Gemma Hamilton

Gemma Hamilton

My photographic practise considers contemporary social issues which are directly linked to digital culture. I use my camera for self-expression and have enjoyed nurturing an abstract style which encompasses multiple layers of meaning. The Effects of Cognitive Dissonance started as a four video installation which plays each image for 0.1 seconds running on a loop. For my degree show, I used 8 Macs to play the work behind two windows in an enclosed room to suggest the images could be memories trapped within my mind.

As a testament to the bitter irony of digital dependency; the glitches and warped colours used in my work illustrate the dissonance felt in the struggle to remain connected to reality. I find myself amidst conflicting thoughts regarding Western culture’s addiction to digital media platforms and the feeling of exclusion from the world if I choose not to participate. These feelings concur with the definition of cognitive dissonance, which is said to be the anxiety that stems from holding two simultaneous yet contradictory beliefs.

Elements of my life can be seen through the ripples of digital intervention, mirroring the inexorable flow of human consciousness, emotions and memories experienced in everyday life. The paradox between technology extending our lives but not always the quality of our lives has to be considered to prevent the defragmentation of society.


I am a conceptual artist and photographer from Ballyclare, currently living and working in Belfast, NI. I work as a gallery assistant and as well as a freelance artist specialising in watercolour commissions for clients.

I graduated with a First Class Honours in BA (Hons) Photography with Video from Belfast School of Art, UU in July 2018. I received the Dean's award in Photography for my final year video installation which was entitled ‘The Effects of Cognitive Dissonance’. This project highlighted the disconnection felt living between a paradox between reality and digital platforms, and was long listed for the RDS Visual Arts Award. Photographic prints from this series were published in Brush magazine Issue 5 (May, 2018) and RAPSODIA magazine No. 19 (June, 2018).

In October 2018, I was awarded a grant by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland for the Individual Artist Programme. My concept is a sculptural/ video installation which juxtaposes LCD screens playing videos inside dollhouses. The subject of the video will show the hypnotic effect of screens in a simulation of a home environment. I have shown work at group exhibitions notably the Ulster University degree show (2018), Ulster Photo Fair at UU (2018) and Pop Up group exhibition at Duncairn Cultural Arts Centre (2017).