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After Former West

2013-03-23 13.50.48The following is a text that was written after attending the Former West congress in Berlin in 2013. Former West was an event that sought to examine the status of art production, particularly politically engaged art production, in the context of a post-1989 Europe. In the piece below I discuss one particular strand of the congress. This was led by Irit Rogoff and was based around the theme of infrastructure. I mainly discuss Rogoff’s contribution but also briefly allude to some of the others as well.

Rogoff started by noting how we in the so-called West tend to pride ourselves on a functioning and superior infrastructure. This takes many forms: a logistical infrastructure that includes transportation elements such as roads and railways; a technological infrastructure consisting of various forms of communication networks; a financial infrastructure dedicated to the movement and circulation of capital; as well other infrastructures dedicated to the facilitation of activities in specific fields of endeavour such as education, law, and all the myriad forms of cultural practice, including of course, art. While infrastructure takes many forms, its defining characteristic is a focus on delivery – delivery of material things such as goods, services, cash, people – or delivery of immaterial things such as credit, data, information, thoughts, ideas. One way or another it moves things from place to place. It facilitates connections between things. It allows things to enter into various forms of relations with each other. Rogoff’s proposition is that infrastructure is a defining characteristic of the contemporary condition, and that therefore we need to think it critically. We need to be alert to both the problems and the possibilities that it presents, in order to figure out how we should operate effectively within it. Continue Reading »

The Long Still

NiamhO

This is a photography of an installation by the artist Niamh O’Doherty which was exhibited at Broadstone Studios during January of this year. It consists of seven Super 8 projectors and seven hanging screens. Each projector is projecting speeded-up footage shot on a beach in Donegal over the course of one day in October last year. As Niamh puts it, “the film documents the shifts and changes in light and tide through the course of a day”. It was a really well executed piece of work and I wanted to photograph it because there seemed to be a lot of things going on here that resonated with what I have been doing with this project – analogue processes, representations of time. Even the title, The Long Still, seemed like it could just as easily be referring to an extended time exposure photograph. Continue Reading »

The Body Without Organs

DinahBrandFinished1

I’ve been spending some time recently grappling with Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s philosophical magnum opus, A Thousand Plateaus. This is partly because of a seminar group at NCAD I am involved with, and partly because, well, there’s not really that much of interest on the telly these dark winter evenings. A Thousand Plateaus (let’s call it ATP for short) was published in 1980 and is the second part of a two-volume project by Deleuze and Guattari (let’s call them D&G for short) which they titled Capitalism and Schizophrenia (the first part, Anti-Oedipus, came out in 1972). Continue Reading »

BUNK

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One person throwing sheets off bed. 5:04. Emily around bed too. No sheets. Acrobatics from Karen. Trapeze. 6:51. Running around bed, torches. Standing with torches at front. Leech light thing on bed. 4:57. Emily on rope. Bed dark. Nothing will come out here. 4:43. Starts with Emily and other one at bottom of rope. Light descending from top of bed. Sheets being lifted up. Sheet pyramid. Light inside. 6:15. Pyramid coming down. Skinnier than before. Pyramid down at 2:15. All three there now. Quite dark. 5:20. Bed clear. Similar to last one. Very bright at back now. Two of them lying on the bed. 5:28. Sitting on bed. Brighter. Putting harness thing on. Weird costumes. Dressing each other. 5:32. Insect costumes. Standing at front. Someone else involved now. Putting blonde one into harness. 4:33. Still tying her up. Suspended now. Laying out white sheet. Light on back wall. Bed made. 4:34.

BUNK by PaperDolls is running as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival at the Project Arts Centre until Saturday 14th of September. More details here.

Drone, Not Drones

Low

This is Low playing in Whelans a few weeks ago. I’ve always liked Low – one of those rare bands who have a unique sound and are utterly in control of what they’re doing. I liked them even more when I heard they did a 30 minute drone version of one of their songs at a festival in the US earlier this year. The gig in Whelans was a more conventional affair but still great. My Bloody Valentine should take a leaf out of their book and just do one solid hour of the noise section in You Made Me Realise at Electric Picnic on Friday night.

As usual this photograph was created with a single exposure: shutter opened at the start of the song and closed at the end. This was the second song of their set and is an exposure of 3 minutes and 19 seconds in length. I was pretty sure that the photograph would not work out because of the film footage being projected on to the back of the stage (that usually messes things up) but it did. First gig photograph done with my lovely spanking new Toyo 4×5 camera and scanned on my equally lovely new Epson V700 scanner.

More Spooks

Spook-1This is the Spook Of The Thirteenth Lock playing in the Unitarian Church in Dublin a few weeks back. They are easily my most photographed band at this stage. Even though I do like them, this isn’t entirely intentional. Wherever I go with my camera, they seem to just be there. This particular gig was organised by the excellent Young Hearts Run Free collective and also featured Mossy Nolan, Margie Lewis and The Pictish Trail. Continue Reading »

The Sisters


This picture is from The Corn Exchange‘s production of Dubliners, which was running recently as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. It’s an adaptation of Joyce’s short story collection of the same name and consists of dramatisations of 9 of the 15 stories contained in the book. The photograph is a 16 minute and 50 second exposure of the first scene of the play, which is the story The Sisters, also the opening story in Joyce’s book. Continue Reading »

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