You’ve been Served

“You’ve been served” was influenced by the theme of “Picnolepsy”. Picnolepsy is blanking or zoning out, a word first used by Virilio. Virilio’s dromology of media phenomena is a mass condition, a near universal social malady, characterised by DISAPPEARANCES. He describes the physiological condition of PICNOLEPSY – similar to frequent epileptic fits, constant interruptions after which the subject is UNAWARE of the time he or she has lost, the absence is not perceived. According to Virilio we are all picnoleptics, we are all subject to these lapses in consciousness, to these moments of disappearance or ‘absences’. By stating this, he condemns us all to an illness that we are UNAWARE OF.
This information led me to think of the idea of “The Carnivore”, the relationship between ourselves and our food. Do we ever literally think about what’s on our plate? Do we zone out or absence ourselves to the idea that this chargrilled lump of flesh was once a living thing, exhibiting feeling and emotion. The ‘animal’ has disappeared, left it’s body. What we are left with does not half resemble what it once was. “You’ve been served” is a mixed media work. A taxidermy rabbit, paws crossed, ears drooped, sits on a black and white plate with an optical illusion pattern. Black roses surround its body while it hands the cutlery, begrudgingly, to the viewer. This rabbit has no choice but to give himself up.


Hatched, stems from an interest in the effect science can have on an animal through genetic modification. Genetic modification (GM), genetic manipulation (GM) and genetic engineering (GE) all refer to the same thing – the use of modern biotechnology techniques to change the genes of an organism, such as a plant or animal. A genetically modified organism (GMO) is a plant, animal or other organism that has been changed using genetic modification.
The final new plant variety or breed of animal will hopefully just have the desired traits, which it will have inherited from its ancestors along with the associated genes for those traits. Traditional breeding is a way of harnessing the genetic resources of an organism by selectively breeding animals with the desired gene pool and disregarding animals who don’t meet the required criteria.
GM breeding is used because it can change the genes of an organism in ways not possible through traditional breeding techniques providing opportunities for new plant varieties and animal breeds.
Although ducks in general are known for their hybridizing ways, none are as prolific and undiscriminating as the Mallard. Mallards can cross breed with 63 other species and in some cases Mallard genes threaten to flood the gene pool of other species.
Mallard ducks have extensively interbred, they are still opportunistically targeted by brood parasites, occasionally having eggs laid in their nests by Redheads, Ruddy Ducks, Lesser Scaup, Gadwalls, Northern Shovelers, Northern Pintails, Cinnamon Teals, Common Goldeneyes, and other Mallards. These eggs are generally accepted when they resemble the eggs of the host mallard, although the hen may attempt to eject them or even abandon the nest if parasitism occurs during egg laying. Mallards of all ages (particularly young ones) and in all locations must contend with a wide diversity of predators including Raptors, Mustelids, Corvids, Snakes, Raccoons, Opossums, Skunks, Turtles, Large Fish, and Felids, and Canids, including domesticated ones. The most prolific natural predators of adult mallards are the red Fox and the Hawk, although both kill far fewer than human hunters.
“Hatched”, demonstrates a genetically modified Mallard duck, one that has not been seen before. The scale of Hatched suggests that this particular genetically modified Mallard, which is in the process of hatching from the conical flask, will be a super Mallard, bigger, stronger and more intelligent than ever. Hatched contains a fantastical/surreal element, that again, blurs the lines between fantasy and reality.

Once upon a Time

Once upon a time is a tale of 2 foxes, a mother and her young, and an andalusian rooster. The mother fox dives across the unbalanced rocking chair trying to hold on to her young and save him from flying over the edge. At the top of the chair, the rooster has lost its footing and has opened its wings in an attempt to save himself.
I am utilising the rocking chair to heighten the sense of movement within the piece but I am also using it as a metaphor for life. Life is about balance and stability. Our lives are constantly changing and some things that happen are out of our control. We try to choose the right path but we can often be swayed in other directions. Obstacles arise that we cannot overcome and so we are forced to change course. Life for the human race is about moving forward and for others this means moving backwards. We are constantly in need of our world to be a bigger and better place and so we continue to build further and further out in force. Unfortunately something has to suffer because of this. I am using the fox as an example of this suffering.
Although urban foxes have had a presence in Dublin for many years their numbers are definitely on the rise. Some say that development in the boom time encroached on their habitat; the redevelopment of waste land and farm land on the peripheries of Dublin for housing and retail parks perhaps displaced a certain number of foxes. But the fox being an adaptable creature seem to have adjusted to suit the urban habitat-taking up residency in derelict or quiet gardens, overgrown areas in parks, river banks and railway lines. With an adequate food source and habitat available, fox numbers in Dublin seem to be on the increase. Although this seems all good and well, the urban fox is starting to become a victim of its own success. Numbers have now reached a level that can’t sustain a healthy population. We are constantly seeing mange infected and emaciated urban foxes that seem to have lost all fear of humans. Foxes seem to have gained quite a bad name and are known to be cunning, dangerous animals. Fox owner, Mike Towler, thinks that foxes get a bad reputation because they are painted as villains in children’s stories. He says, “They have the nicest nature of any animal I have ever met, they are considerate, helpful – particularly towards young foxes.” Towler also points out that foxes provide a very useful function as they destroy the rats and mice you don’t want.
In the piece, “Once upon a time”, we see the mother fox trying to protect her young. The cub holds a Japanese umbrella. Each part of a Japanese umbrella has a name and a function. For instance, the Nokizume, are the parts of the ribs sticking out from the umbrella, these are often lacquered in red because of an ancient Japanese tradition. Indeed, at the beginning the very first umbrellas were only used by the Imperial family and aristocrats and they were said to be magical object that could protect one from evil spirits and bad events, from this belief came the red color that was said to help prevent bad things from happening.
A weather vane, wind vane, or weathercock is an instrument for showing the direction of the wind. They are typically used as an architectural ornament at the highest point of a building. Although partly functional, weather vanes are generally decorative, often featuring the traditional cockerel design with letters indicating the points of the compass. The word ‘vane’ comes from the Old English word fana meaning ‘flag’.
Pope Gregory I said that the cock (rooster) “was the most suitable emblem of Christianity”, being “the emblem of St Peter”. Some say that it was as a result of this that the cock began gradually to be used as a weather vane on church steeples, and some add that in the 9th century Pope Nicholas I ordered the figure to be placed on every church steeple. It is known that Pope Leo IV did have it placed on the Old St. Peter’s Basilica even before Nicholas I was Pope. Alternative theories about the origin of weathercocks on church steeples are that it was an emblem of the vigilance of the clergy calling the people to prayer, that it was derived from the Goths, is only possibly a Christian symbol and an emblem of the sun.
As it were, Pope Nicholas I did in fact decree in the 9th century that all churches must show the symbol of a cock on its dome or steeple, as a symbol of Jesus’ prophecy of Peter’s betrayal (Luke 22:34), that Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed on the morning following the Last Supper.