Monday, 15 October 2018

Siamsa Tíre Artist in Residence 2018

During the three month residency at The National Folk Theatre, Tralee County Kerry.

The main focus of my time and research centred around the following:

Creating new works and developing works for two solo exhibitions.

Gaining a wider understanding of the role of folk and traditional Irish Culture in Contemporary Irish visual art.

As well as focusing on the history of The National Folk Theatre (Including the inter-generational aspects of the performing company) and creating work related to this.

During a series of visual and material investigations into the areas surrounding the building I quickly focused my research into the more anti-social activities which were evident in the Town Park which surrounds the theatre. 

The majority of the residency was spent, documenting the complex social demographics who utilise the Park on a daily basis, for drug taking, public drinking or sexual activity. 

I began to notice the amount of material left behind after these activities had taken place and the almost "total blanket" coverage of the areas being used for anti-social behaviour. This involved examining, categorising and re-coding the objects left behind by these groups.

During this visual investigation and documentation I began to create dialogues with the people using the park for such behaviour, local people using the park for other reasons. As well as individuals and institutions such as Kerry Museum, An Garda Siochána, local artists, craft people and groups as well as wider connections within traditional and contemporary visual practices to gain a wider knowledge of the specific issues affecting Tralee.

The culmination of these dialogues was an exhibition in the main exhibition space of Siamsa Tíre. The exhibition was entitled An Archive of Provocative Acts and featured a series of materials found in the ares surrounding the theatre. Each object was treated like a museum object and given the same visual language of museum display.

The body of work evolved from material investigation into the areas surrounding Siamsa Tíre. 

Each object was found in an area of the park which is used for anti-social behaviour.

The objects collected were re-coded and categorised using the methods utilised by Kerry County Museum and most museum displays.  (To create a barrier between viewer and object and to preserve it, removing it from its original context)

Each fragment is found, categorised and then placed within the confines of a display case. 

Elevating the everyday objects alongside the hierarchy of other museum or gallery objects.  Creating a living documentation of issues affecting society.

Works created during residency:

Contested Territories:

The installation consists of individual interventions which feature various groupings of European Union stamps. 

Each stamp has been collected from correspondences between: Department of Social Protection Child benefit offices and other European child benefit offices.

Each branch used has been collected from areas around Siamsa and are chosen for their cultural, traditional or mythical properties.


Lost Boy Says is a series of street art stencils which have been created in conjunction with the visual research for An Archive of Provocative Acts.

It reflects the anomie and levels of anti-social behaviour examined in that work. 

Using the visual language of graffiti and street art to re-code the experiences of specific socio-economic and ethnic groups alongside famous pop-culture and/or philosophical quotes.

The installation utilises an alternative method of display, to raise these experiences and the art form outside of their original context, providing a method for describing and documenting both.

The works are created on Fine Art Papers and then left in the ares close to Siamsa Tíre, on the last day of the residency on the 21st of September 2018 Culture Night. 

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

AIR Artist in Residence Kunsthalle Krems Austria - Germany - Netherlands - Belgium

During the residency at Kunsthalle Krems, In Austria I devised a method of collaborating, engaging with and developing knowledge  of the contemporary art practices within Austrian galleries, artist run spaces and academic platforms. Examining the contrasts and similarities between Austrian and Irish contemporary art practices. Comparing the traditional poetic approach of much Irish art against the harsh and almost brutal practices in contemporary Austrian Art.

Throughout the residency I focused on investigating the role of art as dialogue and its use in public spaces. In particular the use of graffiti and guerrilla marketing by dissident and marginalised groups, a phenomenom I recognised very quickly while walking through Vienna. Using dialogue as a method for creating connections between myself and individuals from these groups. Discovering very quickly that they used these methods for spreading ideas, or challenging social or political issues. 


Drawing from an already established practice I documented, through moving imagery, sound and photography the types of graffiti and guerrilla marketing that I found in  cities in each of the following countries - Austria, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium

In each city I also met with and discussed the issues affecting specific groups or Syrian and Afghanistan refugees. Namely those young men who had migrated across Europe between 2014 - 2016. 

Documenting their lives and the issues which affect the men in each city. To create a living document of these migrations through Europe. The dialogues were based on each groups use of public spaces as well as focusing on the journey and types of transport use as they migrate across Europe.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Green Carnations 2012 - 2016

Green Carnations was a solo exhibition and wider body of work which dealt with specific form of structural homophobia in Irish society. Research involved the historical and contemporary experiences of marginalised gay men in Ireland and documented the experiences of those men who will remain socially marginalised, despite the positive outcome of the same-sex referendum here in 2015.

The project involved dialogues with some of the 1,500 closeted gay men, who were questioned and blackmailed by police during the investigation into the murder of a gay man in Dublin in 1984. 

The men were question by police even though they were innocent/did not fit description of suspect and were only questioned so that the police could created a dossier of Homosexuality in Ireland at the time. The murder has never been solved

I retraced the men in 2014 and began a series of informal conversations with the men. These dialogues revolved around the public spaces the men used to meet other men. 

Referencing geo-psychology and heavily influenced by the writings of Michel Foucault on physical and emotional space. I began to explore these areas and document them through photography.

During these exploratory documentations I began to note the context specific graffiti which seemed to be in almost every space I visited. In one particular site in the Phoenix Park. I came across a bench which had been daubed in an anti homosexual slogan. I photographed the bench and returned several times over the next 4 years photographing it each time. During this four year period the bench had been painted white and re-graffiti'd seven times.

I also began to notice a lot of cigarette packets on the ground. In almost every site I visited I noticed them. They were the single material which linked all of these spaces.  

The focal point of the work and the exhibition involved a large floor installation made from the foil from these cigarette packets. I collected hundreds of packets and began to manipulate and re construct the foil. Finally settling on the motif of a polyhedron. Hundreds of these tiny gold forms were connected together in intricate patterns

These Are My People 2011 - 2017

The body of work entitled These Are my People began as a short story written after a chance encounter with a young traveller man on the Liffey boardwalk in Dublin in 2011. The full text of the short story can be seen here

in 2013 while living in Brighton, East Sussex, I began to follow and document the lives of a groups of Irish Traveller families, who used the public car parks along the south coast of England as temporary camps. I photographed and documented their lives for the short time that they stayed in the area.

During this time I was also able to document and create dialogue with a number of Irish men who had become homeless in the U.K and used the numerous shelters along Brighton' sea front to sleep in during the summer months.

Through observation and a series of dialogues with both groups I began to find similarities between their transient lifestyles and the performative action of creating temporary communities as well as observing the visual language relating to their ideas of identity and culture. The signs and signifiers which set them apart from not only each other but also the other people using these public areas.
After two and a half months of researching and documenting both groups. In one week both groups of people had disappeared. The Travellers had returned to Ireland, the Homeless men returned to cities North of Brighton. The latter could, as they told me "Never go home".

I wanted to create a visual work that would both, reference the intense and drawn out dialogical and observational process of the project, and also which acknowledged the fleeting transient nature of both groups' existence and the relationships which were built between them and I.

The works created were a series of clay heads which had all been cast from the same mold, but no two faces are the same.

A number of heads were installed in the spaces which had been occupied by either group. Over time the heads would dissolve, leaving only a faded, chalky outline on the surface where they were installed.

In 2015 I returned to Dublin and installed a series of interventions onto the board walk on the Liffey River. These involved a number of bottle caps. Which I noticed were being placed into the nuts and bolts which held the wooden beams of the boardwalk in place.

I used this very simple device to create a number of text based works using bottle caps painted white with a single letter on each one. Each installation spelled the words THESE ARE MY PEOPLE