Dublin City Arts Office
The LAB, Foley Street, Dublin 1

+353 1 222 5455

Past Exhibition

Quantified Self

Michelle Browne, Cliona Harmey, Saoirse Higgins and Bea McMahon

October 19 - March 11 2011

The idea of Quantified Self considers the idea of self knowledge through numbers. Technology is allowing us to see and measure things in our bodies in ever increasing detail, but has this science moved ahead of our ability to understand the significance of the data and new observations? In order to try to understand the data available, we need to share the information with others. This exhibition and the complementary events programme questions the relationship between intelligent systems for the monitoring and collecting human-generated content, (including psychographic, geographic and biometric data), what new forms of self-knowledge might emerge from bringing this information together, and what future implications might be for human cognition.

Shimmer Research develops wearable sensors that capture kinematic and biophysical data. This data can be wirelessly transmitted in realtime to relevant parties be they clinicians, caregivers or indeed the wearer of the devices. The technology is used worldwide in over 50 countries for a variety of applications in areas such as academic/clinical research, healthcare, wellness and sports.

Performance artist Michelle Browne, challenged a group of investors and property developers to a game of poker. She filmed the game and using shimmers and GSR (galvanic skin response used in lie detectors), she monitored their responses to risk and stress. The recorded data was translated into movement through a sculptural work consisting of a chair on the end of a diving board. The chair moves according to how each person responded to the game. The chair references the human scale of the risk, the person that takes this leap into the void.

Digital media artist Saoirse Higgins, wore a shimmer as she walked 240km on the Camino de Santiago. She started her walk on 21st July, the same day the last Space Shuttle landed and her work considers the disparity between the two and the power we have as individuals.

Bea McMahon's, 'One Letter Poem', is a moving image artwork featuring a choreographed dressage sequence. Shimmers were attached to the horse's legs while filming his movements. Data collected from eight of these shimmers - the 4 x-axes of the hooves, 3 y-axes of the shins and the horse’s heart-beat were used to generate the sound track.

Cliona Harmey's sculpture, 'Watch', provides an opportunity for visitors to use a shimmer device on themselves. The shimmer is attached to your wrist and your pulse reading modulates an overhead light. For some visitors, the self awareness of the pulse, increases the pulse rate. 



Bea McMahon

Upcoming exhibitions are at the CCA in Glasgow and at Simon Preston Gallery, New York. Recent exhibitions include <trinity> at Flat Time House, Peckham, London (April 2011), Nothing is Impossible at The Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh 2010, Two-fold at the Green on Red Gallery 2010, True Complex at Void (Derry) and The Curated Visual Artist’s Award, The Douglas Hyde Gallery (Dublin) all 2008. She has been awarded Visual Artist Bursaries from the Arts Council and the Curated Visual Artist Award in 2007. She is represented by the Green on Red Gallery, Dublin and is included in the collections of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Office of Public Works and the Arts Council of Ireland.

Cliona Harmey

Cliona Harmey is interested in the histories, artifacts and hybrid forms of technologies.Her current work combines sculpture and live data and image feeds. It often reflects on histories of communication technologies from shipping to flags and semaphores. She is based in Dublin and is currently a lecturer at the National college of Art & Design and has exhibited in curated shows in Ireland and internationally

Saoirse Higgins

Saoirse Higgins is an artist from Dublin. Saoirse is obsessed with natural and man-made power and control and when things do not always go to plan. She is interested in revealing some of the connections between our visions of the world we live in, our expectations for the future and the technology we use to help us with this. She explores the contested spaces of public-private, man-machine, man-nature. Her work is process-driven and has a scientifically influenced, playful approach. Saoirse has featured as an Irish representative at the Thessaloniki 2nd Biennale. She has also shown her work at festivals and galleries such as Montreal Film and New media festival, Transmediale, Siggraph, Exit Art and Location One gallery, New York. Higgins has held residences at e-Mobilart Lab, Disonancias in Spain, Location1 gallery in New York and the Banff Centre for the Arts. She is also a member of the international artist group The Grafting Parlour. http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~saoirse/ http://www.media.uoa.gr/~charitos/emobilart/ http://www.thegraftingparlour.org/

Michelle Browne

Michelle Browne is an artist and curator based in Dublin, Ireland. She received a first class honours degree in Sculpture and History of Art from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Much of her work is performance based and she has performed and exhibited both nationally and internationally, most recently taking part in Transmuted International Performance Festival, Mexico; Right Here Right Now Irish performance art Kilmainham Gaol 2010; Unfamiliar (USA & Galway), Trouble Performance Festival (Belgium); European Performance Art Festival (Poland); A lens With a Conscience (USA); and The National Review of Live Art (Scotland). In 2009 she was commissioned to make Mind The Gap, a participative public art project, for The Dublin Absolute Fringe Festival. In March 2011 she had her first solo show in The LAB accompanied by a curated show looking at the documentation of temporary and performative work. Michelle also works as a freelance curator and is the founder of OUT OF SITE, a festival of live art in public space in Dublin running from 2006-2008. She curated Vital Signs, an exhibition of arts and health in context for the Arts Council and Create and she was the 2010 curator of TULCA a season of visual art in Galway. She is the recipient of the NCAD Student Prize, The RDS James White Art Award 2006, The Arts Council of Ireland Artist Bursary 2008 and 2010 and support from Culture Ireland in 2008 and 2009. She has written for Circa Art Magazine, Visual Artists News Sheet and Create News. For more information go to www.michellebrowne.net.


Vimeo Talks & Live Events

Quantified Self: Second Nature - Tim Stott from Dublin City Council Arts Office on Vimeo.

Quantified Self: ‘goite (come here)’ - Networked performance of music and movement with Maria Coleman and Emma Meehan from Dublin City Council Arts Office on Vimeo.


Speaking about the collaboration Kieran Daly, Vice President of Shimmer Research said "We are very excited to partner with Dublin City Council / The LAB as part of Innovation Dublin. The process has been engaging from the outset and working with groups from outside our natural domain has helped us look at the shimmer technology through a different lens. Our view is that innovation happens at the intersection of different disciplines. When we think about this internally we cluster different groups within the company to generate new ideas – moving outside of the organisation and working with the artists has highlighted the limitations of our traditional approach. The path from concept to the realisation of work for the Quantified Self exhibition has altered the way Shimmer views our technology and reinvigorated our approach to innovation. We look forward to continuing the relationship with both The LAB and the wider artistic community and are energised by the possibilities these engagements open up.”

"The LAB Gallery shows emerging artists and new ideas. Increasingly this has led to exciting collaborations -  in this case, Innovation Dublin provided the impetus. Shimmer Research has been consistently flagged in the media as a key example of Ireland's smart economy,  an innovative company with growing exports. We thought it would be interesting to explore the connections between art and technology and approached them with an idea to collaborate with these great artists" said Sheena Barrett, curator at The LAB.

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