2022 Grad Show

Claire MacMahon

AUArts Grad Show 4


My practice is concerned with the negotiation of ideas of the self as mediated by others, popular media, surveillance capitalism, and one’s own mental health. Specifically, I am concerned with the mutability of the self within these parameters, and how, within contemporary society, the notion of the “true self” creates an unattainable desire to solidify the ever-changing self. Within my practice, I explore questions such as how much control do we really have over who we are? And, how mutable is the self? These questions are primarily explored within video installations and video performance works where I look to create a space of exploration and contemplation where we can reflect on aspects of ourselves as opposed to attempting to solidify the mutable self.

Outside In

Outside In 2021 looks at how our internally and externally known selves differ, and how we are viewed or augmented by technology. A real-time video of the audience walking around the gallery is projected into a mirror ball hanging from the ceiling, which reflects the video, fragmented, onto three walls of the gallery. Referencing surveillance, I create an experience where the self is understood as an externally perceived and consumed subject forcing us to look at ourselves as a spectator. As other visitors navigate the gallery, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish which figure is one's own, exploring how, when we are viewed through technology, we become a version of self that has been categorized, simplified and distributed.

Breathe In, Breathe Out

Breathe In, Breathe Out 2021, is a three-walled video performance that recreates a dissociative experience within the artist's apartment. Projected, one on each wall, are three versions of the artist. However, each respective version of the artist is also not just one figure, but two versions of the artist, one projected on top of the other. This work uses multiple layers of projection to question the singularity of one's physical existence, the multiplicity of self, and dissociative fragmentation that can establish concurrent “realities”.


My work, Taking consists of a small television-sized box attached to the wall. The front of the box is mirrored; a clear lens carved in the centre of the mirror creates a fisheye effect. As the viewer peers inside the box, they see a projection of a living space with a figure going about their day. By placing the viewer in a voyeuristic position, they become the dominant watcher. As the viewer moves to look into the box, they are confronted with their own image in the mirror, creating a cycle of watching and being watched. The scene in the box is blurred and warped through the lens, making the figure appear ambiguous, suggesting that the figure in the box could be anyone—even the viewer.


View 2022 consists of a small monitor standing opposite to a box with a camera placed inside. Through mirrors and lenses within the box, the camera is able to capture the scenes both in front of and behind the box. The camera's feed is displayed on the monitor. Through the capturing of multiple views of the gallery room, there is a contained and detached nature to the live video shown on the monitor. As the audience sees themselves within the alternate reality of the monitor, they start to buy into the new reality that is being created.