26 March 2014

red map


Future State is delighted to be a part of Oblique International’s project: 5 ½ PROPOSALS TO WORK AND LIVE IN THE CURRENT MILLENNIUM. This genesis of inspiration for the project is in reflections on labour and productivity.

Programme #1 March 28-29 in Rotterdam


presents two days of screenings, lectures and group activities, organized with the aim to open the discussion to ‘unproductive’ work forms, and how they can be used as a response to the current demand for productivity within the labour sphere, and outside of it. This program counts with the participation and works by: Maja Bekan, Ronald Bos, Doris Denekamp, Harun Farocki, Stephanie Feeney (Future State), Sarah Forrest and Sven Lütticken.

More information:

Oblique International




In the inaugural issue of PRODUCTION Future State bring together image, text, voice and gesture to investigate the cultural practices that appropriate ‘economised’ concepts and offer alternative interpretations to challenge dominate narratives.

At the beginning of Issue 1 a utopian cybernetics theorist and a faceless protester meet, both suggesting new paradigms in fragile moments of hope. Look closer and in the gestures of the ink we find both hopeful foreshadowing and a defiant rejection of neoliberalism and its mechanisms, bookending a moment in time. Later a city struggles to redefine itself by exploiting the redemptive hope of the arts, while a few pages later, art and city meet again; different time, different reality. Towards the end, as the pages thin out, we find depicted a media obsessed with an economic picture of their own creation, obscuring an economy of another kind, hidden and precarious.

In each of these connections, and in the individual contributions themselves, we are brought to the subject of economy on very different paths; from different places, times, media and disciplines. Yet what we present to you in these pages is not the paths themselves but a series of meeting places, collision zones and arenas of choice. Crossroads by any other name.

PRODUCTION is a collection of voices, not a collective voice. It is conceived as a confluence, bringing together practitioners and academics to stimulate connections and creative tensions. As such you will find none of the usual academic etiquette, demarcating where one voice ends and another begins. Instead we hope that the voices and ideas will bleed together, finding parallels and causing conflicts. There are no answers in these pages, nor where answers ever intended, but we hope that you will find questions, find yourself standing a crossroads and wondering where do we go from here.

To request a free copy of PRODUCTION please send an email, including your postal address, to info@thefuturestate.org.uk

Land Labour Capital

LandLabour│Capital Conference

Limerick City Gallery of Art

26-28 September 2013

Speakers: Mark Curran, Angela Dimitrakaki, Nicholas Mirzoeff and Deirdre O’Mahony

Admission is free but please reserve your place by emailing helen.carey@limerickcity.ie.  For more details see www.thefuturestate.org.uk.

Labour and Lockout: ‘you take my life when you do take the means whereby I live’

Labour and Lockout: ‘you take my life when you do take the means whereby I live’


The exhibition Labour and Lockout opens in Limerick City Gallery of Art  on 8 August and runs until 1 October exploring contemporary and historical scenarios where conditions of labour impact on lives lived today. Artists include Deirdre O’Mahony, Anthony Haughey, Deirdre Power, Darek Fortas, Jesse Jones, Sean Lynch, Seamus Farrell, Megs Morley & Tom Flanagan and Mark Curran.

Future State is collaborating with Goldsmiths, University of London and Limerick City Gallery of Art to host Land Labour Capital, a three day event of film screenings, artist talks, seminars and workshops related to the exhibition theme, taking place 26-28 September. Keynote speakers will include:

Mark Curran, educator and artist participating in the exhibition.  He completed a practice-led PhD at the Dublin Institute of Technology (2011), lectures on the BA (Hons) Photography programme, Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dun Laoghaire and is Visiting Professor on the MA in Visual and Media Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin. Incorporating multi-media installation informed by ethnographic understandings, Curran has undertaken a cycle of long-term research projects over the past 15 years, critically addressing the predatory context resulting from the migrations and flows of global capital. Supported by the Arts Council of Ireland and partnered by Gallery of Photography, Belfast Exposed, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, CCA Derry-Londonderry, Limerick City Gallery of Art and curated by Helen Carey, Curran is undertaking a project to be part of the marking of the centenary of the 1913 Dublin Lockout. Continuing the cycle to date, this multi-sited transnational project titles THE MARKET, focuses on the functioning of the global markets. It explores the nexus of the stockmarket, the lives of those working on the trading floors and in the financial sector and the lives of ordinary people not directly related to the sector.  Curran has sought access to the trading floors of stock exchanges in Dublin, Addis Abbaba, Frankfurt, London and has maintained an informative blog to capture his research.  THE MARKET will be presented in Dublin, Belfast and Limerick in August 2013 with publication to follow in 2014

