Cynthia Vale – Artist
The Dymphna Series One is foremost a conceptual series.
art in which the idea presented by the artist is considered more important than the finished product, if there is one.
Dymphna Series One reifies what existed on Facebook in 2009. Specifically, an application created inside the FB Gift Creator application. By creating the virtual into material form, the Dymphna Series becomes a series of historical artifacts.
The story behind the series began with a friend photoshopping my face onto an image of St. Dymphna, the patron saint of the insane, and posting the image onto my FB page. I found humour in this. I wondered what kind of miracles would St. Dymphna be involved in.
I appropriated images, some famous, all interesting, and tagged them with “miracles” that made sense to me, in essence, recontextualizing these images with my own ideas about modern miracles.
- to place (something, such as a literary or artistic work) in a different context
- Appropriation in art is the use of pre-existing objects or images with little or no transformation applied to them. The use of appropriation has played a significant role in the history of the arts (literary, visual, musical and performing arts).
At this point in the process I developed the application “Miracles of St. Dymphna of the Mentals” using the very simple Gift Creator app in FB. This allowed my friends and fans to gift my version of “miracles” to friends and family. The miracles were created in the metamodern sense of hope and idealism oscillating with despair, cynicism, and satire. Some had humour. Some were thought provoking.
See a list below of all miracles, each linked to an image detail.
Within a few months thousands of fans swapped various miracles and posted them to each other’s FB pages.
Unfortunately in 2010 it was banned for being “offensive”. Miracles of St. Dymphna of the Mentals could no longer be traded or gifted. As part of my process, I saved screenshots from the Gift Creator Developer page before it was ultimately lost from FB.
Today, The Dymphna Series One is screenshots from this application transferred onto canvas with some editing in order to serve as historical artifact. I treated the canvas as a lost artifact, tagging each one in red with historical data such as Description, Public Exposure Risks, and Status.
The screenshots are from the developer’s POV (my POV) in terms of adding, rearranging, and deleting content. Since it was banned for offensiveness, the viewer is presented with an opportunity to mentally edit – delete content that may challenge them. As viewer, what offends you?
Each “miracle” displays the number of times each one was sent within a couple days of launch. I’ve preserved the representation of the interface presented to the developer at that time, in canvas form. The screenshots were taken at different times as I added more content to the application.
A typical piece looks like the image below. A snapshot of my computer monitor with a large centered “miracle” and surrounding thumbnail miracles as I edited, arranged, and added them. In essence, the viewer sees a large representation of my development environment from 2009. I had added 86 metamodern miracles in all.
It’s a snapshot of what once was. Notice the adverts along the right. I took the liberty to update the Faux News advert.
The canvas is tagged as an artifact, a preservation of history, particularly banned history. Here is the tag. It’s different for each piece.
Each 24×20 inch canvas goes through some artistic treatment finalized in a thick resin coating which looks like computer monitor glass. The resin coating finishes the piece and looks like this. The resin is glossy and coats the canvas ~1 mm thick, like glass. The canvas is mounted on a stiff board, gallery-wrapped, and then treated.
A half dozen of the pieces are available in an X-Large Format 43 X 27 inches. They do not have the resin coating, they have been treated with a protective acrylic spray. The thick canvas is mounted on heavy stretcher bars and gallery-wrapped. See the category X-Large for these specific miracles.
Each piece has been treated in a wholly original way that may not be apparent to the naked eye in order to ensure provenance.
In summary, The Dymphna Series One is online content reified into the offline world. Each piece is a record of what was lost. Each piece explores the underlying themes of the original metamodern miracles including cynicism, satire, whimsy, thought experiments, and hopeful/hopelessness.
Most pieces are not finished but you can view a detail of the main “miracle” for each one. Commission one! Only one original may be commissioned for each “miracle.”
Dymphna Series 2 is forthcoming. Ive extended the series to include the current US political and cultural environment. If you are interested in something customized, email firstname.lastname@example.org
List of art pieces by “miracle”, see Categories below:
Omniscience – No longer available. Gifted to Facebook Corporation
Anatomically Correct Jesus Doll with Instruction Handbook No Longer available. Private Collection.