The Weathermen project by Conor McFeely sees the artist develop a site-specific environment of found objects and new media installations, designed to conduct complex investigations into individual perception, themes and acts of subversion, and reaction to sudden dramatic change. The development of the Weathermen project on this site engages directly with Fort Dunree’s exposed headland position, its military history, and its richness in significant transformations.
The Weathermen project draws upon a number of sources including an interest in key countercultural figures from history. A central reference for this work is “the weathermen” a clandestine revolutionary organisation in the U.S.A. in the 60’s and 70’s for the violent overthrow of the US government and the establishment of a dictatorship of the proletariat. They famously aided the jailbreak and escape of Timothy Leary. Leary will be present in the work in the form of voice recordings and local weather conditions will manifest themselves through the use of passages from cult fiction works including the opening paragraphs from The Dark Cloud by Fred Hoyle and Musils’ Man without Qualities. These are used as points of entry into alternative narratives.
Formally this work is a series of sculptures incorporating short sequences of video and sound. These video and sound works are integrated with what is essentially a kind of set around which modified, constructed and found objects are organised. Materials found onsite have been integrated where possible with “ready-made” objects, constructions, video and audio works with the intention of reflecting a sense of site and location. The audio elements are a montage of composed and onsite ambient recordings, as well as voice recordings and computer generated sounds including the Leary interviews. The works are conceived with the intention of generating an activated spectatorship. Initial exploratory ideas here have been developed in the spirit of a merged or multidisciplinary practice.
A the blend of what might seem incongruous references to weather and “prevailing conditions” are layered to create unexpected resonances with the location or site where they are encountered.
“Disclaimer”, Orchard Gallery Derry 1997, (solo)
“Ink Mathematics”, The Mappin Gallery, Sheffield (solo)
“Headfirst”, OBG Gallery Belfast 2003, (solo)
The British Art Show 5, Hayward Gallery London, touring Edinburgh, Southampton, Cardiff and Birmingham 2000-200
“Small Steps, The Elipse Gallery,Washington DC, 2001
“Something Else”, Contemporary Art from Ireland, touring Turku, Helsinki, Ouulu, Joensuu Finland, 2003
“Hidden Dips” MCAC Portadown 2005 (solo)
“Dogs Have No Religion” Czech Museum of Fine Art Prague, 2006.
He is a recipient of The Curated Visual Arts Award 2007 (curated by Mike Nelson) resulting in two major solo shows of new work called “The Case of the Midwife Toad (the unrepeatable experiment)” in The Douglas Hyde Gallery Dublin 2007 and at Void, Derry 2008, and “The Testing Rooms/Smashing Forms” a site specific audio and video installation at The Maze Prison 2008 In May 2010 he had a major one person exhibition at The Ormeau Baths gallery Belfast. In 2012 he completed an Artists International Residency at NKD Dale Norway and has three solo shows in 2012/13 showing cycles of the Weathermen projects at the 126 Gallery Galway, Franklin College Lugano Switzerland and The Golden Thread Gallery Belfast. He also is a member of the Void Gallery curatorial board.
Much of this work can be seen at www.mentalimage.org.uk