You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘development’ tag.

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

AFTER is the name for a series of public art events forthcoming in counties Leitrim and Roscommon.

AFTER received its final injection of arts funding from the Arts Council in late June, coinciding almost exactly with the ‘announcement’ of the Recession in the economy. As such, the work the artists have developed over the last year is bound to resonate with the sense of an aftermath that currently pervades discourse about the Irish economic and cultural landscape – what we are left with in the wake of our decade of growth and ‘success’; how these resources and developments have been used (or squandered); what will happen to a rural landscape in particular that shows half-occupied, half-abandoned housing developments, and sodden plywood boards declaring computerised visions of dwellings that will never be?

From the project website:

AFTER is interesting in that it seeks to respond to changes in the Irish landscape arising from the unprecendented economic growth of recent years. To our knowledge, there has been no collective artistic endeavour which has sought to negotiate this terrain. It is also noteworthy that these public art interventions – rather than been initiated from within organisational/ institutional frameworks, as is the norm – are artist-led in concept, commissioning, design and delivery.

The title of the project, conceived months ago, suggests that the current ‘economic downturn’ did not necessitate a clairvoyant prediction (as some suggest) but was rather more marked by inevitability. The works developed by the artists make responses and proposals that are alternatively pragmatic and poetic; offering tentative solutions and/ or positions of dispute.

The artists involved in the project are Alice Lyons, Anna McLeod, Carol Anne Connolly, Christine Mackey and Gareth Kennedy, who participated in a residency that was faciltated by Alfredo Jaar as part of the TRADE programme delievered by Leitrim and Roscommon local authorities. The launch of the project is September 6th 2008 at the Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. Project website with extensive information on artists and works here

hotel-ostalgie.jpg

[the book above is The Future of Nostalgia, by Svetlana Boym]

A recent stay in Berlin found me at Ostel, a hostel renovated as an homage to ‘ostalgie’, in the style of the former DDR. (see this post) 

My expectations of the place were of course building it up for a fall, but even still, it seemed oddly, eerily empty. It lacked spirit. And as much as it pains me to say it, it lacked the elusive texture of authenticity, not even that I would know what that was.  

The rooms were furnished sparsely, mainly with what seemed like strips of imitation vintage wallpaper and IKEA furniture, peppered with some older items – in our room some beautiful books, a radio/ record player, and a fantastically ugly circular wicker-framed mirror. Builders were at work on scaffolding outside the window, which highlighted the grating, sparkly newness of the place, spotless tiled bathroom and all. 

Almost instantly, the experience of walking through the corridors recalled my experience of Hotel Ballymun, something I have not written about here. The parallels between the 2 places are fascinating – one a self-conscious recreation that walked a line between irony and sincerity, manufacturing the authenticity (or the knowing postmodern suspicion of any such experience) craved by tourists; the other an art project that served as some kind of memorial that implicitly traded on such modes of collective experience and cultural memory. 

Read the rest of this entry »

florida2.jpg

Richard Florida was the keynote speaker at a Creative City Regions conference in October, hosted by the Dublin Region Authority and the Dublin Employment Pact. (Info on the conference here)

Florida‘s presentation didn’t say anything he hasn’t said before, but the North American, evangelical-influenced delivery was extremely impressive. He is at points very persuasive in his thesis of what the ‘Creative Economy’ is and what it needs. He paraphrased the conference chair in his diagnosis of the ‘Knowledge Economy’ (old hat terminology now) as being “the last gasp of the industrial age”.

However, while the conference was eager to attach Florida’s prestige to the proceedings, the presentations that followed him (in his absence, having jetted off to another conference) showed a notable difference in their opinions/ agendas. The talk was all about the Knowledge Economy, not the Creative Economy: even the DRA website fudged the issue by describing the conference as addressing ‘the creative knowledge economy’.

Florida himself is part of a broader trend in culture where economics is becoming ‘pop’: described as a public intellectual (and he has earned a PhD so I don’t wish to imply he is in any way underqualified), his manner of delivery draws on that of the motivational speaker, informed by the legacy of North American television and evangelicism.  

In Ireland, Eddie Hobbs and David McWilliams have become similarly vocal pundits in the national media, particularly McWilliams, whose economic background has seeped into a large scale social trendforescasting. He is particularly fond of coining neologisms (Breakfast Roll Man, Decklanders, the Pope’s Children, etc – see his books and TV programmes, The Pope’s Children and The Generation Game). From this perspective, the field of economics is undeniably more enmeshed in mainstream popular culture than it has previously been.  

Richard Florida visited Ireland in October 2007.

See www.creativeclass.com and www.creativeclass.typepad.com

A full report on the conference will be published in the Visual Artist’s Newsheet, January 2008 

Image held here

July 2020
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031