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KDamo interviews Irish art bloggers for the Visual Artist’s Newsheet.
My interview is below and full article is here. Other interviewees are the blogs/ online magazines Some Blind Alleys, SuperMassiveBlackHole, Blackletter, Fieldwork, and Paper Visual Art Journal.
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What made you start your blog/online magazine?
My blog started as a curiosity, a kind of experimental, public notebook.  
That’s still its main function really, it’s more an artist’s blog than 
a blog about art. I have a portfolio website and a blog/ RSS news 
feed attached to that, so it’s not about promoting my professional 
practice and I don’t link the two together explicitly.
What reasons do you think are contributing to the apparent lack 
of Irish art blogs?
I imagine the proportion of art writing to sport, politics and music 
correlates to mainstream print media (ie. not strongly)?
 
Though traditional print media is increasingly dying out due to freely 
available content online, critical art writing has been comparatively 
slow to move in this direction. Do you agree? What are the reasons 
for this?
The decline of traditional print media due to the ‘democracy’ of 
blogging is pretty bad news for most serious journalists, both in terms 
of earning a living and developing in-depth researched pieces. The 
quality of writing on blogs is a very mixed bag indeed, and the act of 
reading from a screen, scrolling through text, is a completely different 
engagement with a text than the sensory experience of reading a paper. 
It imposes a different form and structure.
Art writers usually work freelance, and it’s not terribly well paid, 
so I’m not sure I’d see how serious art writers would have the time or 
energy to maintain a blog – the majority of bloggers are hobbyists.  
Also, it doesn’t have the prestige of being published in print.
Art is everywhere on the internet (everywhere!) Yet the significance 
of blogs in the industry pales in comparison to music/sport/politics/etc. 
Why is this? 

I guess this relates partly to the above question, in that art still 
relies pretty heavily on traditional cultural gatekeepers and 
arbiters of value. There are cultural institutions that use Facebook 
for publicity purposes, but that’s mainly a communication/ marketing tool, 
I doubt it’s effected the programming! There isn’t a visual art equivalent 
of MySpace where artists yearn to be 'discovered': there isn’t the same 
“fanbase” – a more appropriate word to use here than “audience”. 
On most of the blogs that do exist, there is a noticeable lack of debate 
and/or discussion amongst the readers. Why has this not taken off, 
when you consider so many of the heated debates that occur in 
colleges, galleries and other social situations?

Commenting on blogs, or websites in general, does not typically bring 
out the best of discursive skills (see: misogynistic, racist, homophobic 
bile on YouTube for example). So that might be one reason people in 
general are circumspect about participating. Also such comments may 
have a wider or potentially more embarrassing public than a discussion 
in a gallery or a college – you do have to put your name to such 
comments, even if it’s only an alias. And everyone knows everyone 
else in Ireland…
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Dan Dubowitz & Fearghus O’Conchuir at Martello Tower, Skerries
Public art commission by Fingal County Council
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The Martello tower at Skerries, all of the dozen on the Dublin coast in fact, are remarkable buildings: highly idiosyncratic now, and quickly anachronistic even when they were built first  in the nineteenth century.
The collaboration between Dubowitz and O’Conchuir – visual artist and dancer/ choreographer – over the last two years departed from this initial curiosity. The resultant work manifests in the Skerries tower as a 12 screen video installation, to be regarded from a single point of view on a platform built for visitors. Each screen shows a single slow panning shot from the canon position in each of the twelve towers, coolly surveying the remains of each tower’s interior architecture and the view beyond, from chic inhabitation to rugged folly. Ah, Portmarnock golf course, says a visitor at my shoulder.
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New work in the public realm by students of the National college of Art and Design:

Niamh Moriarty; Oonagh Comerford; Emily McFarland; Hilary O’Mahony; Siobhán Carroll.

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The Artificial Paradise project tries to analyse how we approach each other and our surroundings in such a rapidly changing and evolving city-scape often in a whimsical and entertaining way.  Five third year NCAD students have made unique and engaging pieces of art reflecting their thoughts about this regeneration.  A wide range of research and experimentation has been undertaken by these students since the project began late in 2008.  The works presented include community interactions, sculptural performance, intervention and large-scale public constructions.

Artifical Paradise Website

Image: Niamh Moriarty

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liberty-2
Liberty Hall, Dublin, Friday February 20th. Photo by Sarah Browne.
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Venice, Italy, December 2008.
Amateur Hour is a showcase for exciting new learning, skills, entertainment and public actions. Submissions in any form welcome to selfinterestandsympathy [at] gmail [dot] com

 

Scotland’s contribution to the 11th architecture biennale in Venice is shown in these photos by Gareth Kennedy. Titled A Gathering Place, it’s just that. Located close to the train station it receives lots of non-biennale visitors, and through careful siting, it functions both as a lookout and a shelter spot where discussions are held. Despite the ‘stairs to nowhere’ effect, it struck me as a very optimistic structure… and I really enjoy seeing such elegant use of sterling board.

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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

No, not Socialist Realism… a monument in a field beside a road, just outside Elphin, Co. Roscommon, Ireland. (Errected in the late seventies).

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This is a short and admittedly slightly random post based on a collection of observations about table tennis/ ping pong: I saw an exhibition in IMMA yesterday by Mark Clare and it seems that table tennis is the mode du jour to address geopolitical issues. Very zeitgesity.

There is a pleasing symnetry to it when you start to see it in an epic,East versus West, Communism versus Capitalism kind of way. After the jump, a short anthology of culturally important moments in table tennis. Contributions welcome…

japanese-ping-pong.jpg 

1. An impoverished ping pong table collapses in the midst of a game among youngsters at Santa Anita assembly center for evacuees of Japanese ancestry, California, 1942. Image held here

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[I think this might actually be the thumb of Engels, not Marx.]

Berlin, December 2007

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