Dr Angela Dimitrakaki, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Edinburgh. She has widely published in journals and has contributed numerous chapters to edited collections, including ‘The Spectacle and Its Others: Labour, Conflict and Art in the Age of Global Capital’ in Jonathan Harris, ed, Globalization and Contemporary Art, Wiley-Blackwell 2011 and ‘The Art Biennial as Symptom’ in Pilar Parcericas and Joacquin Barriendos, eds, Global Circuits: The Geography of Art and the New Configurations of Critical Thought, Acca 2011. Her books include Gender, ArtWork and the Global Imperative: A Materialist Feminist Critique (MUP 2013) and, in her native Greek, Art and Globalization: From the Postmodern Sign to the Biopolitical Arena (2013). With Lara Perry she co-edited Politics in a Glass Case:Feminism, Exhibition Cultures and Curatorial Transgressions (LUP 2013). In 2013 she co-curated, with Kirsten Lloyd, ECONOMY. An edited collection titled Economy: Art and the Subject after Postmodernism expanding on the outcomes of the curatorial research is forthcoming from Liverpool University Press in 2014. Angela is Corresponding Editor of HM: Research in Critical Marxist Theory and a Researcher with the Art, Globalization, Interculturality group at the University of Barcelona (http://artglobalizationinterculturality.com).

Professor Nicholas Mirzoeff, Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University. His work is in the field of visual culture, particularly on the genealogy of visuality, a key term in the field. His book The Right to Look: A Counterhistory of Visuality was published by Duke University Press (2011). He has produced and edited many texts and projects that support the general development of visual culture as a field of study and a methodology, such as the third Visual Culture Reader, edited by Mirzoeff and published in 2012 by Routledge and the second fully revised edition of An Introduction to Visual Culture, published in 2009 by Routledge. He also works on militant research with the global social movements that have arisen since 2011, particularly the Occupy movement, writing a regular column ‘Intensify’  for Tidal Magazine.

Deirdre O’Mahony is an artist, academic and occasional writer. She received PhD from the University of Brighton titled New Ecologies between Rural Life and Visual Culture in the West of Ireland: History, Context, Position, and Art Practice. Current projects include a collaborative project SPUD, between farmers, artists and art agencies taking place in Ireland, the UK and the USA and this year she has produced a collaborative event, River Culture in County Tipperary in June 2013.  She is curating an installation on rural labour and the regulation of turf cutting as part of the. O’Mahony is a member of the association of Arte Útil practitioners, a project by Tanya Bruguera, and part of the Arte Útil archive. Solo exhibitions include Abandoned Clare 2013, re-presentations, BCA Gallery 2009, Viscqueux Galway Arts Festival, 2006, Wall, Context Gallery Derry and LCGA, 2002 and WRAP; Galway Arts Centre in 2000. Public art projects include T.U.R.F (Transitional Understandings Of Rural Futures), ongoing, Mind Meitheal ongoing, Abridged: 0 – 20 Abandoned Clare, 2011, funded by the Arts Council, X-PO 2007-8 funded by the Arts Council and Cross Land, 2007 commissioned by Clare Co. Council. O’Mahony has received numerous awards, both national and international including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Fellowship in 1995 and visual arts bursaries from the Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíonn, 1997/2001 and 2010.

For more details and updates as they become available check http://www.thefuturestate.org.uk.


