Born 1980, Tommie Soro is an Irish artist and researcher whose work focuses on how symbolic communications produce meaning and value within particular social structures. Graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Art from Dublin Institute of Technology, he went on to complete a Master of Fine Art at The Dutch Art Institute in the Netherlands and received his PhD on Contemporary Art Discourse from Technological University Dublin. Typically taking the form of interventions in public space, his work proposes that contemporary art has an underutilised potential as a mode of public discourse. In juxtaposition to this public-facing practice, he also produces work in the tradition of institutional critique, often addressing how this tradition functions within the artworld’s reputational economy. Working across a range of mediums, including performance, video, and print, teasing out relationships between form and content is central to his work.
A Cyborg Picnic
A Cyborg Picnic explores the notion of utopia through a contemporary lens. Having lost their absolute claim to truth, the plethora of human origin stories produced in pre-postmodern eras – the Garden of Eden, the emergence of language, the invention of tools, the foundation of democracy, the evolution of homo sapiens – no longer convince us of whence we came. Our postmodern present is equally unsettling as we progress toward global warming, swelling refugee camps, mass species extinction, and so on. A present in which the dualisms we inherited - man and woman, human and animal, human and machine, which are all around us breaking down, continue to divide us. Unmoored by competing origins and disoriented by shifting identities, the postmodern subject cannot believe in inevitable futures. Without comforting narratives of natural origin and utopian end, be that end Heaven or the communist result of Marx’s dialectic, the postmodern subject must find solace in undetermined and surely imperfect futures. In our current fractured states of being, facing the ravaging of our world by global finance, corporatism and neo-fascism, apocalyptic futures have taken on a new meaning. Far from the last judgement, when all will be judged and the cosmic balance restored, the postmodern subject can find comfort in a post-apocalyptic future in which the machinery of mankind, our petty social distinctions and the suffocating pressure of progress are left to ruin amid smoking rubble. A future where cyborgs, free at last, might enjoy a beer while the world burns.
A magnum opus in the era of Christian supremacy, Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights conveyed to its audience their precise location between Paradise lost and Heaven. It explained their roles in the narrative of humanity. A Cyborg Picnic appropriates the form and symbolism-based methodology of this triptych, harnessing its story-telling power to tell a story about subjects who are tired of stories, a story about a world that has no natural order, a story about finding hope in imperfect futures.