No Shade in the Shadows, Colin Crotty, Sirius Arts Centre, 14th May

No Shade in the Shadows, Colin Crotty

The paintings in this well presented show had a dream-like timeless quality, yet still felt current and contemporary.  Flashes of pastel colour and subtle iridescent paint skillfully floated like gossamer layers, seemingly hovering just above the canvas surface.  Areas of precise detail were balanced with expanses of colour and painterly marks that felt like a notion being formulated or a musing on a lazy sunny afternoon.  There is a gentle tension in this  ‘something about to be realised’ and ‘timeless musing’, both in the subject matter and the treatment of the paint.   They are skillful and a delight to behold.






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Placing Practice with Jesse, May 10th

Placing Practice 10th May

Both myself and Vicky gave feedback on the group’s suggested artists which they felt were relevant to our work.

Vicky’s subject matter of artists who work with live animals proved to be quite emotive and I was surprised at myself at the strength of my revolution and how upset I was by some of the ‘art’.

Following  a break we watched ‘Nostalgia’ by Hollis Frampton, which was intriguing and distracting, as well as appealing to a wide range of our concerns and practices

Afterwards Jesse filled us in on what will be happening over the summer months and what happens in general in relation to Placing Practice and the autumn classes with her

  • one third of the Placing Practice marks go towards the report (May 10th)
  • two thirds of Placing Practice goes towards the presentation in September. This will be a report of the summer research and any conclusions reached.
  • This can take the form of documentation or a report .
  • Therefore, all placing practice activities should be concluded by the end of the summer in order to report back to the group
  • It should discuss what learning happened and what has shifted in the artwork as a result of these collaborations
  • Also important is how the other professional’s viewpoints as changed.
  • This will take the form of a 10 minute presentation and follow up questions


  • She also mentioned that we all should look up the work of artist Anri Sala 
Anri Sala - Le Clash - still
Anri Sala – Le Clash – still
  • In September, we will be doing the Productions module with Jesse.
  • This module will be about us as a group putting together the show and mediating the supporting material, which is usually a publication and or a video piece.
  • She advised that we visit as many exhibitions as possible over the summer and collect their supporting material like catalogues, posters etc
  • She advised that we visit EVA and be aware of the curatorial framework and the mediation material.
  • Think about what is our shared curatorial enquiry.
  • We will be expected to conduct a case study of a gallery that we visit.
  • Productions – shared space – ecology of our peers – what is our shared thesis curatorially
  • Basically, what is our shared framework
  • What are some of the ideas we care about as a group?
  • Think of our curatorial questions
  • Think of someone who could do a write up of our work -ie
  • – Dawn Williams, Stephen Brandes, Mac Pacer (?) etc
  • Niall Sweeney = designer
  • Proposition of shared critical (who is writing our crit.), curatorial (space, design) concerns
  • Curators to research – Tessa Gibbon – Charles Estia (?) – Allegra Presenti
  • – Stuart Commer – Stephen Kanes – curators for the moving image


  • Research a curator – track them

Placing Practice Report, May 10th 2016


Placing Practice – Report – May 10th 2016

  • 1:  Overall trajectory of the research and why it is important to my work

I am investigating concepts of light, sight, perception and cognition and whilst some of my pursuits are scientific in nature, my work attempts to draw in the viewer to offer a sense of alternate reality and to subtly nudge  them to examine his or her senses are pre-conceived norms.  I do this primarily through playing with and manipulating light with various lenses and optics.  I work with, among  other media, video and sound, as well as photography sculpture and installation work.

The overall trajectory of my research is to gain different view points on Light, Sight and Perception.  I have contacted the following :

  1. John Justice – Photonics expert in Tyndall, Cork
  2. Dr Marcin Szczerbinski – lecturer of Psychology in UCC
  3. Neuroscients Dr Andrew Allen and Dr Annalisa Setti , UCC
  4. Blackrock Castle Observatory (for a astronomical and physics aspects of light as well as their views on the role of cognition and perception in cosmology) – various staff members.
  5. Optometrist Derbhla Murray, Vision Express, Cork
  6. I also contacted Dzogchen Beara in regards to meditation and the ‘inner eye’. I sent a letter of introduction and await their reply

I am interested in such visually based phenomena such as Charles Bonnet Syndrome, synesthesia, hallucinations and occurrences that gives the feeling of slippage from stable perception to a realm of the unusual.  I am particularly interested in how a ‘healthy’ brain can be ‘tricked’ or forced to evaluate their notion of the ‘real’.  I have chosen to do this primarily through the visual, as it can be considered to be our dominant sense in our ocularcentric society.

