Artist Talks

As part of this year’s artist talk series, we invited a number of professionals from outside the art world to join artists in discussing the number of issues and themes within the presented projects. By inviting external professionals, we aim to investigate how can Photography and the Arts be interpreted into other disciplines and into our social lives. This series will see contemporary artistic practices activate conversations around relevant and current topics, such as technology, the environment, and our futures.


Image: Curator Sergio Valenzuela Escobedo and artist Mathieu Asselin. Photo by Nicola Coppola.

Talks Schedule

6pm Fri 2 July — PhotoIreland Festival Launch with Hertta Kiiski

6pm Friday 2 July via Zoom

Join us to celebrate the twelfth edition of PhotoIreland Festival. Artist Hertta Kiiski will join the conversation to speak more about her commissioned work Milky Way exhibited this year in Project Arts Centre and Rathfarnham Castle.

1pm Wed 7 July — Dániel Szalai and David Hunt

1pm Wednesday 7 July via Zoom

A conversation between artist Dániel Szalai and David Hunt, moderated by PhotoIreland Festival. We will talk about the complexities of the human-animal relationship, the role of technology within this relationship and our food systems. The conversation will be held in the context of Dániel’s project ‘Unleash Your Herd’s Potential’, which is exhibited as part of the group show Bite the Hand That Feeds You, and we will find out more about the photogrammetry technology behind it, while reflecting on surveillance and the future of agriculture.

About the Speakers

Daniel Szalai is a visual artist born in Hungary, in 1991. His works investigate peculiar manifestations of human-animal relationships and reflect on ecological, societal, political and economic anomalies.

Szalai studied photography at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest and the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and also holds a degree in Art and Design Theory.

In 2020, Szalai was selected for the Futures Photography Platform and nominated for the C/O Berlin Talent Award. A year earlier, he was a winner of the LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards and the recipient of the ON Award at OFF Bratislava. In 2018, he became a laureate of the Carte Blanche Award and he was awarded the grand prize at the Budapest Portfolio Review. He was a participant of PARALLEL – European Photo Based Platform in 2018–2019.

David Hunt started his career as a corporate banker but his primary interest was always the great outdoors. Since leaving banking in 2010, David has worked in crop and livestock agriculture as a managing director and a founder.

David is a faculty member of Singularity University, where he focuses on the future of agriculture and what kind of global agricultural system our rapidly developing technology might enable.

David is also a qualified game ranger for southern African ecologies.

David has provided consultancy for the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the United States Department of Energy on sustainable agriculture and the European Union Agriculture and Rural Development Cabinet on agricultural legislation and entrepreneurship. He is also an accomplished public speaker, chiefly discussing the intersection of technology and agriculture. David is an active Agtech investor, and acts as board member and advisor to many leading AgTech start-ups.


Image from Unleash Your Herd’s Potential, Dániel Szalai

1pm Wed 14 July — Hans van der Meer, Niall Sargent, and Sinéad Moran

1pm Wednesday 14 July via Zoom

In this conversation between photographer Hans van der Meer, investigative journalist Niall Sargent, and farmer Sinéad Moran of Gleann Buí Farm, we reflect on the topic of cattle breeding, the sustainability of our farming industries, and the balance between food production and good stewardship. How will we, the consumer, shape the future of food production and what will be the role of animals in it?

The talk is presented in the context of van der Meer’s project Time to Change, which looks at the changing and progressive world of the Dutch dairy cow and is presented in the festival’s main exhibition Bite the Hand that Feeds You. Van der Meer is joined by investigative journalist Niall Sargent who brings the topic into the Irish context and will additionally talk about unsustainable farming practices and the systems that support them.

