Unseen By My Open Eyes


Unseen By My Open Eyes


24 × 18 cm | 9 × 11 in
110 ills | 96 pages

Authors: Kevin Gaffney, Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith      

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With a focus on the construction, projection and manipulation of identity, this first evaluation of Irish artist and filmmaker Kevin Gaffney’s work takes the reader on a journey across vast and manifold landscapes. Four of Gaffney’s films are divided into a series of richly illustrated sections of the book that explore the methodology and vision behind each work. The subjects that are examined range from daily life in Iran to military conscription in Taiwan, and physical and emotional distance between people living in South Korea.

Gaffney’s style moves fluidly between pastiche and allegory, setting the scene in a near-dystopian future or calling for a half-remembered past. One recent work, A Numbness in the Mouth, imagines his native Ireland as a flourishing nationalist future state after a shift in climate change; in this imagined state there is an agricultural surplus of flour, of which citizens must consume five pounds per day. This evokes unavoidable resonances of Ireland’s tragic past, ironically inverting the problems of the nineteenth-century famine and magnifying the reverberations of rising militarism and nationalism in the twentieth century by staging a newscast in Gaelic.

Unseen By My Open Eyes includes English film transcripts, together with an annex of Korean, Chinese, Persian and Gaeilge (Irish Gaelic) scripts, and an analysis by the acclaimed Irish critic Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith. Gaffney was the first Irish recipient of a Sky Academy Arts Scholarship in 2015, and his work features in the collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art.