Niall O’Brien’s ‘Three Cities’ Exhibition Opens Today
For four months in 2016, Irish photographer and filmmaker, and long time 10 collaborator, Niall O’Brien went to live in Santa Clara’s Silicon Valley. What he discovered when he delved into the depths of the city, under the allure of high-tech creativity and business, was the country’s overwhelming vapidity. Outside of the fast paced hum of new machinery and life-changing scientific discoveries, the country suffered, a lack of nurturing to most of the land- and the people. The inequality that existed amongst residents of the county’s seven-mile long Bascom Avenue was vast and vicious. “This was one of the most expensive places to live in the US, and it was kind of bland,” he said. “It was full of the most cutting edge technology, yet the aesthetic had been forgotten. Cars and highways were all you could hear. There was nothing beautiful about the place – except the mountains that surrounded it, and the nature that persevered to appear in the least expected places.”
In a series of emotional, beautiful photographs, O’Brien has so cleverly captured the calm sighs that creep out of the Valley’s darker corners, that sense of abandonment and eeriness intertwined with a glimmer of poignant hope. When he began his stay, O’Brien discovered a homeless man, Blake, living with his girlfriend Dana on his balcony. The couple went on to be the foundation of this project, their stories and way of life shaping the Silicon Valley for him and representing its raw reality that bubbles under the surface. It’s the unseen dark side of a place that so ironically prides itself on innovation and wealth. Yet the optimistic tenacity seen in Blake and Dana is mirrored in the soft illumination of the city, a new hope. The images of Bascom Avenue make up the exhibition ‘Three Cities’ by Niall O’Brien, showing as of today at the Sid Motion Gallery.
Three Cities by Niall O’Brien runs from April 26th – May 26th at Sid Motion Gallery, 142 York Way, London N1 0AX.