MA Art In The Digital World NCAD Graduate Exhibition 2013
My work interweaves biographical narratives with hidden autobiographical observations/statements creating multi-layered works that bridge documentary and fiction, sometimes through unconscious intuitive means.My research over the last two years explores Memory, Memorial and Memorabilia, focusing on the object as a vehicle to tell a story . Using mechanics, electronics and interactive sensors I am attempting to instill artificial life in to an object through the use of movement and interaction with the audience ‘to put the viewer in their shoes’. I want the work to act as a catalyst to acknowledge and remember particular stories and represent missing women globally. Creating a moving memorial.
You have the same profile, young, attractive females, who have all disappeared inside a very close geographical triangle. The common denominator is there’s no evidence left behind, there’s no evidence at all.
No shoe, no belt, no purse, no watch, nothing,”
-Brian McCarthy private investigator hired by family of missing American woman Annie McCarrick who disappeared in the Wicklow 1993.
My connection stems back to a particular case in 1995 when JoJo Dullard a 21 year old disappeared while hitchhiking from Dublin to her home in Co. Kilkenny. The story resonated with me, as I was a young female hitchhiking to my hometown the other side of the country on the same day she disappeared (hitchhiking was my mode of transport as a student through out the 90’s).
The disappearance of a young vulnerable female made any imagined fears one might have had a reality and this case signified for me how times had changed forever on this tiny island. The phenomenon of missing women was no longer an abstract foreign occurrence.
I was struck by the lack of evidence found in any of these cases and how time seemed to ‘stand still’ with only vague information of their last known whereabouts. Their stories were kept alive in my memory as each new unsolved case was disclosed. Over the years as I have encountered abandoned articles of clothing or lone shoes tossed to the side of the road, these females have come to mind, their names forevermore synonymous and defined by their mysterious disappearance.
The work consists of 6 pairs of shoes (second hand chosen by the artist) representing the 6 high profile missing females in question.The sets of shoes sit on a lino covered floor each spot lit in a 20ftx9ft dark cold bunker like space.. one person at a time is allowed to enter the room to experience the work fully. The arrangement of the shoes in the installation corresponds to locations on a map of Ireland where the women disappeared. When you walk into the space and the door shuts behind you, you are confronted with six pairs of shoes that suddenly click together in the iconic Wizard of Oz movement. As the viewer walks close to each pair of shoes they come to life, clicking their heels together each pair having their own personality and distinctive motion.
The clicking movement of the shoes and the title of the work is an obvious reference to The Wizard of Oz ,but .. these shoes do not have the magical ability to transport the wearer back home to their loved ones.