Enthalpic Everything / Enthalpic Pleasures, 2000

Enthalpic Everything – Limerick City Gallery of Art
Pery Square, Limerick, Ireland
13 July – 12 August, 2000


Enthalpic Pleasures – Triskel Arts Centre
Tobin Street, Cork, Ireland
10 February – 16 March, 2000

There were two net art projects to accompany these exhibitions but the javascripts no longer function and at some point they may get re-coded and re-worked for Web 2.0 and beyond.


Desire is not satisfied; it’s expelled.
Robert Gluck, Jack the Modernist, 1986.


The world uses up its difference as it goes from one conversion to another and tends toward a final state of thermal equilibrium, heat death.
Ilya Prigogine and Isabelle Stengers, Order out of Chaos: Man’s New Dialogue with Nature, 1984.

If Gluck and Prigogine have anything in common it’s the anxiety from the decade they wrote in, one symptomatic notorious for narcissistic greed. The merger of a minor queer novelist and major physicist is inappropriate but my Enthalpic works follow a similar misguided trajectory – enthalpy being a term borrowed from the science of thermodynamics that describes change, or rather heat transfer that results in order out of chaos (entropy). This science is then applied to pipeline mechanics and further interpreted through business management-speak.

The Pig Traps begin as models of sludge collection ducts that are part of the scraping process of pipeline cleaning and maintenance. As transparent macquettes separated from their conduits they become something else. They are machine-made retro plastic shapes, piggy or doggie style receptors of light, transparent purveyors of light, a collection of orifices or holes, ultra-submissive machines awaiting desire or penetration, vacated projectors, a potential threesome, open-ended gas space heaters, receptacles for expelled semen or cum traps, passive viewers or onlookers, stylish empty-headed bareback fuck machines.

There are many conflicting ideas in the work that come together in the finished works. There is, however, no resolution attempted, the critical success factor projected through on of the Pig Traps states that you need to create relational oscillations, i.e., there are links here that need to be understood relationally, connections between conflicting objects, formats and texts which share a common narrative.

All of the works are subject to a set of critical success factors – primary process performance measures in project management. These occur as text within the works or a vinyl lettering on the walls. Each describe a factor for achieving enthalpic pleasure which can be understood as the heat between individuals during social or sexual interaction.

A large wall piece acts as the ultimate interpretative aid. Each part of the enthalpic everything exhibition was discussed with a business management consultant who recorded the dialogue on flip chart sheets. This data was then entered into Microsoft Project software and the resulting GANTT chart graphically breaks down the entire artistic or aesthetic experience into specific activities of looking, feeling and thinking. Links were then added between the works to calculate the elapsed time taken to understand the concepts in the show, as well as the slacks and delays that occur in the interpretative process.

Modern techniques and technology are used throughout but the aim of the work is to blend formal and interpretative strategies to create a different kind of visual experience, where language leads the viewer through possible narratives between the pieces.