After the workshop with Francis Fay and Elaine Lawlor, I wanted to do more research about the facilities, groups, workshops and performance opportunities for emerging artists in Ireland. During the workshop at Portland Row, Francis and Elaine asked if we knew of any Irish performance artists. The response was minimal. It made me question why and how performance art in Ireland can create a higher standing and how do performance artists earn a living? For most artists who don’t make a living from their work they get part-time jobs in other sectors, take part in exhibitions, go on residencies and look for commissioned work. Performance can be viewed in the forms of video and photography as well. Since I am focusing predominantly on performance art this semester and it is an area I would like to continue working in, I wanted to find places where I could develop my skills in front of a like minded audience before entering the public eye. I am familiar with artists such as Amanda Coogan who performed at Dublin Contemporary in 2011 and Rachel Tynan who performed Cut Throat live at the LAB recently. My intention was to find other artists working toward an impressive performances who seem to be off the radar. Performance Art is in my opinion a growing genre of art. The expressive, energetic and communicative force of performance is most definitely an asset in a time when we exude materialism as a nation.
Block T is an organisation I had heard about in college. It attracts a lot of the students from D.I.T’s visual art courses because it is student friendly. BLOCK T is a non for profit organisation that opened in July 2010 and since then has been acting as a platform for visual and performing arts. As an organisation, the board helps emerging and established artists to expose work to a wider audience. They have had more than 200 performers in the two years it has been open which is great news for the performing arts and artists who want an opportunity to showcase a new piece of work. It has established an annual ‘Emerging Graduate Award’ and a ‘Block T Studio Project Award’. 2011 saw BLOCK T winning the very “first Noone Casey / Dublin Contemporary Mentor-ship Award and the Cultural Attraction of the Year at Dublin Living Awards”. The contribution of BLOCK T is extremely beneficial to the intellectual, cultural and social growth of the country and sustains an organisation where artists can come together to support and acknowledge the efforts of one another. As a student this seems like a comfortable place to exhibit work, gain experience and interact with other artists. They also offer internships at different times of the year which aren’t necessarily performance related but are important for students like myself to learn skills.
Upon researching foundations, society’s and groups I came across Performance Art Live Foundation, who give credit to Alastair Mac Lennan for initiating live performance art in Ireland. As a teacher from the mid seventies who walked the streets of Belfast in 1977 dressed in black with polythene veiled over him and a dartboard hung around his neck in Target he drew attention to the effect of performance on the public. Brian O’ Doherty also took a performative stance against politics in Ireland by burying Patrick Ireland in the grounds of I.M.M.A. Performance Art Live aims to look at Ireland’s internationally known culture of live sport, live storytelling, live music and theatre and bring live performance art “living installation and durationally driven work” into the public eye. P.A. Live is an artist led foundation which acts as a platform for artists to come together and showcase performances. They support Irish artists in developing and presenting live performances, showing the work to a peer group for feedback in front of a ‘safe’ audience. They help with the necessities for documenting performances at the live event.
The Performance Collective Group is another organisation, it was set up in 2007 and has five leading Irish performance artists running it. They are; Pauline Cummins, Frances Mezzetti, Dominic Thorpe, Michelle Browne, Alex Conway and Amanda Coogan. They do workshops and have peer critiques, explore improvisation to create completely different live artworks. They discuss things like collaboration, co-authorship, improvisation, context, display, the live and temporary. They have regular ‘intensive’ workshops in which they combine mental, physical and vocal exercises On their website they briefly describe the importance of awareness of body and ‘physicality in the space and the relationship of bodies to each other and to other physical materials’. This interested me in the sense that when I do my performances their definitely is a relationship between myself as a physical being and the objects that I hold. At the same time there is also for me a mental relationship between myself and the way in which I view the object. The artists in the Performance Collective Group also experiment with different found objects, making use of each ones particular characteristic whether that be visual, audible,personal, cultural or political.
Irish Performing Arts Festival, is an international festival celebrating arts in Ireland. It is directed by Eoin Nash who tries to provide opportunities for people with disabilities, to develop and showcase their talents in Visual Art, Music, Drama, Dance. The committee organise competitions, workshops, exhibitions and performances and alongside COPE Foundation, local and national performing and visual artists and venues they festivals showing all the work. I like that this festival incorporates all of the different talents with performance and allows people of different abilities to participate.
Performance workshops are put on by artists every couple of weeks or months. I found the easiest way to find out about workshops is to visit Visual Artists Ireland online where you can see the majority of upcoming workshops in Ireland. Although not a workshop, Market Studios hold a performance night on the first Friday of every month. Here artists can present work to an audience and get feedback before performing in front of larger audiences. I think this provides a good outlet for young artists to gain confidence in their performances and learn skills which will help them improve.
