Anarchy: Sinister Beauty

By Jo Phillips

A new collaboration between artist and designer Mark James and musician Cian Ciarán uses the humble bin liner as its visual focus, harnessing this object’s brooding potentiality to create a series of images that form the artwork of the musician’s new album.

Asked to formulate the visual identity of Ciarán’s solo music project, James felt that the bin bag; every day, and yet impossible to break down, thus a constant reminder of modern evils, worked perfectly with Ciarán’s musical message. Indeed, Ciarán’s music takes clear aim at modern day corporate and political villains, conveying an attitude of protest, rally and moral strength.


Remaining this message in visual form, James used the bin bag to create an eerie landscape which reflected, with disturbing beauty, the world’s decaying pool of core resources.

With this, he also incorporated the presence of some kind of an unidentifiable rodent, responsible for, and silently fueling this global destruction. Although first photographing the bin liners, James uses them as his main medium, digitally manipulating them into numerous different forms. Indeed, on the cover image of ‘They are Nothing Without Us’ James creates a dark, kaleidoscopic vision of the modern day; something uncanny and claustrophobic.

Whilst highlighting some salient details, including fetuses and Buddhas, others are all but subsumed within this morass of darkness. By creating this eerie yet beautiful vision out of the ubiquitous bin bag, James’ work challenges our conceptions of beauty.


At first glance the work seems to glorify a modern anarchic vision, however by recognizing the work’s material, the ubiquitous bin bag, it offers a visual reminder of the dangers of modern living through its sinister beauty.

Different formulations of this theme are featured throughout Ciaran’s a six panel CD and a special edition vinyl.

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