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Artist: Gareth Kennedy; Composer: Ian Wilson; Musician: Cathal Roche; photographs by Sarah Browne.
A white van with two men in it arrive on site (an abandoned housing development). They are wearing hi-vis jackets. The van evokes breakfast rolls, Lucozade and bad takeaway coffee.
They exit the van, unpacking a series of large green bags and a set of wooden sections. They assemble a lattice with the wooden sections – they become floor sections – and a flat yellow hexagon is placed on top.
A sound system is assembled.
The bulky green bags are zipped open and a mass of pale yellow, plasticy material is pulled out and lifted over to the floor. It looks like a big primrosey, marshmallowy thing. The colour of it exactly matches the new housing development up on the hill in the background. (This particular colour of exterior housepaint in the early 2000s is to magnolia in seventies hallways and sittingrooms).
A generator is switched on and a fan or compressor can be heard. The soft yellowy mass begins to gain in volume, the mallow being filled with air: quickly within the mass distinct forms begin to emerge. No edges, but forms are there – columns, a flat section, and a pointed shape. (This part points upwards insistently and there is something vaguely priapic about it). Fairly quickly, the shape that looked something like a Claes Oldenburg soft sculpture, or a huge melted ice cream cone, has morphed into a robust piece of architecture.
A microphone is placed on the floor, more like a stage now, and another man becomes visible by the side of the white van. He is dressed simply in black and is holding a saxaphone.

The saxophonist walks onto the stage, and with no announcement begins to play, improvising with and against a pre-recorded piece of music.
It’s harder to adhere words to this part, as I don’t really know how to talk about music and sound, and how it makes you feel and think. There are sound samples in it: a landmark moment in Irish history; and (my favourite) Bertie Ahern saying I want to talk about the future. Future. The piece has a peculiar kind of energy to it – based on the crescendo of the last decade’s economic growth, there is a kind of wildness to it, and a suspense: the form of the music anticipates no obvious conclusion.
The end does arrive, and the collected audience clap.
August 17th, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim. Part of AFTER

Protest is Beautiful, FREEE, 2007

Above: Plan of rainbow with colour charts and notes for construction. Studio photograph, August 2008

Sunday August 24th: seven volunteers, two child helpers and two dogs gather on a deforested site in North Co. Leitrim to errect a wooden rainbow; a roadside hoarding that advertises nothing.

Where rainbows occur naturally and by chance, this event was planned and engineered in detail, and involved a good deal of physical work – drilling, sawing, hammering, lifting.

Part barn-raising, part folly, part idiosyncratic architecture, the rainbow is a sincere (if kitschy) expression of collective labour: huge thanks to Gordon, Craig, Bryonie, Anna, Ciara, Gareth, Peter, Ruth, Leander and Celia who made this possible.

The rainbow is built near Lurganboy, and is visible leaving Manorhamilton on the Kinlough Road. It will remain until the end of October – if it doesn’t collapse first.



This work is part of the New Sites, New Fields project at Leitrim Sculpture Centre that will open on October 4 2008. A super 8mm film has been shot to document the process of building the rainbow which will be screened later in 2008/9.

 Model for a rainbow to be raised this weekend in Co. Leitrim, Ireland (wooden, 8 metres or so in its largest dimension).

Please send contributions for ‘amateur hour’ to selfinterestandsympathy[at]gmail[dot]com

via Newsgrist

Giant dog turd wreaks havoc at Swiss museum

Inflatable artwork blown from moorings and brings down power line
Jenny Percival and agencies
Tuesday August 12 2008 


A giant inflatable dog turd created by the American artist Paul McCarthy was blown from its moorings at a Swiss museum, bringing down a power line and breaking a window before landing in the grounds of a children’s home.

The exhibit, entitled Complex Shit, is the size of a house. It has a safety system that is supposed to deflate it in bad weather, but it did not work on this occasion.

Juri Steiner, the director of the Paul Klee centre, in Berne, told AFP that a sudden gust of wind carried it 200 metres before it fell to the ground, breaking a window of the children’s home. The accident happened on July 31, but the details only emerged yesterday.

Steiner said McCarthy had not yet been contacted and the museum was not sure if the piece (pictured here) would be put back on display.

The installation is part of an exhibition called East of Eden: A Garden Show, which features sound sculptures in trees and a football ground without goalposts. The exhibition opened in May and is due to run until October.

The centre’s website describes the show as containing “interweaving, diverse, not to say conflictive emphases and a broad spectrum of items to form a dynamic exchange of parallel and self-eclipsing spatial and temporal zones”.

A catch 22 type dilemma has struck kiwi band Flight of The Conchords in relation to updating the band news on their website. Members of the band (Jemaine and Bret) have noticed that whenever there are doing things that could be reported on the website, they are too busy to update the website. In addition, whenever the band members have some spare time in which they could update the website, there is usually, as one member put it “nothing going on”. As a direct result of this problem The Conchords may resort to manufacturing news stories about themselves to bolster news items in less busy times. 

Quite the paradox. As my dad would say, it’s like the moon on a dark night (never there when you need it). The above wisdom came from here



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From Newsgrist; reBlogged from Palladio; via NYTimes:

The Image Is Familiar; the Pitch Isn’t
Published: July 13, 2008

IN February 2007 the Swiss-American artist Christian Marclay was installing a solo exhibition of his work in Paris when he received an e-mail message from a friend about a commercial for the Apple iPhone that had been broadcast during the Academy Awards show.

