and a campsite in Venice. More recently, his 2011 series Contra-Invention was presented at the Les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles and he was subsequently nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012. Contra- Invention is now touring Europe as part of a group exhibition, From Here On, most recently at Arts Santa Mónica, Barcelona. In 2012, it was exhibited in Macclesfield, Bolton, Lincoln and Cork City, Ireland (supported by CIT/Wandesford Quay gallery). The original catalogue for Contra-Invention was included in Martin Parr’s Best Books 2010.
In response to the question “How do you describe your practice?”:
My mode of working involves firstly observation, gathering materials, objects, ideas, equations even, creating something I may have to accept as overwhelming and then distilling from that individual (effectively minimalist) works. Formal considerations are important in exhibiting: the intention is rarely to provide evidence of an entire process.
I can frame this work in a number of ways, for example in terms of medium or the arenas I know best: digital tools for simulation and animation or photography. Relating art to ‘skills’ in this way keeps a certain kind of critic at bay but clearly the techniques employed are not always fundamental, in fact expertise can be a barrier. Typically what emerge are short looping films or ritualistic performances presented in conjunction with selected collected objects.
Another way I structure my activity is in terms of the idea of Feedback Loops. Circuits of this type are seen as intelligent in that they self-regulate but can also implode, act stupidly and fail spectacularly. I am interested in the communicative flow between entities, between people too, mediated through things, and including what is reflected back. My work is fundamentally observational but also about prodding or tickling in order to upset the equilibrium in these looping relationships (I think).
Yearly Print (Each year the next frame from a simulation is rendered to create a large print)