The ever-widening circle of Flann O’Brien

A unique immersive video and art installation experience
created by Donegal artists David, Edward and Joanna O’Kane. Also featuring an original typescript of The Third Policeman!

42-43 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin
15-19 July, 10:00am-5:00pm
Free admission. All are welcome.
For further information, please call 353 (0)1 614 7450.

Conference Reception: Wednesday, 17 July, 6:30pm

Conference delegates are warmly invited to Boston College Ireland for drinks & hors d’oeuvres, exhibition viewing, and programme with Blindboy Boatclub in conversation with Boston College professor and Joycestick virtual reality creator Joseph Nugent.

The Artists

The video and art installations for this exhibition have been created by David, Edward, and Joanna O’Kane. The O’Kanes are visual artists from Cavanacor near Lifford in Donegal, just across the border from O’Nolan’s birthplace in Strabane, County Tyrone.

David O'Kane, Third Policeman

DAVID O’KANE’S artwork spans a variety of media, ranging from stop-motion video animation, painting, drawing, photography, and printmaking. The exhibition features his earliest O’Nolan-inspired artwork: a short film, ‘Babble’, with actors portraying Flann O’Brien, Franz Kafka, and Jorges Luis Borges, each reciting quotations from their writings in their native languages in an intertextual, fictional conversation. It also features animated vignettes responding to O’Nolan’s writings, some filmed in the now dilapidated house in Strabane where O’Nolan was born, and a one-time installation fabricated from reproductions of typescripts of The Third Policeman overlayed with charcoal-drawn images.

For his paintings and drawings, EDWARD O’KANE weaves together physical and textual histories from the locality of O’Nolan’s youth, childhood comics, and archival documents with motifs from O’Nolan’s writings and various framing devices.

JOANNA O’KANE has created uncanny masks reminiscent of O’Nolan’s numerous pseudonyms. Repetition of the masks throughout three floors of the building evokes O’Nolan’s notion of multiple worlds, the artificiality of identity, and the fantastic and horrifying afterlife envisioned in The Third Policeman.

The ever-widening spiral

Listen. Before I go I will tell you this. When I am gone you are dead. I am your soul, and all your souls. Past humanity is not only implicit in each new man born but is contained in him. Humanity is an ever-widening spiral and life is the beam that plays briefly on each succeeding ring. All humanity from its beginning to its end is already present but the beam has not yet played beyond you. Your earthly successors await dumbly and trust to your guidance and mine and all my people inside me to preserve them and lead the light further.

Joe (the narrator’s soul)
The Third Policeman, Chapter 8