Slide Show: Art and Advertising

The 30-second spot featured a rapid-fire montage of clips from television shows and Hollywood films of actors and cartoon characters — including Lucille Ball, Humphrey Bogart, Dustin Hoffman and Betty Rubble — picking up the telephone and saying “Hello.” It ended with a shot of the soon-to-be-released iPhone.

Mr. Marclay tracked down the ad on YouTube and watched it.

“I was very surprised,” he said recently by phone from London. Like many in the art world he saw an uncanny resemblance between the iPhone commercial and his own 1995 video “Telephones,” which opens with a similar montage of film clips showing actors answering the phone. That seven-and-a-half-minute video, one of Mr. Marclay’s signature works, has been exhibited widely throughout Europe and the United States.

About a year before, Mr. Marclay said, Apple had approached the Paula Cooper Gallery, which represents his work in New York, about using “Telephones” in an advertisement.

“I told them I didn’t want to do it,” he said. His main concern, he said, was that “advertisers on that scale have so much power and visibility” and that “everyone would think of my video as the Apple iPhone ad.”

Mr. Marclay said he spoke with a lawyer after learning of the commercial but decided not to pursue legal action. “When people with that much power and money copy you, there’s not much you can do,” he said.

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So the other week the three kingpins of celebrity economics in Ireland, David McWilliams, Eddie Hobbs and George Lee were all on Saturday night TV.

However there were no handbags at dawn or any direct challenges at all to each others economic predictions/ political positions (pre June 24 this was before the official announcement of The Recession). Instead, the three men regressed into an economic nostalgia glued together with anecdotes of Curly Wurlys and half crowns found on the street and cashed in at the sweet shop.

A comment from The Property Pin:

I was hoping we would ‘get real’ but no. This is just a fluff piece with a little bit of light sabre rattling, but no killer thrusts. The three boys almost being publicly embarrassed for being so right, and having to defend themselves – ‘no miriam, i’m not a doom monger’.

I believe we’re going to need a televised blood and guts, bone crunching, broken teeth D-Day type watershed to burst this bubble.

“Why is my 100% mortgaged shoebox worth 40% less than what I paid for it, if I could even find someone to buy it? I don’t remember anyone pointing out that was a possibility when I was being brow beaten into buying it.”

With the Dans and the Austins and the Toms and the Kens in the dock to explain how this all came about.
People in Ireland aren’t long about whinging to Joe Duffy if they think they were charged too much for a meal in a restaurant, but we have an entire generation who have been ripped off for their life savings and possibly their career earnings and there isn’t a fucking murmur of discontent to be found anywhere. It’s disturbing.

It seems that the penny sweet remains the primary unit that acts both as a touchstone for avarice and a way to extrapolate larger economic structures.


There was an excellent article in the Sunday Tribune (business section) last weekend, written by Maxim Kelly, that drew attention to the recent trend of using nostalgia for advertising purposes.


There are other examples too, loads of them, some of which I’ve written about here


  1. The new TV ad for Sprite is a pastiche of Shaft, with Sprite bottles substituted for guns.
  2. The new McDonald’s TV ads cut to a flashback of ‘the eighties’ (I’ve so far seen two versions; one is of an aerobics class, bizarrely referencing fitness)
  3. Henri Hippo has been relaunched as the icon of Ulster Bank, albeit with a more digitised style of animation than before. I recently saw copy on a Henri billboard that read ‘Remember when happiness was staying up to watch Dallas?’


So there a few notable things here.


Mc Donalds and Sprite are both global corporations, and the signifiers they light on are similarly ‘global’ (ie referring to hegemonic American popular culture). Visually, these two ads also share a very distinct gritty, ‘analogue’ quality when they’re visually quoting The Past.


Henri Hippo is a much more localised phenomenon, with a much smaller audience, and the focus on Dallas as a childhood experience narrows the demographic further – to people around my age (twenties to early thirties) who lived in Ireland at the time. It’s an unusual experience to feel so targeted by advertising, and if nothing else it really makes me interrogate my memory and experience of this time. Do I really remember it like that? Is the story I have belonging to my childhood, or someone else’s?


Ulster Bank has today brought back the iconic 1980s children’s character Henri Hippo who introduced the idea of saving to a generation of Irish children nearly 30 years ago… At the re-launch of Henri Hippo, Richard Donnan, Managing Director of Ulster Bank Retail Markets said: “Henri Hippo will be fondly remembered by a generation of Irish adults who were introduced to the concept and habit of saving through a great sense of fun. Many of them will now have their own children to whom they will want to pass on a habit that will have served them well down through the years. We want to help parents encourage and motivate their children to save.”

From here


There is something larger here about nostalgia marketing and the time cycles that seem to be involved. I don’t know how ‘new’ the use of nostalgia is in marketing, but it seems to be running on a 20 – 30 year cycle at the moment.


In 1998, Nicolas Bourriaud actually wrote about this in relation to contemporary art, pointing out how art in the 80s drew from the ‘visual effectiveness’ of 60s Pop, and art in the nineties seemed to ‘identify’ with trends from the 70s, including a sense of crisis, saying

Fashion can thus create aesthetic microclimates which affect the way we read recent history.

July 2020