About the Speakers

Hans van der Meer is a documentary photographer. Through photography, film and writing Van der Meer examines the world around him. He studied at the Technical School for Photography in The Hague and the Rijksacademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. With an eye for coincidence, body language and absurdity he photographed everyday life on the streets of Budapest (Hungary) in the mid-80s. His observations were published in Quirk of Fate (1987) and won a World Press Award in the Daily Life category. The projects Dutch Fields (1998) and European Fields (2006), about football in its original form, brought him international acclaim in the art world and beyond. In 2004 he published Achterland (Hinterland), dealing with spatial planning in The Netherlands. In 2012 followed by The Netherlands – Off the shelf, in which he brings together his own photography and his fascination for vernacular photography by including catalogue images of street furniture. In 2018 Time to Change – The Changing World of the Dutch Cow was published, in which he is looking at, and thinking about, cows and consequently dairy farming, animal welfare, hi-tech food production, and its impact on the environment. His photographs and writings were published in leading Dutch newspapers de Volkskrant and NRC. His work is shown in museums and galleries around the globe.

Niall Sargent is a multimedia investigative journalist for Noteworthy, a platform by Journal Media, publishers of Ireland’s leading online news source Niall’s work focuses on issues related to climate change, biodiversity, ecosystem services and food production. Prior to his move into journalism, Niall worked as a Criminal Intelligence Analyst with INTERPOL.

Sinéad Moran and her partner Mick returned to farming in 2016 and now manage a mixed herd of cows on 27 acres of High Nature Value Farmland in the West of Ireland. They are passionate about conserving the species rich grass, mature trees and biodiversity that is found on their farm. Unconventional farmers, their objective at Gleann Buí Farm is to produce food that is fair to people, place and planet. They bottle and sell organic raw milk and eggs to the local community. Farming for nature Ambassadors for 2020, you can follow their farm life on social media @gleannbuifarm

Sinead is a Trinity College Natural Science Graduate with a Masters from NUI Galway in Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. Her research looked at the potential of sustainable diets to reduce national GHG emissions. She has professional experience in the environmental and development NGO sector.

Image: from Time to Change by Hans van der Meer

8pm Wed 14 July — aemi and Kevin Gaffney

8pm Wednesday 14 July via Zoom

To accompany the artists film screening ‘To be consumed in totality’, we join aemi and Kevin Gaffney to talk about the seven artists’ works, exploring the tension between our experience of natural and constructed realities through a wide range of processes and materials, including 16mm experimental film, fiction, documentary and archival footage.

About the Speakers

aemi is an Arts Council-funded organisation that supports and regularly exhibits moving image works by artists and experimental filmmakers. aemi’s key objective is to provide support for artists working with the moving image in order to contribute to a developing infrastructure around these practices in Ireland. aemi is dedicated to expanding audiences for this material through regular curated programmes of Irish and international work with the intention of enriching the critical discourse that surrounds the wide range of activity in this area. aemi prioritises access to the cinema as an important site of exhibition for artists and makes this space available to engage with overlooked histories of practice and cultivate new forms of expression through the moving image.

Kevin Gaffney is an artist filmmaker based between Dublin and Belfast. He graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2011 with an MA Photography and Moving Image, and was awarded the first Sky Academy Arts Scholarship for an Irish artist in 2015. He was an UNESCO-Aschberg laureate artist in residence at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art’s Changdong Residency in South Korea (2014) and received the Kooshk Artist Residency Award to create a new film in Iran (2015). A monograph of his work, Unseen By My Open Eyes, was published in 2017. He is currently a PhD researcher at Ulster University.


Image: Kevin Gaffney, A Numbness in the Mouth

2pm Sun 18 July — Dorothy Cashman

At the Present Time: Gender, class, politics, and the cookbook in Ireland

2pm Sunday 18 July via Zoom

The ‘present time’ is referenced in A Simple Guide to Wholesome Diet, published by the Department of Local Government and Public Health during World War II. There are a multiplicity of ‘present times’ and a good place to observe them is through the medium of the recipe and its collected form, the cookbook. Irish cookbooks have been shaped in the first instance by the hegemonic influence of our nearest neighbour, and also, arguably, by the gendered ideologies of the Irish state post-independence. Taking the ‘present time’ of the Emergency as the starting point, this talk looks back to the origins of the cookbook in Ireland and forward to some of the most recent publications to see how they have been shaped by the times that they were written in.

