Cyclops is one episode from an ongoing narrative series which present a portrait of a city through the digitally mediated everyday stories of it's inhabitants . Combining elements of live performance, video, photography and captured audio into a digital framework the project follows the virtual journey of artist Artie Doyle on a Joycean narrative through the streets of Dublin where each discrete episode corresponds to a chapter from Ulysses.

Cyclops adopts the narrative structure of it's corresponding chapter in Ulysses as the viewer adopts the role of an anonymous security officer in the act of tracking our protagonist as he travels through the Temple Bar area of the city using the Cyclops™ surveillance control console. The episode is broken into four scenes each corresponding to a security zone thematically based on the city's political life, artistic life and the poetry of the urban.

Joyce once commented that if Dublin was ever destroyed that they could rebuild it from the pages of his novels. While undoubtedly true the reconstructed city would be like the Dublin that is presented in this narrative, an enhanced city, a city of grand gestures and declamatory statements where the inner life of the citizens, their thoughts, hopes and desires become manifest in the streetscape and the fabric of the city like a contemporary take on pathetic fallacy. A city much like Joyce's Dublin where the mundane is celebrated and everything has significance.

While superficially these scenes have a realistic look, it is soon obvious that they are merely digital creations. What is not clear is whether they are re-creations of real events or creations of fictitious events montaged from real footage, or perhaps it doesn't matter and our relationship with where we come from is always a virtual one created and re-created as necessity dictates.

The narrative is divided into four scenes corresponding to four security zones.

Zone 1: Sign of the times - while passing past the derelict Arthouse building (multimedia centre for the Arts now closed) Artie has a vision of contemporary Dublin with riot police breaking up antiwar protests and cavalcades of Euro ministers roaring through closed off streets. In this scene we see Artie's interior monolugue manifesting in his environment and reflecting current political concerns as the Citizen symbolised the rise of nationalism.
Cyclops zone1
Zone 2: A conversation - Artie meets Clancy the art critic - who panned Artie's first exhibition a fact he has long forgotten but which is still fresh in Artie's memory, an awkward conversation mirroring Bloom's conversation with the Citizen ensues. Every sentence spoken by Artie and Clancy in this scene I have personally heard spoken by an artists or curator in Dublin .
Cyclops zone2
Zone 3: Heroes of Irish Art - Artie's thoughts are overwhelmed by a seemingly neverending fog of names of Irish artists. A list which Artie finds alternatively a list he finds hard to live up to and a barrier to be torn down. The list is the visual art membership of Aosdana - an official State honour role of artists. The list recalls the Citizen's list of Irish Heroes of antiquity.
Cyclops zone3
Zone 4: Thoughts - Presents a surveillance cam's view of the street, using real surveillance footage this scene transforms this raw material into a poetic meditation on the life and energy of the city as it unfolds before our eyes.
Cyclops zone4


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Cyclops is at
FILE RIO, Rio de Janeiro March 2006


©Conor McGarrigle 2005