Cat and Éiméar McClay

  • 2020
  • Art
  • Intermedia - BA (Hons)

Cat and Éiméar McClay: MAGIC ISN'T WORKING

Cat and Éiméar McClay

What do you want people to know about your graduation project? 

The narrative of our graduation project MAGIC ISN’T WORKING centres around a dog called Charles Saatchi, and his plans to throw a rave in his eponymous gallery.

Each character in the work is named after a prominent white male figure in the art world; this allows them to function as metonyms for patriarchal power. Similarly, the art market they circulate operates as a micromodel for the corruption and hegemony coded into capitalist institutions.

In this project, we have borrowed literary techniques from autotheoretical writers like Linda Stupart and Kathy Acker, and transposed them onto video; we are interested in rejecting the boundaries around traditional media and finding new modes of expressing our ideas.

What or who is your inspiration and why is following this route important to you? 

We are inspired by feminist autotheoretical practices and experimental literature; these modes of working facilitate the amalgamation of art, cultural theory and creative writing. Engaging in this discourse is important to us, as we wish to challenge the false dichotomy between logic and emotion that pervades the patrilineal genealogy of cultural and academic reproduction.

Linda Stupart, Sara Ahmed, Audre Lorde, Dodie Bellamy and Isabel Waidner are amongst our favourite authors, as we admire their contributions to dialectics of queerness, identity and power.

What has been your favourite thing about ECA and Edinburgh? 

Our favourite thing about ECA has been the freedom studying Intermedia has given us to explore our ideas; the conceptual approach of the course has allowed us to develop a cross-disciplinary practice centred around video and digital media.

In addition, we greatly appreciated the opportunity studying here gave us to take part in the student exhibition Trading Zone at the Talbot Rice Gallery, the University of Edinburgh’s art gallery.

The mentorship we received from curators there helped develop our practice; planning a public exhibition in collaboration with them was a valuable experience, as it gave us the confidence to be more ambitious with future projects. 

Our favourite thing about Edinburgh is its architecture and proximity to nature.

Cat and Éiméar McClay, MAGIC ISN'T WORKING
Cat and Éiméar McClay
Cat and Éiméar McClay, MAGIC ISN'T WORKING
Cat and Éiméar McClay

What are your hopes for life after ECA? Do you have any plans? 

After graduating from ECA, we intend to continue practicing collaboratively. We are also both keen to pursue postgraduate degrees in future, but plan on taking a break from university to decide what to study.

Is there anything you’d like to share about your experience studying here? 

During our time at Edinburgh College of Art we have learned to research and practice independently. Through both our art practice and dissertations, we have discovered research materials that have provided us with a strong vantage point from which to produce work after graduation. Being allowed to work collaboratively throughout our degree has given us time to build up a dialogue with each other that we will continue into the future.


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