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‘Forgotten Cornwall’ takes over Plymouth exhibition

Plymouth-based artist Molly Erin McCarthy responds to ‘Yonaoshi’ with series of AR Instagram filters

Launching MIRROR’s Give & Takeover programme, Plymouth College of Art alumni and multimedia artist Molly Erin McCarthy will be creating a series of augmented reality (AR) Instagram filters responding to ‘Yonaoshi’, the latest solo exhibition by South West Showcase artist Huhtamaki Wab, from 17 March to 11 June at MIRROR.

Combining influences from Japanese mythology with concepts of ecological collapse and world renewal and featuring paintings, textiles, performance and sculpture, ‘Yonaoshi’ opens in MIRROR at Plymouth College of Art with a drinks reception on Thursday 17 March from 5pm to 7pm. Molly’s Instagram filters will go live at the same time and run alongside the exhibition.

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Molly Erin McCarthy

The Give & Takeover commission series encourages artists to respond to exhibitions presented by MIRROR. Give & Takeover projects can take any form, with the only restriction being that they must not disturb the exhibition they are responding to and intervening in. The series has been funded by Arts Council England with the support of National Lottery players.

Molly Erin McCarthy is a multimedia artist based in Plymouth, who completed a Foundation Diploma at Plymouth College of Art’s Pre-Degree centre, before graduating from BA (Hons) Fine Art at the college in 2020 with First Class Honours. Molly works predominantly with 3D, digital and interactive media, with her work exploring themes of progress and power, questioning what we mean by ‘development’ - who it serves and why. Alongside her practice, Molly has worked with organisations such as Plymouth Art Weekender, KARST, MIRROR and CAMP.

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Molly's augmented reality filters

Molly’s series of Instagram filters, titled Before The Linyow Came, showcase four AR sculptures of landmarks from a speculative fiction world based on the ‘Forgotten Corner of Cornwall’. Referring to the Rame Peninsula in South East Cornwall, the so-named ‘Forgotten Corner’ is located away from main travel routes and towns, which often means it’s bypassed by visitors. Despite its ‘forgottenness’, issues of tourism, gentrification and extreme differences in wealth and privilege affecting the region have still found their way there.

Each AR sculpture is inspired by real sites and objects, reimagined as part of a world that wonders: what might this landscape look like if these issues continue to persist? Presented as Instagram filters, Before The Linyow Came explores the potential for co-opting online platforms to widen accessibility to digital art, while critiquing their capitalist structures from within.

Molly’s Instagram filters, designed specifically to interact and sit amongst Wab’s work, can also be experienced anywhere in the world. The filters, which will go live on 17 March in line with the opening of ‘Yonaoshi’, are accessible through QR codes and web links.

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KOWBAL (ferry)

TEVYANS, meaning growth in Cornish, is a leafy vine that appears to dangle from real world objects. KOWBAL, representing the Torpoint chain ferry which connects Cornwall to Devon, brings a large grey futuristic boat to life, complete with travelling cars disembarking from the ship. FENTEN, meaning spring or fountain in the Cornish language, brings the familiar structure of a well into augmented reality. DREHEVEL, the Cornish word for heave, build, construct or erect, is represented by a tall silver aerial-like structure borne out of black and green architecture.

Hannah Rose, curator at MIRROR said, “Molly’s work responds to Wab’s exhibition in a fascinating way, highlighting the element of other worlds by bringing Cornwall sites and objects into the exhibition using interactive AR filters. Give & Takeover is a great opportunity for artists, students and staff members at the college to intervene with live exhibitions at MIRROR. With so much of our focus dedicated to supporting the development of artists, especially those in the South West region, it’s great to see Plymouth College of Art alumni and South West-based artist Molly embrace this opportunity.”

‘Yonaoshi’ runs in MIRROR at Plymouth College of Art until 11 June 2022 with the opening event on Thursday 17 March from 5pm to 7pm. MIRROR is open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday 10am to 2pm and closed on Sundays. It is free to visit MIRROR.