Difference Engine is both an evolving exhibition and a model of artist-led curation founded by Wendy Judge, Gillian Lawler, Mark Cullen and Jessica Foley. We have been working and touring together throughout Ireland and abroad since 2009. Jessica, who has had an active involvement since 2009, has stepped away due to other work commitments but will always be a fond correspondent and remote collaborator with the group.
Our collective name is lifted from the 19th century work of Charles Babbage, the world’s first mechanical computational machine:The Difference Engine. Babbage was a cantankerous English mathematician, philosopher, inventor, mechanical engineer and notorious collaborator with the world’s first computer programmer, Lady Ada Lovelace.
We have adopted the name Difference Engine as a kind of poetic motto for working together creatively, pragmatically and critically. We particularly enjoy Babbage’s aphorism that “Jamming is a form of Error Detection,” and take this as something of a slogan for our collective experimentation and collaboration.
As Difference Engine we play with the idea of ‘jamming’ as both a way of making art and a way of life. In one sense ‘jamming’ signifies stasis, shock, or rupture, but in another sense it signifies change, growth, improvisation and invigoration between players. We understand this ambiguity as reflective of the capacity we share for generating creative politics from where and when we live.
Difference Engine exhibitions are devised over months and years. Our works change and morph through conversation with each other and some works disappear and reappear from one show to the next. We often combine painting, video, sculpture, objects and props, as well as words, sounds and language. We summon each other and our audiences to generate relations, associations and stories from the pieces composed within the space and place of exhibition. For us, Difference Engine operates as a metaphor and model of radical politics and aesthetic experiment that allows us to generate critical counterpoints between personal and artistic concerns and broader social, political and environmental matters of living and dying on this earth, now.
Mark Cullen: www.markcullen.org
Jessica Foley: www.jessicafoleywriting.com
Wendy Judge: www.wendyjudgeart.squarespace.com
Gillian Lawler: www.gillianlawler.org
2018 Resort Revelations, Lynders Mobile Home Park, Portrane, curated by Caroline Cowley, 2018.
2018 Difference Engine XI – Altern_ators, HDLU, Croatian Association of Artists, Zagreb.
2017 Difference Engine X – Travelator, ONONO, Rotterdam, curated by Tracy Hanna.
2013 Difference Engine – Accumulator III, Limerick City Gallery, curated by Helen Carey.
2013 Difference Engine, Accumulator II, Oriel Myrrdin Gallery, Wales.
2012 Difference Engine, Accumulator, West Cork Arts Centre.
2011 Difference Engine, Manifestation V, SOMA Contemporary, Waterford.
2011 Difference Engine, Manifestation IV, Wexford Arts Centre.
2011 Difference Engine, Manifestation III, thisisnotashop and Clemente Soto Velez Cultural & Educational Centre, New York, curated by Jessamyn Fiore and Victoria Keddie.
2010 Difference Engine, Manifestation II, ESB Substation Cork with The Black Mariah and The Triskel Arts Centre.
2009 Difference Engine, Manifestation, Cake Contemporary Arts, Kildare.
Related collaborative aspects of these exhibitions included music performances, such as those performed by Bloodyends (The Black Mariah & CSV, New York), responsive audio/visual performances, such as those programmed by Jessamyn Fiore/thisisnotashop & Victoria Keddie in response to our exhibition at CSV by New York based artists and workshops for young people as part of Resort Revelations.
Difference Engine, Accumulator II at Limerick City Gallery of Art, 2013 by Michaele Cutaya, Limerick City Gallery Exhibition Texts 008, 2014.
This is Tomorrow, review of Difference Engine, Accumulator 2, by Ciara Healy, 2013.
The Sunday Times, review of Difference Engine, SOMA, by Cristin Leach, 2011.
The Examiner, review of Difference Engine, Manifestation 2, by Anna Crudge, June 2010.
Difference Engine, Alternators, exhibition catalogue which accompanied Difference Engine Alternators at the HDLU, Zagreb, Croatia, 2018.
Difference Engine I-VI, 2009 – 2012, published by Difference Engine, 2012/2014.