As such, I am meeting with the various professions mentioned above in order to gain a greater understanding of the various aspect of vision – light, sight and cognition/perception.  As the artist in this grouping, I hope to make the connection between these various professionals and ask them evocative questions that may not be directly involved in their field, but that will facilitate a cross fertilisation.  Thus I have prepared questions for the various staff at Blackrock Castle that will encourage them to give thought to the cognitive aspect to their scientific work.  I probed the psychologist about neuroscience and I hope to draw the neuroscientist out on aspects of light properties and aspects of meditation.  The optician is very interested in cognition and neuroscience and gave me some vital information to my research.  Of course, I have also gleaned information from these professionals in their area of expertise.

I am hoping that the information that I obtain from the various professionals will give me a strong foundation for a creative translation of their input.

  • 2:  How are the interjections informing my work – outline briefly what stage the enquiry is at


The research to date has already informed my work and has focused my research and practice.  I started with a scientifically based enquiry into the properties of light in a physical way and it has developed into an exploration about perception/cognition, primarily through the sense of sight.   I am also drawn to explore work and phenomena  that gives the feeling of slippage from stable perception into a realm of the unusual/unusual.   John Justice has informed me on the practical side of working with lasers and we brainstormed various light based ideas.  The meeting with Dr Marcin proved to be a great source of the idea of slippage and neurological shift.  Optometrist Derbhla Murray was very knowledgeable on sight based phenomena such as Charles Bonnet Syndrome and research into the link between depression and Ophthalmology


What stage is the enquiry at:

I have had several conversations with John Justice and I had one site visit to Tyndall in February.  John has also visited me in my studio April 10th to discuss my work and the possible use of photonics, holograms etc. (see Attachment A).   We also discussed cognitive elements, which John is very interested in and is informed in his own right in the area.  John would like to keep the collaboration going and enjoys the artistic/creative side of ‘playing’ with lasers etc, as well as discussions on cognition and perception.


I have had a meeting  in my studio with Dr Marcin Szczerbinski  on April 14th.  I had emailed him a list of questions which he researched.    This was audio recorded and transcribed (see attachment B).  As well as giving me valuable solid information, Dr Szczerbinski also conveyed personal stories of affect in art and described moments of slippage when his sense of perception was interrupted and he was transported to a place of awe.  I hope to use these stories in some way (on gaining his permission, of course), either in an auditory way or by visually emulating the situation and emotions he expressed.

Dr Szczerbinski  is keen for further interventions.  He is away on business at the moment until June.  We are in email correspondence in the interim.


I have had an initial meeting with Clair McSweeney (centre manager), Alan Giltinan (Systems Manager), Dr Niall Smith (head of BCO) and Denis Walsh (astronomy outreach worker and micro-biologist) on April 22nd.  This was a very fruitful meeting and they are very keen to continue a collaboration.   I also had a brief impromptu meeting with Niall Smith (Head of BCO)  (Please see Attachment C)


I had an impromptu discussion with Derbhla Murray, an optometrist with Vision Express, while getting a routine eye check-up.  I briefly described my project and she was very interested in my enquiries into perception and cognition.  She has a keen personal interest in the field and is willing to help me with my enquiry, in terms of passing on information on  Ophthalmology and neuroscientific articles she has read.  I plan to revisit Ms Murray soon in order to firm up this connection.


I have emailed neuroscientists Dr  Andrew Allen and Dr Annalisa Setti and both are very keen for a collaboration.  I sent them a link to my college website and they are interested in the aesthetic of my enquiry.   I recently sent them a follow up email with a list of questions  attached.  I will have a meeting based on these questions with Dr Allen on Friday, May 13th.  It is hoped that Dr Setti will also be able to attend this meeting.


