PRODUCTION

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.

Nature has a History

Nature has a History

31.8.2013

Next month, Deirdre O’Mahony, Artist and Educator, (Centre for Creative Arts, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology) will present her art practice and research at the upcoming Land│Labour│Capital conference at Limerick City Gallery of Art. O’Mahony gives Future State a preview of what to expect.  

 


‘John And Colm Harrigan banning notices’. Image courtesy of Deirdre O’Mahony.

Dennis Cosgrave argues that we ‘cannot know nature outside the historical circumstances in which we find ourselves. Nature has a history.’(1) That history; the culture of agriculture, has been shaped by agricultural practices that were informed by local, tacit knowledge. Called dinnseanchas in Gaelic, this specific local knowledge of geneology and agricultural practice, was a way of holding onto the practiced knowledge of place developed over generations. ‘Tacit’ knowledge could not be explained through words alone but had to be demonstrated in practice. It applied only to the specific place where it had been developed, and it made sense as part of a wider understanding of one’s relationship to one’s holdings.’(2) Over the past fifty years official agricultural policies have devalued that knowledge in favor of codified, scientific knowledge that was more efficient and ‘rendered methods developed for specific locations redundant.’(3)

 


Tom Ward turning his turf Sat. 13 July 2013

The decline in the numbers of small farms in the west of Ireland slowed when Ireland joined the European Economic Community, the EEC in 1973, however that also marked the moment when farming practice diverged from tradition and became linked to subsidy. A resentment towards agricultural “experts” and decades of official disregard of local knowledge, has led to sceptical and often cynical attitudes amongst small farmers towards “official” rural policies. The emphasis has further shifted to the promotion of the farmer as custodian of the landscape and environment, prioritising the history, meaning and appearance of the land over its arable utility. In this light of previous experience, it is no surprise that farmers are slow to become involved with the contemporary rural development agenda further exacerbating the social and cultural isolation of many small farmers.

 


‘The last turf saved by the Harrigan family pre-implementation of ban on turf cutting on SACs’. Image courtesy of Deirdre O’Mahony.

The psycho-dynamics of competing subjectivities being played out in rural public space today continues to engender tensions and conflict within rural communities when interests collide and particularly noticeable in relation to planning, tourism and heritage developments. The effect of globalisation on local agricultural practices is most evident in contemporary rural Ireland by the shift from food production to high-value cultural production. Responsibilities that were once the landowners are now a matter for National and European regulatory agencies. Visual decisions were once a part of the commonsense, commonplace knowledge of everyday rural life; field management, wall construction, ploughing, planting, or inventing ways of ‘making do’ in order to make tasks easier. They have a social and aesthetic value which is of enormous relevance in contemporary culture, particularly in relation to sustainable development.

 


‘Lazybed at X-PO_2013’. Image courtesy of Deirdre O’Mahony.

My research has been focused on examining and unpacking the power relations playing out in conflicts between competing perspectives on landscape and identifying new methodologies that use cultural space to re-examine and re-present complex questions, perspectives and voices that are unheard or cannot yet be heard. Sustaining rural culture is a problem across Europe as food production moves to cheaper supply bases and EU policy, and subsidy, changed so that the farmer is now the custodian of the landscape and environment and prioritising the history, meaning and appearance of the land over its arable utility.(4) This move away from traditional farming has prioritised a post-productivist agenda; areas such as “alternative” food production, local tourism development and through LEADER, a focus on activating participatory, “bottom-up”, governance models where the design and implementation of development action is handed over to local stakeholders. (5)

 


‘Spud Archive X-PO_2013’. Image courtesy of Deirdre O’Mahony.

Áine Macken-Walshe recently published a report for Teagasc, the Irish agriculture and food development authority, that examines the socio-cultural factors governing the “poor engagement” of farmers and fishers in adapting to recent changes in rural development polocies. A signifigant number of traditional farmers continue to follow “non-viable” small–scale farming and are slow to become involved in economic activities – the ‘cultural turn’, in line with the contemporary rural development agenda, maintaining a sceptical distance from “official” rural policy development. Macken-Walshe notes that many farmers experience occupational and cultural estrangement from new policy driven agricultural practices such as organic food production, farmer’s markets, cultural tourism initiatives etc. (6)

written by Deirdre O’Mahony

(1) Dennis Cosgrove, Draft notes from the Landscape Theory seminar. Emailed text from James Elkins received Friday 24th September 2007. 4.

(2) Aine Macken-Walsh, Barriers to Change: A Sociological Study of Rural Development in Ireland. Athenry: Teagasc/RERC, 2009.  Web. 28 Jan 2010. 45, citing Jorgensen, A. ‘Fields of Knowledge’, in (eds.) Corcoran, M.P. and Peillon, M. Uncertain Ireland: A Sociological Chronicle 2003-­2004, Institute of Public Administration, 2006, 101 – 102.

(3) Jorgensen, 2006, p120 – 121, cited in Macken-Walshe.

(4) Macken-Walsh, 6.

(5) Ibid, 36.

(6) Macken-Walsh, 42.

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’

2.8.2013

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.