Artist Shane Finan was originally due to spend the month of April 2020 living in Kielder Village and working with Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Kielderhead Wildwood project. Due to Covid-19, the residency was postponed but will now take place during April 2021.

“Twelve months ago, I had my bags packed and was ready to join the team at Kielder and make some new art about networks and forests. Then we all had a sudden taste of exactly how entwined our global systems are, when the COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on. I’m really excited to finally come and work with the Kielderhead Wildwood Project one year on, to make art about complex networks and entanglements, and to work with the brilliant team at VARC.” – Shane Finan

Over the past year Shane has continued making work and has shared 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 , Independent Interdependence: Language and Forests, Repairing the Chain: Making connections through places.

Shane Finan assembles things together into art. He is based in Ireland. His work includes painting, film, web, writing and interactive digital media installation.

Shane’s projects are about complex networks and entanglements between human and nonhuman actors, and how these networks work together. In recent years he has collaborated with foresters, fungi, farmers, epidemiologists, ecologists, sheep, astrophysicists, and trees. He has worked on art research projects with Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), Pierre Auger Observatory (Argentina) and the University of Lincoln (UK).

His recent works have looked at how different organisms and objects influence one another, forming “assemblages” that change and affect places and environments. His work on networks includes natural networks such as the complex systems of trees, fungi and animals, and human/technological networks such as the internet or community centres.

ENTWINED: Rural. Land. Lives. Art.

The ‘Wood Wide Web’ is a term coined by Nature magazine in 1997. It was created for an article about scientist Suzanne Simard, who had published discoveries about how 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 has a BA in Fine Art (2008, IT Sligo) and an MSc in Interactive Digital Media (Trinity College Dublin, 2013). He has exhibited in Ireland, the UK, China, Europe and the USA, and has been funded by the Arts Council of Ireland (2012, 2020), Culture Ireland (2018), Creative Europe (2020), Enterprise Ireland (2017, 2018, 2020) and Trinity College Dublin (2019).

In 2021, he is working with FIELD, an interdisciplinary research project about livestock disease, on a project about more-than-human entanglements between sheep, cows, disease and people, as an extension of his research into more-than-human networks at VARC.

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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