About the Speaker

Dorothy Cashman is a culinary historian and independent researcher. Following her undergraduate degree at University College Dublin she worked for Aer Lingus for thirty years and was awarded her doctorate in 2016 for her research on Irish culinary manuscripts. One of the founding members of the Dublin Gastronomy Symposium, her research interests include the history of the recipe in Ireland, in both printed and manuscript forms, and the configuration of national identity as it intersects with Irish food history. She has presented in Ireland and at international symposia and her research has been published in academic journals and edited collections.

1pm Wed 21 July — Mathieu Asselin and Sergio Valenzuela Escobedo

1pm Wednesday 21 July via Zoom

Curator Sergio Valenzuela Escobedo and artist Mathieu Asselin talk about the labour and power of collaborative work, reflecting on the project Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation.
Monsanto is presented as part of the PhotoIreland Festival 2021 at The Library Project.

About the Speakers
Mathieu Asselin (FR/VEN) works and lives between Arles in France and New York City. He began his career working on film productions in Caracas, Venezuela, but shaped his photography practice in the United States. His work mainly consists out of longterm investigative documentary projects, such as his latest book ‘Monsanto: A Photographic Investigation’, which received international acclaim, winning the Kassel FotoBook Festival Dummy Award in 2016, the Aperture Foundation First Book Award in 2017 and has been shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize in 2018. Les Rencontre d’Arles in France, Photographer’s Gallery in London, Fotomuseum Antwerp in Belgium and the European Parliament in Strasbourg are amongst recent venues where his work has been exhibited.

Sergio Valenzuela Escobedo is an independent artist and curator, currently completing his PhD at the National Photography School in Arles, France (ENSP). After one year in the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg, he graduated in photography in Chile and completed his Masters of Fine Arts at the Villa Arson France in 2014. Since 2005, he has been curating art exhibitions in Chile and Europe, including Mapuche at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris and Monsanto: a Photographic Investigation at the Rencontres d’Arles. The latter has been on tour for four years under his permanent supervision. Valenzuela Escobedo is a guest tutor at international art schools and institutions, most recently at IESA, Parsons Paris, ISSP Latvia and Atelier NOUA in Norway. He is co-founder of Double Dummy studio, a platform that creates a space for producing and showcasing critical reflections on documentary photography.

Image: Sergio Valenzuela Escobedo and Mathieu Asselin. Photo by Nicola Coppola.

2pm Sun 25 July — Reading Group: Ksenia Yurkova and Corina Apostol

Food as Structural Unit of Politics, Transmitter Of Memory, and Matter of Art

2pm (Irish time) Sunday 25 July via Zoom


Attendees are invited to read the monograph before the event, which will be sent upon booking.

This work examines a biopolitical approach to issues of food, specifically hunger and overconsumption. It is studied throughout traumatic periods of history, intertwined with a contemporary ideological understanding of lifestyle, fashion, and wellbeing. The notion of food is understood not only in its material physical and nutritional dimension, but also in its strong symbolic meaning actualised in visual representation, rituals, texts, and memory. The performative aspect of ingestion gives a subject for thought about the role of affects as an alternative expressive channel with a capacity to reach deeper layers of veiled desires and intentions.

The Reading Group will be led by Corina L. Apostol together with artist Ksenia Yurkova, talking through the themes within the monograph. This session is focused on discussion and interactivity with the audience, so attendants are welcome to engage and encouraged to read the monograph beforehand.

Yurkova’s project Spinebone Soup and Stuffed Rabbit is presented in the festival’s main group exhibition Bite the Hand That Feeds You at Rathfarnham Castle until the 2nd August.