Land │Labour │Capital at Limerick City Gallery of Art on 26-28 September 2013


We are delighted to announce Land │Labour │Capital, an exciting collaboration between Limerick City Gallery of Art (LCGA), Goldsmiths, University of London and The Future State.  Over three days in September Land │Labour │Capital will bring together leading cultural academics and practitioners to reflect on the relevance of the 1913 Dublin Lockout for the contemporary moment and to foreground radical and alternative narratives for future history-making. Keynotes will be confirmed shortly. Land │Labour │Capital will take place in the LCGA during Labour + Lockout, an exhibition marking the centenary of the 1913 Dublin Lockout: a key moment in Ireland’s industrial history when employers refused to recognize workers in an attempt to break worker solidarity and the trade union movement.

LCGA’s Labour + Lockout exhibition is one in a series of exhibitions examining this moment of commemoration taking place in CCA Derry Londonderry, Belfast Exposed, Temple Bar Studios and Gallery Dublin, Gallery of Photography Dublin and independent spaces in Dublin.

We welcome proposals for academic or practice-led presentations exploring cultural, particularly visual, representations that critique dominant narratives and/or propose alternative futures. For more information refer to the Call for Papers (CFP).

More details to follow soon…



Memory and Migration: Dangerous Discourses

Memory and Migration: Dangerous Discourses


Over the next few weeks The Future State will explore the nexus between migration and memory through discussion of the complex interweaving of contemporary and historic experiences of migrant communities in Ireland, and the Irish diaspora before turning to explore how the alterity of the artistic position can aid the opening up of spaces to embrace alternative narratives that foreground the creative potential of difference.


In a 2009 TEDtalk the novelist Chimamanda Adichie warned of the danger of a single story:

It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power. There is a word, an Igbo word, that I think about whenever I think about the power structures of the world, and it is “nkali.” It’s a noun that loosely translates to “to be greater than another.” Like our economic and political worlds, stories too are defined by the principle of nkali: How they are told, who tells them, when they’re told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power. Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person… The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story. [1]

The recent call by Limerick County Councillor Kevin Sheahan for an ‘Irish first’ housing policy demonstrates how this principle of nkali operates within migration discourse in Ireland. The absence of an apology by Micheál Martin and the widespread failure by other party leaders to censure others who make similarly racist or xenophobic statements, enable such exclusionary narratives to flourish in Irish politics. [2]

These dangerous discourses stem from a cultural atmosphere that foregrounds competitive migration memory and negates minority experience. Instead it reinforces classical narratives of westward migration as progress, as articulated by Henry David Thoreau:

Eastward I go by force; but westward I go free… I must walk towards Oregon and not towards Europe. And that way the nation is moving, and I may say that mankind progress from east to west… We go eastward to realise history and study the works of art and literature, retracing the steps of the race; we go westwards as into the future, with a spirit of enterprise and adventure. [3]

 Thoreau’s pronouncement of westward travel as progress, and eastward migration as (racial) regression, may be a century and a half old but it illustrates a narrative that remains problematic in the contemporary understanding of migration. Homi K. Bhabha calls this the ‘potent mythologies of ‘progress’’, which in Ireland’s case are inextricable from historic emigration to Western centres. [4] To borrow from Stuart Hall, these mythologies fail to make room for a transformation or ‘becoming’ of identity and memory that is not defined by an essentialised past. [5] Failing to recognise the constant renegotiation of that past in relation to the present, i.e. the active nature of memory, denies the stories of those who migrate to and from Ireland beyond the heavily mediated memories of the white majority. [6]

Irial Glynn notes that in addition to a well-documented emigration history there is an equally rich, yet rarely referenced, history of migration to Ireland. This lack of fanfare may be due to the difficulty of romanticising the experience of immigrants; Glynn describes the ‘unsympathetic treatment of outsiders seeking to enter the country’, and notes that those who were accepted were ‘treated nonsensically by an ill-informed and ill-equipped state’. He notes that there has been only one marked period of support by politicians towards asylum, during the 1995 famine commemorations, when the emphasis laid on interpretations of Irish immigrants as refugees produced a conflation of this period of commemoration with national asylum debates. [7]

The conflation of contemporary migration and the mediated memory of historic emigration is problematic, as it leads to a binary understanding of migration as loss/gain. Furthermore the constant reiteration of the link between emigration and economic hardship leads to an assumption of the motivations of other migrant groups. This creates an atmosphere of competition within the host community, as exemplified by Sheahan, which extends beyond physical resources to the psychocultural space available for recognition. Homi K. Bhabha asserts that, ‘the universalism that paradoxically permits diversity masks ethnocentric norms, values and interests.’ [10] By glossing over cultural difference in favour of a homogenised melting pot of assimilated culture, conflict is fostered, explaining the continued presence of racism in multicultural societies, and atmosphere that breeds and permits comments like Sheahan’s.

