Ciaran Cannon (He, him)
Embracing the queer qualities of nature, my work explores interconnectedness and change through found and salvaged materials and objects. Acknowledging our impact on the world and recognising circularity through methods of making is central to my practice. Abandoned objects become sculptures and installations, reclaiming their place in the world, seen and existing in their own right.
Seeking out abandoned spaces in cities and observing the transformative actions of natural processes inspires my own curiosity and playfulness. Through varied media – wood, metal, photography, video and performance – I explore the parallels between queerness and forgotten and discarded places and things, celebrating uniqueness and sameness.
I have a background in Environmental Engineering and in particular, waste management, so these themes come into my work. I’m on a journey to find out how I can engage more with ecological issues without feeling overwhelmed and turning away. This has led me to realise how much more there is to caring for the environment. It is bound up in our relationships; the way we care for ourselves and fellow humans, our relationships with other beings, our environments and nature. We are not outside of nature; we are very much part of it; how deeply can we realise that?
In my degree show work I continued to use found and repurposed objects. The large pieces of found metal are in various stages of ‘crumpling’. Degrading, they look fragile, like paper, and this insubstantiality in what seems to be solid is interesting to me.
I used inner tubes in this piece as I cycle a lot – to explore new areas of the city and to get around. I wondered what happens to this waste material normally. In my research I realised that this is an often-overlooked area of cycling. There are impacts of releasing micro-particles onto the roads, and there is no easy recycling solution – some are better than others, but for all our attempts to be aware of our impacts, there are no easy and failsafe solutions. The title ‘Cycle’ is intended to be accessible and open ended. The world means something to everyone, and can be found in different contexts within the work.
This publication accompanies my degree show work, ‘Cycle’. It is a visual record of the brownfield sites I visited around Glasgow and a representation of some of the objects and textures I found. It juxtaposes images of manmade objects alongside the plants that thrive and survive in these liminal spaces. An exploration of change by human and elemental conditions.
This is a piece that came from some of the found objects I collected throughout the year. I find the uniqueness of the objects means I do not always want to change them, but simply let them show themselves in a different environment and context. However, these objects seemed to belong together. It’s a tactile sculpture that invites interaction and exploration. The materials will change over time, as will the shape of the sculpture; each formation unique. In these ways it questions the human wish for control.
This work was shown at Govan Project Space in January 2022. It is the first exhibition of found metal and is important to me in that it is the first of my works that draws out the queerness of abandoned and overlooked objects.
Vital Invertebrates – at the Hidden Gardens
Vital invertebrates was my installation at the exhibition ‘Fireflight’ at the Hidden Gardens: a joint show with Chiara Mancini and Lily Krempel.
The work consisted of four insects placed on trees throughout the ‘Woodland Glade’ area of the Hidden Gardens. A lot of families visit the gardens, so the sculptures were intended to appeal to children and adults, and to encourage careful observation. Dispersed on trees throughout the Glade area, people had fun finding them.
The insects’ bodies are made of wood from well-managed forests: pine, oak and walnut. Their wings, legs and antennae are made from scrap metal, which I found on an ex-industrial site by the Clyde, among a pile of railway sleepers. The Hidden Gardens is located at the site of an ex-tram depot and the old tram tracks are still visible in places. I liked this resonance in the two sites; old transport hubs which are now taken over again by plants, insects and animals. In making these sculptures I wanted to show the importance of leaving space for nature to thrive again, for the benefit of wildlife and for our own recreation and learning.