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Interactive Visual Art Exhibition

Black Box Theatre, Galway

November 4-11, 2022 .

Persona, is a free interactive visual-art exhibition created by Martin Maguire in collaboration with adults with ID from That’s Life, Galway.


Through direct collaboration with a hand picked group, Martin explored personality and identity via costume, music and image. The work used Augmented Reality to create a space of multiple possibilities where objects appear, like magic, summoned on demand as spectators interact with the work via smart devices. Persona was a deeply human project which seeks to interrogate our ideas of perceived identity while celebrating an individual’s dignity and worth.

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Photo Credit - Geoff Allan

Our adults with ID were involved in a process to interpret specific characters from Greek mythology through costume and performance of their own making.

Over a series of interactions, they selected which persona they wished to become, and how they would like the world to see and hear them in their new imagined forms. Portraits of the participants show them in their natural state making various physical gestures and poses.

Spectators are able to reveal in real time the alter ego/new persona chosen and designed by the individuals themselves. When interacted with, an augmented reality overlay of this new character with costume and props appears, resulting in interactive portraits.

The project began in late 2020 when That’s Life and the Radius project at ATU invited Martin to create a new work which would collaborate directly with their participants.

In early 2021 a series of engagements began with 10 members of That’s Life involving drawing, photography, slow motion videography, spoken word, costume and performance. The idea developed into creating characters as a framework for exploration, focusing on the primordial gods.

Each participant chose one of the 10 main primordial elements to explore out of air, sky, water, earth, day, night, underworld, darkness, love and time.

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“The concept I developed was based around the idea of perceived identity – ‘persona'. I wanted to explore the many layers that exist between us and another individual. These often-opaque barriers can be populated with bias, preconceptions and assumptions. What is it like to truly see another human being? What is revealed when we take time to properly look and potentially see past a ‘character’ or ‘archetype’ we have assigned other people in haste?”

Martin Maguire interview with This is Galway

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Photo Credit - Martin Maguire

Our group began their exploration physically through movement in collaboration with Sandra O’Malley from Blue Raincoat Theatre in Sligo, then continued with spoken word and drawing. Each individual was then interviewed about the human experience, life, death, love and loss. A unique drawing was created by participants that were then interpreted in textile form by costume designer and project collaborator Sharon Gilham, who created costumes that each participant would be photographed in for the work shown in the exhibition. These layers and other audio elements are exposed by the spectator using augmented reality as they interact with the main work.

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