In the book Crossroads: Performance Studies and Irish Culture, Holly Maples provides a fascinating account of how this was performed within the microcosm of the 2007 St Patrick’s Day parade in Dublin. She describes the conflict that arose between official policies of assimilation and the desires of migrant communities to highlight their distinct identities within a larger celebration of Irishness, writing:

The tension between universal signs of post-national society favoured by the artists and the need for iconic displays of national identity by the community groups provided an arena for the creation and loss of identity inherent in the performance of multiculturalism. That this occurred during a parade in honour of St Patrick’s Day, a holiday traditionally intended for a specific national community, illustrates widespread anxiety in Ireland around issues of cultural identity, nationalism, immigration, globalization, and the performance of Irishness on the Irish social stage. Cultural signifiers, no matter how subtle, indicating unique cultures were consistently sought by the Polish, Lithuanian, Igbo Associations, and others to celebrate not a fusion of cultures but particular contributions to the Festival.[11]

By enforcing cultural diversity both in the management of community participants and within the storyboard of the parade, the organisers performed the containment of migrant populations, negating difference in favour of a homogenised multicultural Irishness. As an alternative to cultural diversity Bhabha posits cultural difference which foregrounds, ‘the unequal, uneven, multiple and potentially antagonistic, political identities’, and creates a ‘position of liminality… that productive space of the construction of culture as difference, in the spirit of alterity or otherness’. [12]

A renegotiation of how multicultural Ireland deals with migrant communities is important and requires the renewal of national debates to include migrant experience. A tragic example is found in the death of Savita Halappanavar, the subsequent reigniting of national debates on abortion and refocused attention on the lack of clarity in Irish abortion law. The response of midwife Anna Marie Burke to the request for an abortion by Halappanavar and her husband was that it was not possible, “because this is a Catholic country”, demonstrating the precarious position of the migrant body within the inflexible systems of the host nation. The crisis brought about by this case has led to the redrawing of arguments, in a debate that has traditionally been framed in term of Ireland’s national Catholicism, to make room for citizens who do not share that cultural or religious heritage.

Moments of crisis are an occasion for the troubling of accepted understandings of cultural identity, opening up the potential for Ireland to understand itself beyond its past and to embrace cultural memory as an active process that makes room for interactions and antagonisms with other cultures. [13] Using post-Troubles Northern Ireland as her field of interest, E.M. Quinn explains that the liminal state of a country in crisis holds immense potential for the construction of an intact collective ‘self’ and the formation of new paradigms. She notes that, ‘opportunities emerge for the reshaping of narratives so that aspects of identity heretofore overlooked, unheeded, or unrecognised can be emphasised’. [14]

Utilising this moment of crisis to focus on issues which are central to understanding contemporary Irish identity, is vital in order to bring a critical focus to the problem of Irishness, nationally and where the diaspora bring it into question. By understanding the link between migration and memory and by acknowledging the damage that it caused by singular hegemonic narratives, a space is opened up to understand Irish identity as a complex entanglement, and a site of immense potential.

Written by Ruth Annett



1. Adichie, C (2009) The danger of a single story [online video] Accessed: 19/4/2013 Available at <http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story.html&gt;

2. Canon, M (2013) Column: Micheál Martin’s response to anti-immigrant rhetoric was lily-livered The Journal.ie <http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/kevin-sheahan-micheal-martin-immigrants-886658-Apr2013/&gt; Fianna Fáil’s response to Cllr Sheahan’s ‘Irish first’ comment is ‘unacceptable’ 2013 <http://www.thejournal.ie/fianna-fails-response-to-cllr-sheahans-irish-first-comment-is-unacceptable-856721-Apr2013/&gt;

