Brian Duggan × Caroline Cowley
For this film released in 2011, Duggan has mapped a curious journey through Fingal citing E.M. Forster`s 1909 short novella The Machine Stops as a guiding text to develop a way of re-looking and re-thinking the landscape and the physical changes that have occurred in the county. The film takes in a 44km topographical section of Fingal, starting on one end on Colt Island, Skerries and the other at the Huntstown quarry. Parts of these unfamiliar territories recall the journey by Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth by Nicholas Roeg 1976), however, the specific recognisable signs from Fingal ground the story in tangible fixed points but without fixing the time or place. The film has returned to my mind many times this year reminding us of the prophetic nature of art, from Forster to Duggan with over 100 years between their outputs we find ourselves, like our protagonist cast adrift to navigate the limits of digital empathy through technological portals and journeys through empty present and post landscapes ; mirroring our own experiences in 2020. At the time of the commission in 2009, the country was gripped by recession when jobs were ravaged, building production halted and where the artist then, as now has the ability to represent something of both our societal anxiety and our own collective resilience against global forces, the machine may have stopped but art will continue to move.
O'Machine O'Machine, was a Per Cent for Art commission for Fingal County Council. The commission included a book featuring new writing by Fingal writers - Daniel Boland, Pauline O’Hare, Niamh MacAlister, and including Brian Duggan with afterward contribution by Francis McKee
Caroline Cowley is the Public Art Co-ordinator with Fingal County Council whose projects include Resort Residency at Lynders Mobile Home Park, THE HIDE PROJECT with artist Garrett Phelan. She is currently the chair of Pallas Studios/Projects.
Brian Duggan lives and works in Dublin. Working from extensive research, the artist navigates unusual cracks and problems within particular structural frameworks, taking both personal testimonies, throw away comments and official documents to build and explore overlooked situations. He has undertaken residencies in UCD School of science, ISCP New York, IMMA, and CCI Paris. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Hugh Lane Gallery, the OPW national collection, Trinity College Dublin, the National portrait collection, the Arts Council and the Irish Museum of Modern Art as well as private collections in Ireland and Europe.
Selected solo exhibitions include: Project Dublin, Crawford Art Gallery, Balzer Projects Basel, Art Brussels, POSITIONS Berlin, Art Rotterdam, ISCP New York, Limerick City Gallery, Visual, Carlow, RUARED, Crawford Gallery Cork, Irish Museum of Modern Art Process room, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. He was the co-Founder and co-Curator/Director of the multi platform artist-run Pallas Heights–Studios–Projects in Dublin from 1996 to 2009 with artists Mark Cullen and Gavin Murphy. His work is represented by Balzer Projects, Basel, Switzerland.