Overall I found there to be many websites for performance groups. In Dublin in particular there are constructive organisations who back students and emerging artists and provide invaluable facilities. I think the main thing students interested in continuing a career in performing arts should be aware of is that you really have to use the facilities out there to widen your audience. There are ample opportunities in performance art in Ireland, they might be less obvious than the galleries and museums that hold paintings and sculptures, but they are there. It seems in performance, like anything else, practicing and getting feedback from others working in the same field in extremely valuable.
Dublin Contemporary 2011
‘Cut Throat’ 2012
The Performance Collective, some of their artists doing a live performance.
The performance workshop held by Francis Fay and Elaine Lawlor was my favourite out of all the presentations because it was interactive and engaging. From the morning we were participating in different activities. We were each given a label with someone else’s name in the group on it. We followed partners in synchronized movements around the space, keeping eye contact with partner at all times. We joined hands as a group and awaited a wave like movement of hands squeezing in clockwise and counterclockwise. For this exercise we had to concentrate on the person each side and be fast in out own reactions. In another exercise each pair were given one blindfold.The leader had to navigate their partner through the space with the touch of one finger between the shoulder blades. I found this to be a very sensory experience. As the person being led ‘blind’ I had to listen intently to the noises in and outside the room, I was more careful stepping ahead and I was more aware of the space. I had to place trust in my partner. I learned that I don’t trust so easy, I was still very cautious about walking at a normal pace. As a leader I found my partner was receptive to different touches than I was and opposite in reaction to the placement of finger on shoulders. I learned that everyone reacts differently and when working with others I have to be sensitive to their personality and tendencies. Balancing a wooden rod between two people, again moving around the space. Later these activities were moved outdoors where one person was blindfolded and the other lead them with the rod first chest balancing, secondly balancing on back. At times the leader was swapped silently and replaced with an unknown person, only to find out their identity when the blindfold came off at the end of the session. I could sense a change in the way I was being led.
One of the last performances involved everyone finding one object in the courtyard and bringing it back in. Items such as sticks, metal wire, a traffic cone, a concrete block, a bicycle without wheels were brought back. Francis and Elaine then asked each of us for an idea of a performance we might do with our objects. I did not know what I would do with my cavity block, it was too heavy to lift easily so I said a bracelet, making a comment on how people wear uncomfortable things for fashion. Then Francis asked was it okay if he took my block, suddenly I became defensive of my block, no it was not okay, I had claimed ownership of this found object. We both stood on the small block trying to balance on it and unbalance each other. We were then shown a short presentation of videos by different performance artists. Artists such as; Chris Burden Shoot 1971, . This was really interesting and enjoyable to watch, didn’t last too long. We were then asked to take a few minutes to come up with a performance with our chosen objects. We came back and performed for roughly one minute each.
This workshop was really beneficial for me, it taught me that anything can be performed with. It doesn’t have to be aesthetically beautiful or perfectly constructed. It also opened my eyes to the performances which go unnoticed throughout the day. Each thing is a performance in itself, by raising awareness of it or changing something’s function you can change the value of it and the way it is interpreted At the end of the workshop we were each given a quote on a piece of paper, one which will inspire me to keep pushing on with my performances and gave me new ideas for possible future projects.
The whole workshop made me more self aware and aware of others around me. How people respond to changes in their environment and how they respond to directions given to them was a valuable lesson. Sometimes we forget about the small sensory decisions we make apparently unconsciously, during the workshop that was all brought to the fore and it was as if each sensory organ was taking everything in for the first time, because we were putting a emphasis on each sense. It also showed me how much I rely on sight and forget about other senses. When sight was taken away everything else seemed exaggerated or pronounced. Performance is about experience and movement not just what you see.
“Theatre is fake… the knife is not real, the blood is not real, and the emotions are not real. Performance is just the opposite: the knife is real, the blood is real and the emotions are real.”
- Marina Abrovomic
Aurelien is a French Artist from Paris who has been living and working in Dublin for the last four years. He has always had an interest in theatre and film and made the decision to complete an course rather than theatre school as it has a broader course. He graduated in 2000 and has been working in the areas of photography, video, sculpture, photography and text based mediums since. During his presentation he spoke about site specific work, distributing leaflets to certain people outside the entrance to a movie theatre 5 minutes before a film began. He said it was the perfect time just before they left the outside world for a while to enter into a specific story or characters life. From this I learned that timing and place are extremely important to the viewing of art. In his case what he was handing out related to the place he was. At that time he also had a job in a cinema which influenced his practise as an artist.
