Framing the activities of a group of lighthouse spotters against the uncertain future faced by Irish lighthouses, An Illustrated Guide to Lighthouse Spotting idles with common documentary conventions in a kind of epistemological dilettantism, whereby the diseased triumvirate of rhetorical development, drama and realism is inoculated by mild incoherence, mundanity and idiosyncratic fancy.


An Illustrated Guide to Lighthouse Spotting represents an experimental investigation of the application and intermingling of documentary modes and historical and imaginary realities. Ostensibly about the demise of the contemporary lighthouse in the face of economic constraints and advancements in navigational technologies, the film forgoes the development of a coherent expository account, being waylaid by digressions into temporality and whimsy to the extent that the notion of aboutness is itself in doubt. Shot in quasi-anthropological style, the film’s dogged insistence on a compositional formalism constructed from geometric elements of the environment calls into question the role of documentary participants as narrative characters. Regarding their psychologies and motivations, more is concealed than revealed by the documentary, and the human figure is reduced to that of a tourist or flaneur, idly entering and exiting a series of flattened and monochrome – yet natural - soundstages.


Mike Hannon works as an independent artist, and as a freelance documentor for creative sectors and the visual arts. He teaches Digital Imaging on a part time basis at CIT Crawford College of Art & Design, Ireland. His previous pieces have included both conventional, TV documentary and experimental work.


Rats Island, 2010, 12 mins

Oct     Liverpool Irish Festival
Sep    Cork Culture Night
Jun    curt.doc, Girona, Spain
May    IndieLisboa, Portugal
May    Gdansk DocFilm Festival, Poland
Feb    Jameson Dublin International Film Festival

Dec    Capital Irish Film Festival, Washington D.C.
Nov     Made in Cork Award for Best Short Film, Corona Cork Film Festival
Sep    Camden International Film Festival, Maine
Aug    Singapore International Documentary Festival
Jun    Sheffield Doc/Fest
Jul    Galway Film Fleadh
May    Best Documentary and Best Cork Short, Fastnet Short Film Festival
Mar     Project Award, Cork County Council Arts Office

My Beamish Boy, 2009, 25 mins

Sep    Cork Culture Night
Jun    Broadcast on RTE One,
May    Corona Fastnet Short Film Festival
Mar     Chicago Irish Film Festival

Dec     Project Award, Cork City Council Arts Office
Nov     Made in Cork Award for Best Short Film, Corona Cork Film Festival