The Indoor Tree by Ciara Finnegan is the third digital residency hosted by CCA Derry~Londonderry in 2021. This residency follows Creating Dangerously by Alberta Whittle in May 2021 and Holy Blood by Cat and Éiméar McClay in October 2021.
From the artist, Ciara Finnegan:
“The Indoor Tree is informed by theories surrounding the philosophy of self and constructs of self and place discussed in neuroscience and contemporary psychology. My residency, which questions the nature of being in a digital space, will happen and change in real time over the course of the week. Standing on the threshold of the Metaverse (currently the preserve of the mega-wealthy, tech-elite), while aspiring toward the potential for being otherwise that these VR technologies afford, I pull on Web 2.0 technologies (the digital tools and materials of the poorer, tech-commoner) to explore ways of being and performing ‘live’ in the context of an online residency in late 2021.
How can you transcend the physical and play around in the in-between? Of course, art is a means of transport to ‘another realm’, a transcendental trigger – taking the viewer elsewhere is part of what art does. Is it possible for an online space to facilitate that? If you are here, can you be ‘here’ too? The Indoor Tree attempts a very explicit externalisation of this transcendental property of art by exposing it as a property of itself as an artwork.
Speculating on these questions from home in the Netherlands, I have worked with CCA Derry~Londonderry as an ad hoc Astral Travel Agency to arrange an idyllic, three day holiday at The Indoor Tree for Laura, who was selected through a Holiday Competition earlier this year. Without moving from her home in Co. Clare, Ireland, Laura will ‘travel to’ The Indoor Tree where Ciara will attempt to interpret, enact and deliver online, a holiday experience that somehow, sort of, aligns with Laura’s desires. In making this holiday happen, Laura and I will play in a dynamic space within CCA website where Laura will express her holiday hopes and dreams and I will attempt to cater to these wishes. The space will be permanently erased when the holiday comes to an end on Friday 26 November 2021. This is an improvisational and experimental approach to almost carbon-zero holiday making – what could go wrong, really?!”
The digital residency will be hosted online, and you can hang out with Ciara on Monday and Tuesday, attend Laura’s Indoor Tree holiday Wednesday through Friday and follow Ciara’s mixed-multi-media reflection on the week and the project as a whole on Saturday and Sunday. To contextualise her work, you can find a list of Ciara’s inspirations and references on the webpage which will go live on Monday 22 November 2021.
Ciara Finnegan (b. NI, 1974) is an artist and sole member of staff at The Dollhouse Space. As such, she performs roles of Director, Housekeeper, Administrator, Web-designer, Occasional Gardener, PR/Social-Media & Web Content Manager and Fund-Raiser. She is assisted in many aspects of DHS activity by members of her immediate family. Hosting work by 14 individual artists, 3 collectives and two curatorial PhD students since its inception in 2018, the DHS offers itself as a working example of a new hybrid-reality approach to studio, exhibition practice and audience relationships.
Ciara holds an MSc in Interactive Media, University of Limerick and BA Hons (First Class) Fine Art, University of Ulster. She completed a MOOC in Practice Based Research in the Arts in 2013 (Stanford Online) and recently undertook the online short course, “How to Assemble Now” BAK, Utrecht. She was recipient of the Northern Ireland Arts Council, MOMA/PS1 residency 1998/1999 and has received various awards from both the NI Arts Council and the Arts Council of Ireland. She has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally. Her video works are held in the LUX catalogue collection, Limerick City Gallery of Art Permanent Collection, and Northern Ireland Arts Council Digital Media Collection. She lives and works in The Netherlands.