Location One
***NOTE: XtraCurricular event, scheduled for Thursday, April 14 is cancelled***
John O'Connell

Like A Shark in The Grass
Solo Exhibition by John O'Connell
Curated by Claudia Calirman
and
Dwelling in Perennial Dreams
an interactive installation by Bundith Phunsombatlert

Opening Reception: Wednesday, 13 April 2011 6-8PM
Exhibition Dates: 14 April – 27 May 2011


Location One is proud to present: Like a Shark in the Grass, John O’Connell’s first solo exhibition in New York, and Bundith Phunsombatlert's Dwelling in Perennial Dreams, a participatory installation that invites the audience to imagine caring for orphaned infants in Thailand.


John O’Connell, a multimedia artist from Dublin, Ireland, works with sculpture, photography, drawing, and film animation. For Location One, he creates an intimate and dreamy environment, built from a myriad of interrelated elements borrowed from his make-believe universe. The gallery space is transformed with floor-to-ceiling cardboard tubes, a large hand-painted mural, a series of drawings, and a huge papier-mâché structure, creating the sense of a forest that the viewer is invited to explore. This imaginary landscape—in which bizarre and unfamiliar narratives seem to unfold before the viewer’s eyes—is loosely inspired by an earlier drawing by O’Connell, Like a Shark in the Grass (2009), which depicts a ghostly white shark uncannily drifting inside a forest. O’Connell is best known for his film animations, many of which likewise depart from his drawings, paintings, and miniature set designs. He also composes and plays piano for the animations’ melodic and soothing soundtracks. Straddling the line between real and fictional, process-based and result-oriented, these animated works seem to be involved in their own imaginary journey, oblivious to the exterior world. They ultimately belong to the artist’s poetic, whimsical, and lyrical universe.

Dwelling in Perennial Dreams is an interactive installation. This work invites the audience to imagine caring for orphaned babies in Thailand. The sculpture consists of three cradles with monitors installed inside, showing video images of sleeping babies who sleep for 15 minutes, then wake up and cry. The audience participates by rocking the cradles to put the "babies" back to "sleep". The audience can also wake the baby by making a loud noise; sensors pick up any noises from the audience and jolt the babies awake. Additionally, one crying baby can wake the other babies, creating a domino effect of crying babies.

According to the artist, "A political issue in Thailand inspires Dwelling in Perennial Dreams, but one that is equally applicable internationally in different ways and dimensions. The artwork represents the space where people from the upper class often control the way of lives of lower class people through the metaphor of taking great care of babies, by putting them to sleep. While sleeping is a necessary part for babies to grow up physically and mentally, the process of the work is to make the babies go to sleep as long as possible in order not to face the real world. This contradictory discourse is the subject of the artwork. By pacifying babies, people are simultaneously calming and oppressing them at the same time."

*A pregnant woman will perform in the installation as well as viewers are invited to rock the cradles.

Video file on the URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRR1fSsub08

About the Artists:
John O’Connell holds an MA from the Royal College of Art, London, and a BA from the National College of Art, Dublin. He has undertaken numerous residencies and has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. Recent solo shows include New Work at The Dock, Ireland (2011); The Visitor, at the Riverbank Art Centre, Ireland (2010); Big Pink at the Goethe Institute, Dublin (2009); Nothing Matters When Your Dancing, at Stiftung Starke, Berlin (2009); and The Garden Project at Wicklow County Hall, Ireland (2007). Recent group shows include By a Route Obscure and Lonely at the Triskel Art Centre, Cork (2011); Contemporary Sculpture Show at the F. E. McWilliam Gallery, Ireland (2010), Re:Public at Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin (2010); Clear Skies Above at SIM House, Reykjavik (2010); Futures 09 at the Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin (2009); and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter at West Germany Project Space, Berlin (2009).

Bundith Phunsombatlert earned both his B.F.A. and M.F.A. degrees in graphic arts (printmaking) at Silpakorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, and his M.F.A in Digital+Media at Rhode Island School of Design. He has participated in international exhibition, such as the Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art 1999, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia, ISEA 2004: the 12th International Symposium on Electronic Arts, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland, The Third Guangzhou Triennial 2008, Guangdong Museum of Art, China, and The 4th Auckland Triennial 2010, Auckland Art Gallery, New Zealand. Among his selected awards and fellowships are Pollock-Krasner Grant in 2001, Second Prize Unesco Digital Art Award 2004, and Asia Cultural Council Fellow 2007.

Location One is extremely grateful to John O’Connell’s residency sponsors: The Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon, and The Irish American Cultural Institute, and to The New York State Council on the Arts, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and media sponsor OneArtWorld.com.

ABOUT LOCATION ONE

Based in the Soho arts district of New York, Location One is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to fostering new forms of creative expression and cultural exchange through exhibitions, residencies, performances, public lectures and workshops. Traditionally focused on technological experimentation and new media, Location One's residencies and programs have favored social and political discourse and dialogue, and acted as a catalyst for collaborations. With a unique environment providing individualized training, support, and guidance to each artist, as well as exposure for their creations and collaborations, Location One continues to nurture the spirit of experimentation that it considers the cornerstone of its mission.