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Archived exhibition

King of the Sidlaws: Shaleph O’Neill

Exhibition: 13-29 January 2017

Preview: Friday 13 January, 5.30-7.30pm

Centrespace, Visual Research Centre, lower levels of Dundee Contemporary Arts

Centrespace DJCAD present King of the Sidlaws an exposition of work by artist, lecturer and researcher Shaleph O'Neill. O'Neill is Head of Communciation Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee.

In 1976 Hamish Fulton made the statement that ‘An object cannot compete with an experience'. He then went on, along with his contemporary Richard Long, to establish ‘Walking’ as an art practice. The preoccupation of the walking artists was our experience of being in and moving through landscape. Particularly informed by a poetic sensibility, they questioned and reformulated the romantic notion of landscape and our engagement with it. Rather than just looking at it, for them the art was the experience of 'being there' and the objects they made became signifiers that referenced that experience, pointing to it, describing it and documenting it.

Forty years on, we now live in the age of the ‘Life Logger’ and ‘The Quantified Self’, where video and mobile data, can be gathered about how we experience things. Our location, speed, altitude, cadence, acceleration, body position and heart rate can all be captured on an iPhone if you have the right app and you know how to access the data. Few of us really knows what this explosion in data tracking means or how it relates to our experiences, particularly our experience of landscape.

O’Neill’s project has become increasingly focused on this very question. How can we make sense of the data we can collect about ourselves and how does this compete with our experience? O'Neill's vehicle (quite literally) for making art, is not walking but cycling, particularly mountain biking. For the artist, the mountain bike, coupled with an iPhone, GoPro camera, Strava, Cyclemeter, and Processing have become the tools that allow him to explore new ways to visualize his experience of landscape. Data provides new ways to point at, describe and document an experience, but the artist asks, is this helpful? Is it meaningful, can it be aesthetic? The question is what do we want our data to do for us and does it take us any closer to an experience or does it alienate us further?

King of the Sidlaws documents an investigation of cycling through the Sidlaw hills at the back of Dundee, in order to explore the relationship between the exoteric and esoteric aspects of our experience of landscape. The artist has taken photographs, captured video, recorded sound and captured data about speed, altitude, body position and heart rate that have been used to make artworks. While gathering data using Strava, the artist unwittingly took the “King of the Mountains” (KOM) titles on two very arduous uphill sections, and the name for the show was coined.

All images courtesy Shaleph O'Neill

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Opening times: Monday - Saturday, 12.00 - 16.30 pm.

Centrespace in the Visual Research Centre, DJCAD and is located on the lower floors of Dundee Contemporary Arts, 152 Nethergate, Dundee.