A temporary public artwork, Sculpture At Kells 1999
As part of Sculpture At Kells 99 exhibition in Kells, Co. Kilkenny and part of The Kilkenny Arts Festival, O’Connell was invited to make an artistic intervention in relation to the historic ruins of Kells Priory. She made a temporary public artwork in two parts, an engineered hydro-generator at Mullins Mill and an artwork using light placed under Kells Bridge to the south east of the village by.
Link manifests itself in two ways, physically by day and ephemerally by night. By day it manifests itself in an engineered steel and wooden hydro-generator positioned at the sluice gate in the river at Mullins Mill with the aim of capturing the natural energy from the King’s River. By night it makes visible that gathered energy (stored in tractor batteries) manifest in a single light. This illuminates the central arch under the bridge at a point where two parishes meet.
O’ Connells temporary intervention looks at the geography of place through the lens of history, looking at space and time. Exploring the significance of place in a contemplative way by means of physical and ephemeral presences. “The magnitude of the Priory ruins could not be competed with” she says. Her aim was to utilize the river’s energy and show it simply making a link with the river as it was the motivating factor why such settlements by the Normans and by the Augustian Monks and the many industrial mills were built along its banks.