Later he was commissioned to make a 5 five minute piece of work for an independant theatre which was shown for 2 years. He brainstormed what image or motif he could use between the commercials and trailers but before the fiction of the film, at the moment when the audience are chatting among themselves, something that would grab their attention. This was an important point for me, again raising the issue of what fits into the space, time, context and theme of where the work was to be shown. The piece is based on the image of a jellyfish and the voiceover attempts to exhaust this image. I thought the image was really vibrant and it captured my attention due to it’s majestic nature. Froment titled the piece Pulmo Marina and chose to leave out credits and names of producer. As for the space he made a decision to mimick the theatre landscape and project the clip onto film.
In 2002, he made Diary of 2030 which consisted of an edition of 500 diaries, a photo of future Acrosante, Arizona added into each diary. I found it interesting that he added the photo of an actual place into the diaries. While at that exact site on his trip to Arizona, there was a sudden storm and Froment made a short video approximately 24 flashes per second. This video was my favourite piece of work that he showed. Froment said that he didn’t even research the place on the internet before he went so it was all completely new to him. The images are stunning and it made me realised that sometimes a piece of art just happens. Sometimes when you don’t have any certain idea for work, the surroundings themselves make the work.
Froment spoke of his 2010 work, The Second Gift which is a wooden box containing different forms which can be constructed. This work was greately influenced by Friedrich Frobel, who educated at kindergardens in Germany. His theory was that we learn through play. When Froment made his own version he wanted it to be displayed in a gallery or museum in such a way that viewers were allowed to touch it and play with it. He learned that by putting instructions near it on the table, people could see the contents of the box and what they did. He invited people to attend workshops to allow interaction and educational aspects. This is something I will definitely keep in mind when I make work because viewers need some sort of instruction. This aspect of audience interaction with the work is something I’ve had trouble with before, because I don’t particularly like leaving instructions as I prefer to see how the viewer will touch the work without ‘permission’ but it usually ends up with my work not being viewed well or interacted with. It’s difficult for viewers to know what to do in that situation and it is my responsibility to present the work in a way that is accessible.
He started to look at film and projection from another angle. Projecting something into the future or projecting something from the past. This interested me because there are many different types and ways things can be projected and it’s an area that I would be interested in working in. Whether that be digital projections, projections of stories into art, projecting thinking in a series of movements or a mental state in a sensory way. Modèle d’exposition 2009 is another of his works which has an element of play, it consists of 96 square cards that are placed face down on a table with a grid system. 2 cards have to be flipped over by one player and they have to fabricate a story to relate the two cards. This artwork was my favourite because it allows the audience to have fun but also to be active. Much of Froment’s work is a response to the actual exhibition space or place of display. He prefers to edit work to the space rather than make work that just sits in a space that has no relation to it whatsoever.
Mark Garry’s presentation was really engaging, he brought us through his work, the different things to think about when budgeting for projects or commissions and how to manage contemporary art projects as an artist and curator. His work looks at navigating viewers through physical space his installations are quite sensory and he is interested in bio mimickery and the self sustaining characteristics of nature.
The setup of his work in the show Frequency was something that interested me. The minimalist and balanced layout with one installation, one 2D work and one 3D work in one space gave unity to the work and used the space fully and example is Being Here. He showed us a work origami steel which was 90 percent material 10 percent produce which really made me think about the amount of waste I myself produce as an artist. It is definitely something to bear in mind when choosing materials. Sending Letters to the Sea commissioned by Fingal County Council, recorded in Berlin, was a live performance. He explained how much work went into the project and how many people were involved. I had not realised how much of an effort it would take to make a piece like it. Sound engineers, composers, musicians such as Nina Hynes, choirs such as Fingal chamber choir, filming and recording equipment are just some of the many things he needed to make it come together. For a project like that you really need to love what you do because it involves a lot of challenges.
Mark was commissioned by Leitrim county council for his public work Wind Harps beside Carrick on Shannon. The harps rely on their environment to make sound. The integration of the work with it’s surroundings is very important and it shows how much a piece of art can be influenced and in turn influence the place that it is in. The sonic sculptures made of titanium and steel are very much site specific. Mark also mentioned how important it is to learn to new skills and take internships, as they helped him through his practise. They will help develop our work and ideas. For example he did part of the work for his harps instead of getting an engineer to do it. It has motivated me to look into internships which can help in my own work.
He reminded us that engineers have to sign off on work to make sure it is not a health and safety issue. Mark gave us a rough time it took to make work for each exhibition. It actually surprised me how long they took, but things have to look finished and polished for the final piece. He went through the costs that should be budgeted for. Artist fee is usually 25-30% of the budget, materials, manufacturing, transport, customs, customs agent, engineers, contractors, lighting, child care, per diems (they are usually paid the equivalent of three meals a day). Then explained that when he went to America, the museums do not pay for production of work so you have to raise all the money for wages and costs yourself. Commissioners elsewhere sometimes give you contacts for contractors, etc but he suggested that where possible, look for your own as it won’t cost as much. Visual Artists Ireland also have a list of contacts who are used to working with artists. Studio Dekka in UK are really good for lighting. There is a lot to think about and organise when accepting a project that involves. The budgeting seems quite intimidating because it looks so easy to forget to budget for a certain expense. For example Child minding, lighting, building costs, are things I would have overlooked if Mark had not pointed them out. I’m used to doing small projects with the bare minimum equipment. Taking on a project means a lot of careful planning and readjusting.
