HARDCORE VANILLA RAIN originated as a physical installation which visitors would have been able to encounter and visit in Belfast. However, as the Covid restrictions changed during the research and preparation time, Mehigan was forced to reshape her concept to a more traditional media form of a printed publication with inserted samples of perfumes. This was a refreshing format after the online overload, easy to be picked up or posted and read and enjoyed at home, touching paper, turning pages.
‘The ‘default’ aesthetic – a term coined by Etienne Cliquet in the early 00s – describes the appearance of information on a computer without an added layer of ‘design’. In the language of computing, “by default” refers to the parameters that are defined in the moment between a program being launched and before a user is able to modify it or make changes. “At start-up, the display is initialized by default.” The world wide web, mainstream social media platforms, Adobe CS, Mac OS X, Windows, etc, are wrapped in membranes of design that provide a narrow set of outcomes that are ultimately predicted before you turn your devices on.
Grappling with these parameters and their relationship to ‘neutrality’, HARDCORE VANILLA RAIN presents a series of paintings, photographs, drawings, writing fragments, and screenshots in publication form, accompanied by vials of perfume and other fragrance products. After Cliquet, the flavour-and-fragrance component of vanilla and/or vanillin as the material embodiment of ‘default-ness’ provides an entry point for thinking about obedience, alienation, consumption, and experiences of pleasure in Mehigan’s digital work.
About the Artist
Mehigan is an Irish artist born in Singapore. Initially trained in graphic design and art education, Mehigan’s work spans multiple platforms, mixing together 3d modelling, found objects, stock images, text, textiles, video, painting, sound, scent, and installation. Recently her practice has expanded to include workshops, graphic collaborations with friends, and growing flowers. She is a director of The 343, and a founding member of FRUIT SHOP. Her research is currently located in West Cork graveyards, queer Irish garden histories, and inter-species/dimensional/planetary communication. 2
About the Publisher
PS² is an artist-led collective, connecting art and society, in the centre of Belfast. They develop and support artists through Paragon Studios as well as hosting project artists and welcoming the public to their Project Space. 3