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Cat and Éiméar McClay

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Cat and Éiméar McClay are Irish-born collaborative artists currently based in Edinburgh. They each received their BA in Intermedia Art from Edinburgh College of Art in June 2020.

Their collaborative practice considers ideas of queerness, abjection and patriarchal systems of power and oppression through an interdisciplinary body of work comprising video, 3D models, installation and digital collage. It draws on and seeks to examine the historical narration of the queer body within heteronormative society.

In their work, the McClays explore the relationship between the representation of queerness in popular culture and the embodied experiences of queer people. By centring their personal experiences as queer women in the narratives of their films, they take an embodied approach to the representation of queer female identity. Through such practices, they hope to interrupt the patrilineal genealogy of cultural reproduction, and to challenge binary distinctions between critical thinking and subjectivity. 

The McClays take an intuitive approach to editing. They often re-work and re-contextualise the same images from their digital archive to question and expand on their meaning. Combining filmed footage and photographs of their surroundings with digitally constructed imagery allows them to play with representation by confusing the boundary between reality and fiction. Capturing and experimenting with glitches and mistakes in their footage helps them to explore the materiality of digital media.

They are interested in the reclamation of magic and witchcraft by women and queer people in response to female and queer persecution during the witch trials, as a result of which many such individuals were burned to eliminate the threat their suspected sorcery posed to hegemonic patriarchy. In reference to this, they use a variety of computer programmes to simulate magic; this allows them to fragment images of their bodies and objects, and use them to build immersive virtual and physical spaces. 

Awards: Trading Zone 2019, Talbot Rice gallery, Edinburgh (participating artists), Futurelab, West Bund Centre, Shanghai, China (participating artists), Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2020 Selected Artists, Friends of the University of Edinburgh Visual Art Award 2020, RSA New Contemporaries 2021




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