Graduate award | Caoilfhionn Hanton

Graduate Award: August 2023 – January 2024
SETU Waterford Visual Arts graduate Caoilfhionn Hanton awarded a 6 month residency and support bursary.

Each year GOMA awards selected recent graduates in Ireland with a range of resources such as exhibitions, residencies bursaries and training. This year a diverse selection of work from graduates of SETU Waterford, MTU Crawford College of Art and Design, Limerick School of Art and Design and NCAD were viewed by a judging panel to offer awards and resources to students – highlighting the wealth of talent graduating annually across a range of disciplines.

As part of our residency programme the successful awardee is provided with a studio space, access to all GOMA Waterford facilities such as our editing suit, dark room facilities, sculpture studios and supports from external mentors.

This residency aims to support artists’ to create a new body of work and allow projects to flourish.

Read more about Caoilfhionn Hanton’s work here >>


I’m a mixed-media artist based in Waterford and a recent graduate of South East Technological University with a BA (Hons) Degree in Visual Art. Raised on a nutritional diet of ubiquitous overstimulating algorithmic content and cute customizable self-surveillance, I’m naturally consumed and repulsed by the social fabrics of hypermodernity. 

Through painting and mixed-media assemblage of image-transfer, sculpture, performative films and the transfiguration of the ‘poor image’ screenshot, I explore affectionate anthropology and the dissemination of digital folklore. My observations of Post-Internet suburban monotony and disparate worlds found online warp with abstractions inspired by my experience of post-seizure hallucinations from childhood epilepsy, as well as the drunken stupor of lizard-brain lethargy after a digital dopamine deep-scroll.

I see humour and whimsy in the disposable distractions of flattened-culture; like when Instagram scammer pornbots with hilarious geographically-targeted usernames flood my notifications. Perhaps that is eco-existentialist cognitive dissonance, but ‘@Brigid_doogan99618973’ momentarily pacifies my furious yearning for the ancient yet recently inconceivable societal pillars many of my generation and more feel robbed of. MILFhood on a planet that’s not being ecologically murdered, being one.

Visually investigating this ontology of chronically-online childhood to infantilized adulthood by virtue of neoliberalism feels akin to visiting a metaphysical purgatory. Somewhere between the ‘IRL’ and the ‘URL’, waits an adolescence preserved in pixels I can return to, with chimeric apparitions delivering us from omnicrisis to a utopian future. I feel as though I have Hito Stereyl on one shoulder and Trisha Paytas on the other. As the meme goes, “one foot in the darkness and one foot in a Hello Kitty rollerskate”.

Caoilfhionn Hanton

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