3. Thoreau, H.D. (1993), Walking in Thoreau, H.D. Civil Disobedience and Other Essays, New York: Dover Publications Inc, P.57

4. Bhabha, H (1990) The Third Space: Interview with Homi Bhabha In: Rutherford, J. [ed.] (1990) Identity: Community, Culture, Difference London: Lawrence & Wishart, p.209

5. Hall, S (1990) Cultural Identity and Diaspora in Rutherford, J. [ed.] (1990) Identity: Community, Culture, Difference London: Lawrence & Wishart, p.225

6. For more on how this I would suggest reading The Irish in Us: Irishness, Performativity, and Popular Culture, especially Catherine Eagan’s essay Still “Black” and “Proud”;Irish America and the Racial Politics of Hibernophilia

7. Glynn, I. (2012a) Famine Commemorations and Asylum Debates in Ireland Conflated in Glynn, I. and Kleist, J.O.(2012) History, Memory and Migration: Perceptions of the Past and the Politics of Incorporation London: Palgrave MacMillan, p.173-174

8. Bhabha, H (1990) The Third Space: Interview with Homi Bhabha In: Rutherford, J. [ed.] (1990) Identity: Community, Culture, Difference London: Lawrence & Wishart, p.209

9. Maples 247

10. Bhabha, H (1990) The Third Space: Interview with Homi Bhabha In: Rutherford, J. [ed.] (1990) Identity: Community, Culture, Difference London: Lawrence & Wishart, pp. 208-211

11. ibid; Nora, P. (1989) Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire, Representations 26, 7–25, p.8

12. Quinn, E.M. (2009) Taking Northern Irish Identity on the Road: The Smithsonian Folklife Festival of 2007 in Brady, S. And Walsh, F (2009) Crossroads: Performance Studies and Irish Culture, London: Palgrave MacMillan, 215)


Sarah Browne – Diabolic Loop

Sarah Browne: Diabolic Loop


Artist Sarah Browne,  who presented work at The Future State of Ireland conference as part of collaborative art practice Kennedy Browne, currently has a solo exhibition on at Galway Arts Centre titled Diabolic Loop.  This refers to an economic theory that proposes the model of a negative feedback loop as a way to explain the aggravated relationship between weakened European banks and sovereign states. The works in the exhibition attempt to unpack and make material some of these analogies derived from technological processes.

Sarah Browne’s research-based practice centres on the production, distribution and use of particular objects in different situations and locales. She uses the peculiar status of the art object, and its uncertain purpose, as a hinge to lever discussions about economy, value and politics.

Browne’s approach is rooted in documentary, operating from a principle of ‘critical proximity’ and adopting methods from the social sciences. Flexible in form, the work invokes a variety of problematic documentary strategies, communicating the role of emotion and affect in the development of new forms of social imagination.

Diabolic Loop December 7, 2012–January 27, 2013
Galway Arts Centre 47 Dominick St, Galway, Ireland Hours: Monday–Saturday, 10–6pm

Kennedy Browne – The Myth of the Many and the One

Kennedy Browne: The Myth of the Many and the One


September 6-29th, Stadtgalerie Bern, Switzerland. Vernissage September 6th from 6pm.

Kennedy Browne will present at the Bern Biennale within the exhibition Kopf oder Zahl (Heads or Tails). For this edition, the biennale is themed Kapital and will see a diverse range of artistic responses to the recent  financial crises which have wracked western economies over the last four years.

Kennedy Browne’s work, The Myth of the Many in the One, was produced over the summer on location in Silicon Valley, California. This newly scripted work draws on the genre of the business biography,  attempting to decode the masculinist myth of the visionary leader of  technological progress and his place in our culture. Working on location with a child actor and a voice-over artist, a pre-Silicon Valley  orchard provides a significant mental and emotional backdrop to this  narrative.

Other participating artists in the biennale include Oliver Ressler and Zanny  Begg, Maria Eichhorn, Zachary Formwalt, Christian Jankowski and and  Silke Wagner.

The Myth of the Many in the One, single channel HD video, 19 minutes.

Funded by an Arts Council Project Award and supported by the Kadist Foundation, San Francisco.