About the Speakers

Corina L. Apostol is a curator at the Tallinn Art Hall and the curator of the Estonian Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale. She is a curator and member of the steering committee of “Beyond Matter,” an international, collaborative, practice-based research project that takes culture to the verge of virtual reality. Recently, she curated the second edition of the Shelter Festival: “Cosmopolitics, Comradeship, and the Commons,” at the Space for Free Arts/ University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland (2019). Previously, she was the Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at Creative Time, where she co-edited Making Another World Possible: 10 Creative Time Summits, 10 Global Issues, 100 Art Projects (Routledge, 2019). At Creative Time, she co-curated the 12th Creative Time Summit: “On Archipelagoes and Other Imaginaries,” (2018) a convening for thinkers, dreamers, and doers working at the intersection of art and politics across Miami. Corina obtained her Ph.D. at Rutgers University, where she was also the Dodge Curatorial Fellow at the Zimmerli Art Museum (2010-2016). She is the co-founder of the activist art and publishing collective ArtLeaks, and editor-in-chief of the ArtLeaks Gazette. She has been longlisted for the Kandinsky Prize (2016) and the Sergey Kuryokhin Prize (2020).

Ksenia Yurkova is an artist, curator and researcher, living between Russia and Austria. She considers her leading artistic media to be text, photography, video and installation. Yurkova started her practice as a researcher in the field of political theory and communication theory. The main focus of her interest for a long time was communication and language: the varieties of its substance, the possibility of conversion, its mythological aspect, stereotyping (the question of personal and political self-identification and identification by others), problems of memory, attitudes, and reliance. Lately, the artist is researching the phenomenon of affect in its autonomous bodily emanation; in its personal and political registers. She focuses upon how a stage of individual perception, to which one can relate memory, traumatic recollection and problems of identity construction, transforms itself into affects of the political body. Coming a long way from political and cultural journalism, through organising and curating cultural and art events, Ksenia settled in individual artistic and research practice, which allows the useful critical distance for observation and working with contemporary issues. Her approach is based on methods of language appropriation, over-affirmation, self-reflection and self-criticism through ironic components inevitably added to the most pressing matters. Nonetheless, Ksenia didn’t give up socially engaged practice and launched a festival-laboratory Suoja/ Shelter in Helsinki, which already the 3rd year touches upon sensitive problems of society. Ksenia Yurkova has taken part in numerous shows and festivals worldwide, has released several artist books. Her works are in private collections in Russia, Germany, France, Finland, and Austria.

1pm Wed 28 July — Sheng-Wen Lo and Maria Delaney

1pm (Irish time) Wednesday 28 July via Zoom

Join investigative journalist Maria Delaney who interviews artist Sheng-Wen Lo on his socially engaged practice, his scientific approach through his projects TUNA and F/EEL, while also addressing the urgent issue of overfishing and transparencies in the sector.

About the Speakers

Maria Delaney (T: @mhdelaney) is an investigative journalist for Noteworthy, a platform by Journal Media, publishers of Ireland’s leading online news source Recently, she spent a number of months investigating the fishing industry in Ireland as part of Noteworthy’s NET LOSS project which examined overfishing, fishery controls and transparency in the sector.

Sheng-Wen Lo is a Dutch-based Taiwanese artist interested in relationships between non-humans and societies. These relationships fascinated the artist since childhood: Why do people love and pet certain animals? Why do people eat certain species but not others? Why are some people scared of little bugs? Lo believes these relationships reflect people’s values, attitudes and collective memories toward their surroundings.

Daily experiences are his starting points. As mass production seems to ease life, there is a tendency for us to presuppose, to take things for granted. For defying this tendency, Lo thinks we should be raising questions instead of blindly following social frameworks. Instead of reaching conclusions or consensus; he believes in discussions and dissensus. The intention, hence, is to spark debates while constructing experiences, which encourage audiences to doubt, formulate questions, and challenge the status quo.


Image: TUNA (Gameplay), Sheng-Wen Lo


Dublin City Council

OPW The Office of Public Works

Frame Finland

Mondriaan Fund

Alliance Francaise Dublin

Project Arts Centre


GUP Magazine


Aesthetica MagazinetAesthetica Magazine

RTE Supporting The Arts

Bite the Hand that Feeds You



Published on the occasion of the twelfth edition of PhotoIreland Festival, this limited edition publication will present a record and reflection of the month-long programme of events. In addition, readers will find exclusive texts and work, expanding on the conversations had during the festival. We invited a number of contributors to reflect on the theme of the festival and some of the artists presented.

Find out more and pre-order