Spectacular Vernacular

Alan Phelan - Visual Artist & Researcher                                                                                       alanphelan.com

Alan Phelan works in sculpture, film, museum interventions, public art and collaborations with other artists, writers and curators. Born Dublin, 1968, Phelan received BA, Dublin City University, 1989 and MFA, Rochester Institute of Technology, New York, 1994. Phelans current body of work  looks at the photographic invention of Irish physicist and professor of geology at the University of Dublin John Joly who was born in Holywood House, Bracknagh, County Offaly. Joly also invented a photometer for measuring light intensity, a meldometer for measuring the melting points of minerals, a differential steam calorimeter for measuring specific heats and a constant-volume gas thermometer, all of which bear his name, together with one of the first color photographic processes, the Joly colour screen. 

‘Phelans body of work entitled Folly & Diction (2020) forms part of echoes are always more muted by Alan Phelan. John Joly, the inventor of the photographic Joly screen process, provides the biographical background to the 15-minute film which, instead of a detailed documentary, is based on the music video format and provides the structure – with a narrative taken from a Samuel Beckett short story and narration in the form of song lyrics, culled from a poem by Jean Genet. The video tells an oblique story of loss, a forgotten history, and a failed relationship with his collaborator Henry Dixon. It brings Joly’s photographic process into a contemporary sphere with audio responsive animated stripes that pulse to the music and crude video layering that draws on multiple music video tropes.’ - Void, Derry- Website.