It’s been said many a time, but the story of dance in Ireland is the story of individuals. It’s a thin history, made up of individual threads of practice that has never been interwoven with schools of thought or aesthetics. The thin warp of personal ideals has never been joined by a weft of collective ideals.
Create News 9: Daniel Jewesbury on The Value of Mentoring
Dr Daniel Jewesbury is a visual artist based in Northern Ireland.
All art-making proceeds by questions. And each attempt at an answer brings more questions: it’s a dialectical process, always unfinished, always leading to some other consideration, some new problem that can enrich the understanding of a situation, not necessarily by being ‘answered’ definitively, but by suggesting yet more questions, more problems and concerns and new approaches.
Faisal Abdu’Allah, Private Views, ed Judith Palmer (Serpents Tail)
My practice is a visual auto-biography played out in text, image and space, each one a true testament to my uncompromising and critical analysis of the collective I live in. My work in the community is the perfect catalyst to summarise my work ethic and principles. We are informed about the gallery space but never comprehend it as being an extension of the artist studio, a haven that purifies emotions through the evocation of fear, stimulation of thought and interaction. Questions of class, ownership and rites of passage are consistently volleyed around this creative playground.
Contemporary arts practice is increasingly integrated into healthcare settings in Ireland, allowing for the creative expression of our own sense of humanity and at times giving voice to our isolation and loneliness. But how
do we articulate the value of integrating arts practice into healthcare situations and why place art and artists in such loaded contexts?
“Façadism – but we are going in” says Tadhg O’ Keefe, archaeologist and practitioner on a unique experimental archaeological project, Placing Voices, Voicing Places, that partners UCD School of Archaeology, UCD School of Sociology, UCD School of Cultural Policy, Dublin City Council, Office for Integration, Create, and the commissioned artists Ursula Rani Sarma and Sean Lynch to explore the landscapes of working class and immigrant communities of Dublin’s inner city – Clanbrassil Street and the Monto from the mid 19th Century through the 20th Century and into the present.
‘What matters is the exemplary character of production, which is able first to induce other producers to produce, and second, to put an improved apparatus at their disposal. And this apparatus is better the more consumers it is able to turn into producers – that is readers or spectators into collaborators’
– Walter Benjamin – ‘The Author as Producer’
In the late 1980s the all-pervasive ‘two traditions’ model of Irish society was being widened, mainly to be more inclusive of the variety of economic, social, gender and age differences which it failed to articulate. It gave way to the more generic ‘cultural traditions’ which aimed to give a wider and more benign description to the great religious and political divisions for which Ireland was best known – but which was inaccurate almost as soon as coined, since it did not easily include the incomers bringing different cultural traditions to Ireland by the 1990s. ‘Multi-cultural’ was then generally adopted as the easiest description of the new society which lived in Ireland, though in the north of Ireland ‘cultural diversity’ was the working term, since it incorporated both the malign divisions which were still evident and aspirations for the tolerant diversity which were shared with all of Europe.
Create News 2: Brian Maguire on Practice, Process and Audience
Six artists from Ireland and four artists from the UK initiated and continued an intense conversation, part in private, part in public, over two days in Middlesex University and Soho Theatre, London on the 26th and 27th February. The initiative forms part of an ongoing bigger ‘conversation’ and initiative between NCAD, Create and ResCen, Middlesex University.
The overall purpose was to share understanding of individual practice and the audiences encountered, but in the process much larger philosophical issues emerged, making for a fascinating and illuminating event. An additional focus was on the role of the audience in the creative process and how these artists conceive of an audience during the creation of their work.
The thrill has gone from travel. While we may fancy ourselves to be Born to Be Wild, congestion, fuel prices, pollution, and talk radio conspire to degrade our daily journey to an ordeal to be endured rather than an adventure to be embraced. Over the long haul, if the terrorists or the DVT don’t get you the airport departure lounge will numb you into hopelessness. Yet there must have been a time before this when travel promised better things.
The work of English artist Andrew Cross allows for such a possibility. A self-confessed trainspotter, his interest in trains does not tally with the popular image of a nerd with a notebook recording engine numbers. He is more interested in the mechanism for travel and where the tracks might lead to.