“I am interested in the role photography plays in the construction and expression of individual and collective identities in contemporary society.
In 2014, by entering the words ‘how to make a home’ in Google, I was directed to an online forum where self-described experts had exchanged detailed instructions on how to transform a house into a home. In response, I rented an empty house in suburban Belfast and, over a period of two months, documented how I carried out these strangers’ advice. The resulting work, Home Instruction Manual, (2014-2016) is presented as a publication and an installation, and explores how the photographic image and the home function as interfaces between private and public performance and desire.
I use photography as a starting point to explore how the image can connect with current acts of self determination. The moving image work Vision Board Party (2018), considers photography’s conscious and subconscious affects. Vision Board Parties are collective gatherings where participants, who often encounter each other online, meet to create aspirational ‘boards’ of images sourced from magazines and newspapers. The collages help individuals visualize and manifest their ideal future lives. I filmed participants while they ‘partied towards their purpose’ and engaged with the tactile properties of collaging whilst establishing snapshots of desired futures.
In the work I am currently producing as part of the Freelands Artist Programme (2018-2020), I have been further exploring how people use photography when improving their lives. In our consumption-led society, where desires are shaped by advertising and the photographic image, a ‘better life’ has been commodified and can be bought and built. I am exploring analogies of the factory, how photography connects with individualised and collective self improvement, DIY (Do-It-Yourself) processes, and how it can be used as a tool to generate actual, and imagined, agency”
Jan McCullough (B. 1991) is an artist based in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Her work has been nominated for the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize, ICP New York Infinity Award and won the British Journal of Photography Breakthrough Award. Her book ‘Home Instruction Manual’, published by Verlag Kettler, was awarded the Kassel Fotobookfestival Dummy Award and shortlisted for the Recontres D’Arles Author Book Award.
Recent installations include Gallery of Photography in Dublin, Seen Fifteen Gallery in London, Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam and Landskrona Museum in Sweden.