ARTIFICIALLY RECONSTRUCTED HABITATS
Artificially Reconstructed Habitats was exhibited as part of a vast and ongoing project by Irish media artist Finola Jones. Edited and adapted into each space in which it had been shown, the project has encompassesed over 40 video works. Having been reworked for the Front Gallery at Gertrude Contemporary, this particular exhibition comprised seven video works which explored the darker side of Jones’ fascination with contemporary culture, control, reality TV and the social acceptability of authorised voyeurism.
In its entirety, the Artificially Reconstructed Habitats project included footage shot in various locations around the world from early 2003 through 2004. The project examined animals’ behaviour in unwilling confinement and human behaviour in willing confinement. All of the protagonists in this selection of works were apparently doing very ordinary things. Some, simply pursuing the daily routine of their jobs, others, sleeping, resting or playing - all passing time, but in ways that made their ‘ordinary’ activities seem extraordinary. The works had been edited into the greater structure of mini-epics, or decontextualised fragments from within a greater narrative. Jones’ highly considered use of sound, and often confronting camera work, conflated with blunt editing and passages of remarkable calm and visual beauty. This compelling mixture made the installation infectiously funny and visually compelling, yet quietly disturbing.
Finola Jones graduated from the Centre for the Arts, University of Tasmania, Hobart with BFA (Sculpture) in 1986, and completed postgraduate studies at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales (1989), and the National College of Art Design, Ireland (2003). She has exhibited internationally, including in New York, Sydney, London, Belfast, and Warsaw, and has represented Ireland on the P.S.1.International Studio Program (New York, 1994-5). Finola continues to spend frequent periods working outside her native Ireland on residencies, and has undertaken several site-specific commissions. She is a lecturer in Installation Practice at the School of Creative Arts, Dublin, and is assistant course coordinator of the MA in Visual Arts Practices. Artificially Reconstructed Habitats was curated by Lisa Byrne, Director, Canberra Contemporary Art Spaces, and is generously supported by Canberra Contemporary Art Spaces and the Arts Council, Ireland.