The Working Record* is the online archiving project of Cork-based photographer and archaeologist Brian Mac Domhnaill. An artist website with full project portfolio is available at brianmacdomhnaill.com.
Brian Mac Domhnaill is a photographer and archaeologist working in heritage and art contexts. Through his photographic and archival practice he follows investigative lines of enquiry to gain insight into a subject. This is done in response to a perceived absence of a human subject in a space. Each successive investigation informs part of an expanded enquiry into the interrelationship between anteriority (what has gone before in time), absence and affect, specifically its influence on the artist but also human behaviour in general. To date this interrelationship has been examined through the documentation of domestic and industrial spaces, marginalised environments associated with death and the body and most recently sites of historical significance and commemoration. Chosen methodologies are influenced by a former career as an archaeologist but no longer bound by the conventions of that discipline. In some cases salvaged archive and artefacts inform and become part of artistic outputs. The aesthetic and means of display for each investigation serve to create a unique record whilst also provoking engagement with an open and incomplete archive. In contrast to documentary narrative, the artist is interested in how information and its representation can be re-imagined within the context of the contemporary museum or gallery, or in an alternative site of engagement.
Brian Mac Domhnaill holds a first class honours MA in Art & Process from the CIT Crawford College of Art & Design (2014), an MSc in Palaeoecology from Queens University Belfast (2001) and a BA in Archaeology and Celtic Civilisation from University College Cork (1997). Since 2015 Brian has been part of a cross-disciplinary team on The Pallasboy Project, which explores the creative process involved in the crafting of prehistoric wooden artefacts. He was a studio member of the Cork Artists Collective 2016-2019 and now works from his home studio in West Cork. Recent awards include an Artist Commission for the Archives of Us: Cork 1918-1922 project awarded by Cork City Council Arts Office as part of the Creative Ireland Programme 2019 and the Cork City Council Individual Artists Bursary 2017. Exhibitions include ‘After Paul Henry’ with Paul McKenna and Gentian Lulanaj at Ballymaloe Grainstore 2015, Cork Photo Festival with John Sunderland at Cork Public Museum 2015 and ‘The Land of Zero’ exhibition and project curated by Maud Cotter and Pluck Projects at Crawford Art Gallery 2014. In the role of curator: ‘Royal Cork Yacht Club, Queenstown/Cobh, 1854–1966’; ‘School Days: Cobh & Great Island’ and ‘Spike Island: People and Place 1847-1883’ at Sirius Arts Centre, ‘Excerpts: Clippings From The Backwater Vaults’ at Backwater Artists Group and ‘Light Proof’ at Cork Printmakers. Brian also fills part-time professional roles as Programme Manager and Producer at Sirius Arts Centre and Studio Coordinator at Backwater Artists Group.
*In archaeology ‘the working record’ often refers to the relatively freeform and personal account of preliminary or unfolding findings recorded in diary and sketch form by a site supervisor during an excavation.