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If Not You - Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh 


Mark Clare's sound installation turns the noise of more than 20 half-tuned radios, speakers and transmitters into an oddly soothing symphony of bleeps, blips and static. This is art with a purpose. The show forms a delicately phrased apocalyptic message, drawing attention to the effects of human activity - global warming and climate change. Cobh, the last port of call for the Titanic, is an apt setting for Clare's thoughtful show, which seeks to chime a warning bell in a gallery perched on the edge of a rising ocean.                                                       

                                                                                                                                Christine Leech - Sunday Times Review

The ongoing rise in global average temperature near Earth's surface is causing climate patterns to change, altering numerous ecological events with potentially disastrous consequences for the planet. The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is very likely human-induced and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years. Most of the warming occurred in the past thirty-five years, with fifteen of the sixteen warmest years on record occurring since 2001. 2015 was the first year the global average temperatures were one degree Celsius or more above the 1880-1899 average. Scientific consensus is unanimous: if temperatures rise above two degrees the consequences will be irreversible.

If Not You is the title of an exhibition of new works by the artist Mark Clare at Sirius Arts Centre. Clare employs a variety of mediums, including animation, audio, sculpture and watercolour to produce works that reflect upon issues such as the illegal trading of charcoal in Somalia or the carving of giant icebergs from Antartica. He has collaborated with a variety of specialists to produce a body of work that alludes to the fragile balance between industrial society and our natural environment. The work is framed in ecological terms but is rooted in complex issues relating to science, policy-making, and economics. 

If Not You

IF NOT YOU - Radios, transmitters, aluminum, electric cables, nuts and bolts 2017 -  

A Live Gallery recording can be heard at -

Talking about the climate is how we talk about nothing and everything at once. Today, in the face of anthropogenic climate change, we confront increasingly chaotic weather and the disruption of seasonal patterns as a consequence of rising global mean temperature. What is philosophically, ethically, and morally at stake if we continue on this course? How can we make the invisible visible? How do we visualise a catastrophe?

IF NOT YOU is a visceral audio-installation, that highlights natural events, invisible to the naked eye, but essential for the ecological equilibrium of our environment. One such event is the aerial transport of fine dust along an atmospheric conveyor belt that reaches from the Sahara to South America. This dust, consisting of finely ground algae produced during the Holocene period, is carried on winds across the Atlantic as far as the Amazon basin. Its rich nutrient content replenishes those nutrients that have been leached away from the basin through tropical rains. Another is the story of Phytoplankton. Phytoplankton are micro-algae and largely unicellular photosynthetic organisms. They move through and live in the illuminated zones of earths waters and are responsible for up to 40% of the oxygen in the atmosphere. Populations produce gasses that seed clouds, sequestering fresh carbon, which fertilises soil and feed the life within oceans. This community has provided a base within the earth's self-supporting system, exerting biochemical influences on the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere. Their constantly ephemeral contribution to the resilience of our habitable ecosystem is fundamental.

Stories, like these, have been translated into Morse code, using a program available on the internet. This program allows for the Morse code to translated at various tempos and tones. These translations are used as the foundation for the audio composition that is edited and mixed to create a number of multilayered audio compositions that "speak" to one another. These compositions are transmitted as live broadcasts, using digital radio transmitters, to numerous radios, tuned to a selection of FM frequencies and placed on a modular construction, to produce a symphony of bleeps, blips, and static. The modular aspect of the construction allows for the installation to be re-configured specifically to whichever space it is presented.

Each encounter is unique due to live interference from individuals as they move through space, as well as climatic interference on the day.

This artwork is framed in ecological terms but is rooted in complex issues relating to science, policy-making, and economics. It transcends physical space, infiltrating the ether to create an ephemeral experience of imagined space and accentuates the urgent need for action to define a future. It cannot occur in a vacuum. Its purpose is to invite as wide an audience as possible to participate in this most crucial conversation.

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Photographs by Brian Mac Domhnaill, John Downes and Kevin Leong

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