Eva Richardson McCrea, Frank Sweeney and the Dublin Dockworkers Preservation Society
Funded by the Arts Council Artist in the Community Scheme
Made Ground is a collaboration between artists Eva Richardson McCrea, Frank Sweeney and the Dublin Dockworkers Preservation Society (DDWPS). Taking the DDWPS online archive of over 3,500 photographs as its starting point, the work draws on a range of source material including interviews, institutional and personal archives, documents and original footage. The two channel video work considers the movement from manual to knowledge based forms of labour in the Docklands, the changing architecture of the area and the impact of these changes on the surrounding communities.
The project was a collaboration between artists Eva Richardson McCrea, Frank Sweeney and the Dublin Dockworkers Preservation Society. The Dublin Dockworkers Preservation Society is dedicated to preserving the history of the Dublin Docks. To date they have collected over 6,000 photographs, alongside other donated documents which are currently being archived by Dublin City Council and will soon be available to the general public.
The collaboration was initiated by the artists who had an interest in automation and its effects on individuals and communities – in the context of current estimates which predict that 30% of jobs will be automated by 2030.
The aim of the project was to create a body of research which would culminate in a two screen video installation. The guiding research behind the work was concerned with the relation between memory, history and experience in relation the Dublin docklands community and their experience of changing labour forms and conditions due to accelerating technological advancements. The work sought to create a work that explores the lived experiences of Dublin Dockworkers and connects these experiences to the social, political and economic conditions out of which they were borne. This work asks two primary questions: What is the relationship between memory, history and experience and how do these categories frustrate grand narratives and historical truth? How can future communities be protected and accommodated from the effects of increasing, and inevitable, automation?
Detailed aims included:
– To identify the social and economic effects of containerizaton on the Dublin Docks and the surrounding Docklands Community.
– To record first hand accounts of the Dublin Dockers in order to preserve the oral histories which are just within living memory.
– To situate the mass unemployment of the docks within the context of a movement from manual to knowledge based forms of labour.
– To instigate a conversation about automation and its effects on workers and communities, within the current context of increasing levels of automation.
– To use containerization as a lens through which to explore the contemporary social and economic issues affecting the North Inner City.
– Trace geographical changes in the docklands area (for example the building of the IFSC on the site of the original docklands community) and link these changes to the movement from manual to knowledge based forms of labour.
– To consider the container as object – aesthetically, culturally and historically.
– To explore the complex relationship between memory, history and experience through this specific case study
The artists worked together with the DDWPS in exploring the issues and topics outlined above, recorded these explorations visually and in doing so added to the archive of the Dublin Dockers, by preserving individual histories in video form. In collaboration with individual Dockers and the Society as a whole, they linked the individual experiences of the Dublin Dockers to the collective history of changing labour forms. The collaborators gathered interviews and archival footage and objects, which formed the basis of the visual and audio elements of the project, alongside original material. Through this, they worked to create a rhizomatic body of research which maps changes in the built environment of the docklands area and links these geographical changes to other strata of social, political and economic change which were occurring simultaneously.
Two Channel Video, 22:02:01, Synced, Quadrophonic Sound
Planning and Development: October – November 2018
Realisation: December – March 2018
Total Duration: 6 months