A Generous Act, a project he curated in America with many different musicians from around the world. Drift on Sherkin Island, they had to do mot of the filming in one day. Adaptability is key not just to the project but also ways you work. Step into other areas like public art. This piece was great and after being told that they had to do most of the musical aspect in one day made me appreciate even more. I learned that sometimes things don’t go to plan but you can re-adjust to suit the situation.
Ruairi O Cuiv, public art manager for Dublin City Council gave a talk about the importance of proposals, C.V.’s and responsibility of an artist who makes public art. He brought us through different approaches to public art while using the same common denominator, the proposal. He discussed the Per Cent for Art scheme and explained why artist’s who want to make work for public projects should ask themselves if they will be committed to it and is it something that interests them enough to work with til the end, something that they will be proud of.
Ruairi explained what would be expected of an artist to have a good change at getting commissioned to make a piece of public art. Ruairi placed a great emphasis on working within the themes and contexts we are used to. If a project has related themes to usual work or methods of working then definitely make a proposal but to wait for a project that suits your style and practise and ideas rather than proposing a piece of work you’re not really interested in. He said it was important to remember that other people will be involved like engineers, etc.
He gave us a break down of the most important criteria for a proposals. They are as follows; Heading, Title, introduction to concept, brief explanation of concept, back up the idea, methodology, technical issues, time scale, feasibility assessment, budget and financial workings, presentation, images of proposed piece, material, visual diagrams, work plan. Artists should include images of past work, an artist statement, a presentation and this should all be bound in a folder. I had no idea that there were so many categories that had to be acknowledged so I will keep researching examples of proposals.
Ruairi showed us many examples of public art, site specific, relational, memorial, etc in his presentation. Memorial art holds a lot of emotion around the issues that are being commemorated and memorialized It was one challenge that artist Peter Eisenman handled particularly well in his Memorial to the Slaughtered Jews of Europe which was made in Berlin in 2005. It is an artwork that is experienced because the public walk into the grid made of 2,711 rectangular concrete blocks, also known as stelae, because from a distance they all look roughly the same height but on standing on them they spread out into a vast uneven surface. All of the information regarding the dates and names of the victims are in the information centre underneath it. This was one of the most interesting pieces for me because a work that holds so much emotion is bare on the surface. There was a lot of information to take in but he definitely gave us examples from each area of public art.
Another piece founded by Rick Lowe in America, titled Project Row Houses caught my attention. Project Row Houses were founded to revitalize “depressed inner-city neighbourhoods”. It is a non for profit organisation by African American artists and activists from the community of Houston’s Northern Third Ward. It was the positive effect that the art has on the community that I was particularly interested in. Ruairi briefly explained the concept for the work, it was partly based on the theories of Joseph Beuys who was a German artist. Beuys came up with the term “social sculpture” which gave art a new function as the centre of socializing.
In relation to my own practice the insights Ruairi gave were invaluable and will help me writing proposals. I didn’t realise public art commissions held so much responsibility until the criteria was broken down in the presentation. Looking at the work of others artists has set a high standard, which needs to be kept high.
Stop motion video, foley sounds..
2nd year, semester 2 assessments. DT546
For my interface project I am working with themes of institutional and environmental control, I really like how this projection attempts to control the viewers environment. It would be quite disorientating to be put in a room that looks like it’s moving around you. This idea of controlling someones perception is of interest to me and I hope to create videos similar to this which could perhaps be projected into a room. Something which I could work on further next year
Water art video installation in 3D by Risha Gorig, research for my interface. I am using videos of water.
This example of Sonia Falcone’s work begins with a disorientating scene, as the video progresses the music becomes less harsh on the ear and the colours deepen. there is constant movement throughtout the projection. The burst of what look like fire and then turn to something which looks more like a star, to warm rosy red tones of what could possibly be a flower and then to graphic lines and cubes. This close up of moving images is something I want to capture in my videos.
Brian Knep is a New Media artist who works alongside science and technology. The work he makes vary in size from tiny, microscopic sculptures to large installtions. He currently lives and works in Boston and he is represented by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts New York.
His series of works Healing Pool were of particular interest. A six channel interactive video installation from 2008, which has custom patterns which tear apart as a person walks on them and rejoin as they move to another part of the installation. He explores the interface between interaction and integration. The patterns change in response to the viewer as does the colour. This notion that the viewer gets to change or recreate the piece is something I hope to establish in my work.
Dublin Contemporary 2011, Earlsfort Terrace