I have also contacted Dzogchen Beara, Buddhist retreat centre, outlining my practice and the parameters of a possible collaboration.  Included in this email was a list of proposed questions for an interview.  I await their reply.



  1. Summary of how this enquiry will unfold during the summer. What are the key activities
  2. I will meet with neuroscientists on Friday 13th May. I have emailed them a list of questions and hope to interview them broadly based on this.  This initial meeting will be in UCC but I intend to invite them to my studio so they can gain a better insight into my work practices
  3. I would like to have a meeting with a member of staff at Dzogchen Beara, more than likely in the retreat centre. I would like to gain permission to audio record the Buddhist chantings to include as part of my work.  I also would like to create an installation in their Buddhist prayer room based loosely on my end of semester studio practice piece.  I will ask for feedback from participants on the meditative quality of this piece, especially from a ocular point of view.
  4. I would like to have follow up meetings with John Justice and Derbhla Murray in the near future. These meetings would be informal and, particularly in the case of John, hands-on exploration and experimentations with lasers and lenses.
  5. I will follow up with Blackrock Castle Observatory. I emailed them a list of enquiries on April 27th and once they have had a chance to process this, I will arrange an interview based on these questions.  I also want to obtain more audio and visual recordings of their space.
  6. I envisage a situation where I would facilitate a gathering of some or all of the various participants and professionals to participate in discussions around light, sight, perception and cognition.  I would like to involve some creative activities in this workshop, which I would facilitate to explore the theme from a creative stand-point.  I would hope to video or photograph the hands-on creativity, as well as record the more formal discussions.  These discussions will be held in a round-table type scenario, probably in the project area of the MA studio space.   I would hope that this ‘gathering’ would create an atmosphere of knowledge sharing and could led to future, more formal events.  I have pencilled in August as the timeframe for this venture.


I have had several informal discussions with some of the participants in this project, as well as more formal recorded meetings.  These informal discussions are on-going and take the form of direct conversation, emails correspondence and phone conversations.

I sent introductory emails explaining my project and follow up emails with specified queries.


I have audio recorded the meeting with Dr Marcin Szczerbinski and transcribed the main findings (see attachment B).  I had initially compiled a list of questions from which we based our meeting.


The meeting at Blackrock Castle was the initial ‘meet and greet’ gathering.  I took notes at the main meeting and photographed the working offices and the environs of the observatory (see attachment C).   I also took some audio recordings of the various machines used.  I hope to revisit the observatory to gain further photos, videos and audio recordings.

I have sent Blackrock Castle observatory a list of questions.  I hope to audio record the meeting/s based on this, as well as perhaps getting written feedback.  I am going to scale back the initial proposal with Blackrock Castle Observatory and suggest to them that I could be more involved in Science week 2017, but for this year, the reprecosity would be their interaction in my proposed interactive workshop during the summer.

Some meetings happened serendipitously, such as the meeting with Optometrist Derbhla Murray, and indeed initial contact with Dr Marcin Szczerbinski was a chance meeting but was then formalised through email correspondence.


The information that I am gathering from these various professionals will feed into my practice, both in terms of ideas and gaining a firm scientific foundation on which to base my art work.  An example of this could be video  or photographic work based on synaesthesia or Charles Bonnet syndrome based on information gained from the optician and the neuroscientists.  I hope to gain some information about light and light based cosmological phenomena from Blackrock Castle Observatory.  This will also feed into my work, firstly by bringing a scientific aesthetic and also informing me of the external quality of light.  The meeting with Dr Marcin Szczerbinski has already proved to be a source of visual information and research.

As mentioned above, I would hope to cumulate this enquiry in a workshop where I would bring together all the knowledge bases.  I have years of experience in programming and facilitating creative workshops and hope to use this knowledge to create a fun and informative atmosphere for the participants.   I will also keep written reports of the various meetings and interventions.





