Micheál O’Connell

London, United Kingdom

Micheál O’Connell a.k.a. Mocksim has exhibited in locations as diverse as Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, the online world Second Life and a campsite in Venice. Typically he produces short looping films and directed performances which are presented together with appropriated objects, imagery or data. Contra-Invention (an exhibition of the photographs traffic wardens take as proof of parking violation) was invited to Les Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles 2011, subsequently nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2012 and part of From Here On at Arts Santa Mónica, Barcelona in 2013. Thanks to Arts Council England and other funding sources the show also toured Britain and Ireland in 2012/13.

The original catalogue for Contra-Invention was included in Martin Parr’s Best Book List in 2010 and O’Connell is now part of of ABC Artists’ Books Cooperative which advocates the use of Print on Demand approaches as well as querying the status of publishing and book production generally. Work from his recent project Missing You was exhibited in Macclesfield, supported again by Arts Council England, in 2014.

A public event was run to coincide with the show, entitled From Jacquard to JPEG, at the famous Silk Heritage Centre with artists Rut Blees Luxemburg and Mishka Henner. In recent months the artist’s film Delivering was screened in Birmingham as part of Turtle Salon, initiated by producer and director Michael Shamberg, and along with another work Recay is now formally part a that collection. Strategies include investigation of everyday functional processes, attempts to misunderstand (or re-understand), tinkering with systems and inventing new routines and procedures of various sorts.

The mediation of human relationships through technology, the curious dynamics, feedback loops involved and ritualistic aspects are of more interest than any concern about what is ominous, worries about surveillance say. Mocksim/O’Connell’s focus is on the inevitable elements of madness and stupidity within the contemporary industrialised and networked landscape despite the apparent sophistication, and in seeing the glitches as somehow fabulous.