Artist Shane Finan was due to spend the month of April 2020 living in Kielder Village and working with Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Kielderhead Wildwood project. Unfortunately due to Covid-19, this residency has been postponed. However Shane is continuing to make work and share his research via the VARC news feed: Shane Finan – the “Wood Wide Web”, Pandemic and Communication: artist (not) in Residence Shane FinanStaying Together Apart: The public sphere, pandemic and homeMonoculture Monoliths: The case for better technology .

Shane Finan is a multimedia artist and painter from Sligo, Ireland, currently based in Wicklow, Ireland. His work includes painting, sculpture, mixed media installation and interactive digital media and are about place, technology and transience.

Shane’s projects engage with community and research. In recent years he has collaborated with Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), Pierre Auger Observatory (Argentina) the University of Leipzig (Germany) and the University of Padua (Italy). His projects are influenced by the places where they are made, and the communities based in these places.

His recent works have looked at changes in the natural environment, using contemporary research, literature, artistic research, digital media and philosophy to inform artworks that create a sense of place for people in a surrounding area. He is currently working on projects based on networks, incorporating natural networks such as the communication systems of trees, fungi and animals, and digital networks such as the internet and collaborative systems such as hacker culture. His research interests stem from collaboration, drawing from theory on the commons and community intervention.

ENTWINED: Rural. Land. Lives. Art.

The ‘Wood Wide Web’ is a concept initially developed by scientist Suzanne Simard which is now seen as a significant discovery; that fungi and related species in woodland areas provide a complex network under the soil that directly affects the roots and trees above. This network, called ‘mycorrhizal’ to define the relationship between plants and fungi, can be beneficial or competitive and is only becoming understood in the past twenty years.

The ‘Wood Wide Web’ is perhaps the best example of nature as ‘ENTWINED’ natural environment. Based on the ‘Wood Wide Web’ Shane proposes to create an interactive digital artwork that encourages audience participation through discovering the different methods of interaction. Central to both this system and that of the World Wide Web from which it borrows its name, are social networks, intercommunication and support. Shane hopes the project will spread an understanding of the different plants and animal species in natural spaces and an interest in the complexity of biodiversity.

By working with researchers and the project team at Kielderhead Wildwood Project, Shane will develop artworks that create an understanding of mycorrhizal networks and the advantages of collaborative communication in natural forests. In partnership with the project partners, Shane is developing artistic research to draw the complex theories together into a coherent whole.

Biography

Shane Finan studied at Trinity College Dublin attaining an MSc in Interactive Digital Media in 2013.  He has since received awards and funding for residencies, projects and academic work and has exhibited in Ireland, the UK, Europe and USA. He is currently one of the artists selected for the touring exhibition ‘Over Nature’ curated by Valeria Ceregini. In 2021 and 2022 he has upcoming exhibitions in the UK (Wales, Northern Ireland and England).

He has been awarded a Travel and Training Award from the Arts Council of Ireland for his residency at Kielder.

Images:

Reappropriation, 2019-2020; projection, compost, bark, acrylic, plywood installation, 160 x 230 x 18 cm.  Projection and floor installation about the ubiquity of plastic and the role of western society in its pervasiveness. Supported by the Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny. See Reappropriation 2019-20

The Repeated Refrains of Nature, 2019; 6-screen video and interactive motion-based mixed media work, 120 x 190 cma mixed media installation about technology and bird depopulation, exhibited at the Zoological Museum, Trinity College Dublin, June – August 2019. Funded by Trinity College Dublin Visual and Performing Arts Fund.

Faigh ar ais as an fharraige, 2018; touchscreens, sensors, projection, acrylic, mixed media, 280 x 196 x 800 cm. Mixed media installation created in response to Rye and to trends in technology and language. Funded by Culture Ireland GB18 Funding.

Shane Finan’s website:  https://www.shanefinan.org

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