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When the Gusts Came Around

Aidan O’Neill - B00817350


When returning to a place you called home you move as if a ghost through the space you once lived. You return from the place you left for; a place you couldn’t belong to either with a fractured identity. You look for pieces of yourself in the landscape and in the memories laid down there, jumping from the present to the past seamlessly with an unease; subtly yet definitively unable to fill those cracks.


This body of work is a non linear, poetic and multi-layered exploration of a place, and how the relationship with space and the experiences associated with it shift after many years of leaving and returning. A body of work beyond nostalgia or criticality and closer to reflection. Leaning heavily on the tale of Tír na nÓg (a tale synonymous with Tallaght, my home), Ireland’s ultimate story of imagination, love and migration. Mirroring the tale of Oisín leaving for Tír na nÓg, the images run in parallel and in conflicting timelines.

'When The Gusts Came Around' has no rigid or final resting place. Instead the work should react to the space, honouring the ethos of the work, and in an effort to find its home no matter where it finds itself. Through a combination of vinyls, framed images, original family archive images and video pieces, the body should expand or retract to its surroundings. Seemingly disjointed clusters should direct you through the uneasy sense of chasing home whilst leaving space for the viewer to impart their own narrative in to the pauses. The collaboration and agitation between place, space, artist and viewer should allow air-pockets for new narratives to flourish.

This work takes the form of a series of images that shouldn’t necessarily be viewed individually, a video piece with accompanying original poem by Simeon Farrar and a book which asks the viewer to engage with it.

As mentioned above, this is a living body of work that should react to the space in which it is being exhibited. When presented in a gallery setting the poet/artist, Simeon Farrar will be invited to interact with the work/space to lay down the words accompanying the images. Each experience will be bespoke and if the work is returned to by a viewer across various locations or times it should feel familiar but completely different echoing the nature in which the work was created. This layout above has been selected from hundreds of images created over the past two years and from a family archive of thousands of 6x4 prints. I see this project as one that will continue to grow and evolve as I return home for years to come. Framed within the constellation of images will sit the 4.02 min, 3 act video piece (in a Samsung Art frame TV so as not to visually distract from the experience) accompanied by a narrated version of the poem.

Having initially struggled to connect with a visual resting place for this work, I eventually embraced the sense of unease and the various visual languages at play during its production. What I present, disjointed in its appearance is something close to the sensation I feel when walking through my ‘home’ having spent so many years abroad. A sense of unease and harmony dance with each other without either knowing who is the lead.


Play video within frame

Alternate layouts dependednt on space

Alternate layouts dependednt on space


Play video within frame

Layout for BX Exhibition June 2 - 23, 2022

In order for the video to be accommodated in the smaller setting of a group show (8x8ftwall space) and being considerate to the work on display in the room (emotionally quiet and sensitive work), the work will be displayed simply as one Black edged LG TV 55in, wall mounted and as flush as possible alongside two 20x30in images. The images are 2 B&W Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Pearl 320gsm, diabond mounted, deep framed (to match the width of the TV) sat behind AR-70 museum quality glass so that the images replicate the finish of the TV. Again to respect the other work in the room, the audio will be played over a set of bluetooth Scennheizer over ear headphones.


Sample of images from the larger collection

Click on Image for full screen


Full Book

Book Layout / Details

To replicate the lose borders of Tallaght, to accommodate interweaving narratives and to allow for new and personal stories to be created, this book has a loose binding so that new stories may be created; some reflective of my own experience and some more representative of the modern day version of my ‘home’. I invite the viewer to deconstruct this book, to rebuild this book, return to this book and remember it different ways each time.


The book has been cut with accentuated dovetailing so that when viewed flat the elements of previous and future pages seep in to the current reading. The colours throughout this book are a subtle nod to the Tallaght flag and the yellow binding band represents a through line of elasticated and malleable memory, only serving to temporarily hold the story together until interacted with.

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