General musings about my work – 12 weeks in

I feel that I have grounded myself in my research.  My work started as a scientific investigation of light and sight but has moved more towards cognition and perception.  I find myself drawn towards phenomena such as mediation and hallucinations, such as those  brought on by Charles Bonnet syndrome.  I am experimenting with installation to bring an  immersive quality to the work.   Video work and photography are the predominant tools that I seem to be using at the moment.  I am happy with the direction that my investigations are bringing me.  I would like to get in touch with sketching more during the summer, as I feel my back-up work is mainly photography and video at the moment and while there is nothing wrong with this, I feel that the direct and immersive nature of drawing will bring another element to the work.

I have meetings lined up with neuroscientists  as part of Placing Practice and I have emailed Dzochgen Beara, a Buddhist Retreat Centre in West Cork.  I am excited about the outcomes of these meetings and what layers they could add to my work.

I am looking forward to the summer semester and the paring back of my part-time jobs which should give me more time to dedicate to my studio work.  I feel that the act of writing the thesis will also help me formulate my thoughts in relation to my studio work.

Here’s to semester 2!

Artists who work with perception

Jason Padgett


Nicholas Wade

Nicholas Wade is a British psychologist and academic. He is an emeritus professor in the psychology department of the University of Dundee in Scotland. Wade has published widely on perception and vision and has collaborated with artists such as Patrick Hughes and Calum Colvin. His research interests include the representation of space and motion in human vision and the relationship between visual science and visual art. One of his aims is to foster a closer association between the graphical language of art and the interpretative language of science.


Patrick Hughes


calum colvin 1

Calum Colvin

A practitioner of painting, sculpture and photography, Colvin brings these disciplines together, utilizing the unique fixed-point perspective of the camera, in his unique style of ‘constructed photography’: assembled tableaux of objects, which are then painted and photographed.

These elaborately constructed scenarios present a complex narrative tableau, rich in association and spatial ambiguities, which are exhibited as large-scale photographic prints. This process involves the creation of a three-dimensional stage set of an ordinary domestic scenario, upon which he paints across the various diverse elements within the set to make a unified image, viewed via a large format camera, which is realized through the process of photography.


Cecil Riley

At the age of 91 the artist Cecil Riley started having alarming visual hallucinations of eyes and gargoyle-like faces. He was suffering, like James Thurber, from Charles Bonnet Syndrome, which was brought about by progressive loss of vision from macular degeneration. Despite the anxiety they caused, he developed an interest in his hallucinations and began to paint what he saw.




Reynold Brown

A prolific American artist who drew many Hollywood movie posters and illustrated a number of magazines. He later pursued a career in Fine Art, creating paintings with a western theme, and subsequently suffered a stroke which left him with left hemispatial neglect, resulting in strange and emotive distorted portraits. – good website on artists and neuroscience in relation to perception


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Jin Hongo

— Jin Hongo has studied science and technology at Tohoku University, majored in metal casting. He had a chance to access to the Japanese traditional metal crafts and sculptures during his study, and he had got a big interest in arts and crafts field. Then he found ‘glass art’ and he entered in Tokyo Glass Art Institute in 1987. He spend 3years there to learn the basics of arts and glass.

He makes sculptures with various kinds of materials, especially he is fascinated in the possibility of glass as an artistic expressive material. He also makes video work and media art piece. In any type of his work, his theme is based on ‘two sides of human beings’,’the light and the shadow of high-tech world’. He always giving questions about our daily life to find the acutuality in life.


22215_black-sun-2 - from linda, Gary Tarn

—Black Sun is a documentary film directed by Gary Tarn. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2005.

—Gary Tarn explores the story of Hugues de Montalembert, a New York-based artist and filmmaker who was blinded by a vicious, unprovoked attack by two young assailants in 1978. After the attack, Montalembert learned to cope with his despair and to go through life a new way, seeking to make ordinary things extraordinary.



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Mark Zirpel—

—His Celestial/Terrestrial series is full of texture, detail, mystery and wonder. A true colliding of the wonders of the scientific world and the art world. A quote from Zirpel’s artist statement on the Bullseye Projects page states :

—“My work is multidisciplinary. It is idea and context driven. It is physical in its materiality and conceptually insistent. It is sculptural, installation based and kinetic. My work often explores a convergence between art and science. Both fields aspire to discovery. It is this quality of inquiry, a way of investigating the world that is at the heart of my studio methodology.”

Olafur Eliasson:


Ways of Seeing: Anish Kapoor