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Digital Arts Studios Belfast, Northern Ireland

Paul Mulgrew

​If I was writing a proposal for a project, or some kind of job application – sure, no problem

Artist Intro

Remember ‘National Records of Achievement’? What the hell was that all about? But I could do it – some guff about goals, experience, accomplishments, relentless motivation and of course an ability to work in a team. Oh, and an ability to work on my own. An ability to work in a team, on my own. Yep, if I was selling myself, no problem. We’re used to seeing ourselves as commodities. In fact, it’s hard to see ourselves as anything else. Nope, I’m not here to sell myself, just ‘talk’ about myself. Now how do you do that without sounding like a pretentious twit. My practice… nah. I hope to explore… nah. I aim to investigate… uh-uh. What am I supposed to be doing again? Oh yeah, just say who you are, how hard can that be? Three days of attempted writing and even a sleepless night says, ‘very’! Here’s the thing, it ain’t easy writing about who you are when you can be anyone. Ahh, finally he gets to the point. Yes, yes, all the choices, all the pressures, all the promises of greener grass, all the encouragement to forget about yesterday because tomorrow’s a brand new you, and all the damn stuff. It’s exhausting. In draft number 4003 of this bio I started with, ‘Paul doesn’t know what he’s at.’ I liked that line, so much so I’m gonna go ahead and shoehorn it in here. A background in design, a masters in Contemporary Art, yadda, yadda... and still I can’t resist searching for the next Big Bang. That’s stolen (read: appropriated) from Zygmunt Bauman – the whole ‘each moment is pregnant with the promise of another Big Bang’. Liquid modernity, baby. And did you really expect me to get through all this without some name dropping? Gotta prove I know things. Do we hate anything more these days than not knowing? So anyways, it’s all about potential you see. Or rather, the obligation that we must fulfil our potential. Ceaseless self-improvement. But we’re kinda tired. We’re tired, as Franco Berardi noted, of ‘having to becoming ourselves.’ (Yes, another name drop, get over it.) I like that people are pushing back though. I like that there’s a video on YouTube called ‘Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze’. But then, who has the time to watch that? So I suppose I better give some kind of summary here. How bout this: Paul utilises techniques from advertising and design disciplines and subverts them to examine issues of personal identity and the consequences of the neoliberal agenda proliferation in society. It could be said that his work is largely influenced by the technique of détournement adapted by The Situationist International. It wouldn’t be true, but it could still be said. Twit.

design & development