Limerick, Ireland
Oonagh O'Brien, Owl, 2008, video installation, 5 minutes 2 seconds

Oonagh O’Brien

b. 1977, Ireland

I am attempting to examine the science of the lens-based image. The lens-based image in its current digital incarnation leaves a legacy of process in its wake. Through mechanisms of current mass production, I am attempting to begin dialogues between both the analogue and digital phases of image formation.

My artistic endeavours thus far have led me to examine the moment when an image becomes a moving image. I have been using the early visual experiments by photographers such as Eadweard Muybridge as a basis for this. It is interesting to note, through these works, how such moving images walk the line between artwork and experiment. The terminology of such works introduces the notion of the persistence of vision. This can be said to be the phenomenon of apparent motion. It describes the retention in the eye of an image rendered for the smallest fraction of a moment in order to correspond and connect with the image that preceded it, and so on, in order to create movement.

Owl is designed to look and be looked at. As the protagonist of the work stares down the camera lens, it also stares out through the projector – its means of reproduction. As it surveys its audience and surroundings, twisting its head and rotating its neck, it attempts to create contemplation about the mechanisms of its visual purpose. The eye, being the original apparatus of image selection and record, is the basis for the persistence of vision. In this instance, it is controlled and converted by its captor, the digital video.

(Text: e v+ a – matters catalogue, 2010)

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