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The Touching Contract
Sarah Browne and Jesse Jones, The Touching Contract, 2016. Photo: Miriam O'Connor.

The Touching Contract


23 Sept 2016

The Touching Contract

how we encounter the everyday touch of the law, with and without consent

The Dublin performance of In the Shadow of the State by Sarah Browne and Jesse Jones

The reach of the law will be interrogated by Irish artists Sarah Browne and Jesse Jones in The Touching Contract, to be performed this September as part of their project In the Shadow of the State.

Staged in the Pillar Room of the Rotunda Hospital, the first lying-in hospital in Ireland and the UK, The Touching Contract proposes new ways of understanding the political gesture of touch through an immersive performance work.

This performance in Dublin is the third public moment in this project, following events in Derry and Liverpool, and the main iteration of the commission in the Republic of Ireland. The performance will feature a soundscape by Alma Kelliher and a legal score devised in collaboration with Mairead Enright.

In the Shadow of the State is an ambitious collaborative project by artists Sarah Browne and Jesse Jones. Four live events are being held in historically resonant spaces in Derry, Dublin, Liverpool and London throughout 2016, that will examine how institutions, laws and practices of the State have impacted on the female body. This marks the first collaboration between these dynamic Irish artists, whose work is highly regarded nationally and internationally.

Exploring the interplay between past and the present conditions for women in the Irish State in the context of the 1916 centenary, the artists question the legacies of historic injustices in contemporary Ireland.

Since the formation of the Irish State, women’s bodies have experienced and endured the deeply physical impact of State ideology. This has included industrial incarceration, legality of marital rape (until 1990); reproductive injustices. Browne and Jones have worked with experts from law, medicine, material culture and music throughout 2016, as well as engaging with women’s groups and communities of interest in Ireland and the UK, to further explore and critique statehood from the perspective of the female body.

In the Shadow of the State is co-commissioned by Create (Ireland) and Artangel, and is a key project in the Arts Council’s ART: 2016 programme for Ireland 2016. By supporting the project, The Arts Council is placing artists and the arts at the centre of how it responds to the Centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Additional support for the project has come from Dublin City Council, Liverpool Biennial and Heart of Glass (St. Helens)




related programme
In the shadow of the state