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Work of the Week | 18 July 2022

CAG.3046 Mark Clare, DemocraCity, 2011, single channel digital animation (edition 1/5), 07:35 minutes. Purchased, the Artist, 2014. © the artist.


DemocraCity (2011) is a digital animation by Mark Clare that meditates on utopianism and the infrastructure required to power it.

The animation combines architectural models and takes as its starting point the contradictory ideologies of social philosopher B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) and ‘Unabomber’ Theodore John Kaczynski. Its soundtrack is an edited version of Arvo Part's Fratres for violin and piano.

Produced using the 3D modelling program Google Sketchup, DemocraCity takes the viewer on a journey through a timeline of iconic modernist buildings – symbolic of a utopian dream – and onwards through a cityscape and the industrial structures necessary to deliver the fuel that power our cities. The viewer ultimately enters a landscape based on artist renditions for the Onkalo spent nuclear fuel repository – due to become operational in 2023 – which extends deep into the granite bedrock of Finland.

Onkalo, as the artist notes, ‘is being built to last for up to 100,000 years. While many scientists estimate that we will have an ice age within the next 60,000 years, there is some speculation that those who survive this ice age will not speak or read any of today’s modern languages and therefore there is a special emphasis on the semantic importance of marking the depository for future generations.’

Mark Clare (b.1968) is an artist whose practice embraces a variety of media and techniques, ranging from audio, animation, and video to photography, performance, and public interventions. Presently artist-in-residence at UCD Earth Institute, Dublin, he has previously exhibited at Crawford Art Gallery with I Believe In You (2014), and at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris and Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin.

DemocraCity (2011) by Mark Clare shows in our Screening Room (Floor 2) until 7 August.

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