Askeaton Contemporary Arts
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Welcome to the Neighbourhood
13 - 25 JULY 2015
ARTISTS IN RESIDENCE
curated by Michele Horrigan
Tuesday 14 July
at Cois Sionna Credit Union
Friday 17 July
Join stonecarver Stephen Burke, artist Sean Lynch and Askeaton’s recently retired Castle foreman
John Moone in a discussion on the history and lives of buildings in Limerick and elsewhere,
at Askeaton Civic Trust from 8pm
Tuesday 21 July
Artist Liz Ryan leads a driving tour visiting West Limerick’s folk art. Encounter the Stoneyman, The Stump, the Devil and Saint Michael all in one evening. The journey begins from Askeaton Civic Trust at 7pm, booking essential at 087-2977179 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday 25 July
Open day! Join for a reception and walking tour followed by the annual Hellfire Club Party, beginning at Askeaton Civic Trust from 3pm
... industrial and consumer goods made in Asia are loaded onto cargo ships and sailed through the Panama Canal. Fleeting across the Atlantic Ocean they urgently make their way to the Shannon Estuary and to Foynes Port, where products such as coffee machines, motorbikes and Chinese plywood are all unpacked and brought to retail parks, showrooms and DIY outlets throughout Ireland. At the start, a few ships each month should suffice. Soon, demand will increase. The port will grow in size. Over time, the Shannon River will become a success story, mentioned in boardrooms across the world as the new Rotterdam or Hamburg, a distribution and manufacturing centre consummate with regional wealth and made by a true mercantile class.
A new road is needed to realise this dream. Its beginnings are seen here in the background in the detailed map Route Corridor Options – Foynes to Limerick Road Improvement Scheme published earlier this year. Despite having no actual funds of the estimated €300,000,000 needed, the Mid West National Road Design Office plan to identify a preferred route corridor before the end of 2015. Two alternate paths for a motorway or dual carriageway around or through Askeaton are mooted. Once chosen, the route corridor cannot be legally changed. When such schemes are implemented, towns in their path tend to reduce their interest in grassroots activities and notions of sustainable community, in the knowledge that whatever they are doing now will be subsumed by a larger, seemingly worldwise masterplan that’s on the way. Meanwhile, representatives of the region on business trips abroad at that crucial make-or-break meeting can point on their iPad to a map of where the new road is to be built, once foreign investment is attained.
The Irish landscape is no longer one of natural harmony and rural simplicity, as many may think it is. Instead, it is a site implicated into the politics of spatial strategy, market dividends and managerial prowess. As a methodology, road builders tend to begin with a selection of possible routes through the countryside before finalising on one. This results in a ‘divide and conquer’ effect, where communities defend one route in favour of another, frequently causing local frictions. The process of identifying routes is typically undertaken through aerial survey, meaning there is little or no interaction onsite with landowners or small businesses before route corridors are revealed. Now, 900 submissions through public consultation have been received by the Mid West National Road Design Office, who on their website note that “we are not in a position to reply to each in detail.” The road scheme affects everyone in Askeaton. In light of these events, Askeaton Contemporary Arts host Welcome to the Neighbourhood, with Irish and international artists residing and working in our town. Several public events will occur during the artists’ stay, with an open day on Saturday 25 July from 3pm.
IC ITE OID
Susan MacWilliam was commissioned to present Askeaton Contemporary Arts’ entry in the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. For many years, MacWilliam has explored cases of paranormal and perceptual phenomena through her video works and installations. Her project, IC ITE OID, develops from her recent residency in Askeaton and interweaves elements of Aldous Huxley’s seminal 1954 novel The Doors of Perception with accounts of the Limerick Meteorite Fall of 1813.
“Yesterday morning about nine o’clock, there was most dreadful thunder heard in the direction from Patrick’s Well, towards Adare and Rathkeale, in this County; the peals were very violent and continued for a considerable time, and were accompanied with some awful appearances –large fragments of atmospheric stones, and other circumstances, which indicated some very serious concussion to have taken place.” - The Limerick Chronicle, Saturday September 11, 1813
PRELUDE TO THE ASKEATON COMMUNE
Next year Askeaton Contemporary Arts will present The Askeaton Commune, a series of new artist commissions to coincide with the centenary of the Easter Rising and the founding of the Irish State. The programme aims to emphasise the pursuit of cultural equality and egalitarianism within the social infrastructures we now inhabit, making public a series of individual and subjective positions, scenarios increasingly vetoed in favour of neoliberal initiatives of regional branding and consumer-led views of culture.
Leading up to this event, Allan Hughes’ project Neutral States was presented from March to May at Askeaton
Civic Trust. Set around the legacy of Second World War battlement infrastructure along the Shannon Estuary, Hughes' video, audio and photographic installation examines ideas of the ‘neutral state’, not solely as it pertains to the neutrality of Ireland during the Second World War, but also as an exploratory idea of historical memory and site as an ever-evolving understanding. Neutral States is developed from interviews made with Michael Foley, John Guinane and Michael D. Ryan, all volunteers in the Local Security Force (LSF) and Local Defense Force (LDF) in the 1940s.
For decades, Seanie Barron has been carving and shaping wood in a workshop at the back of his house in Plunkett Road, Askeaton. Initially, his work might be labeled as folk art, yet on further inspection it becomes apparent that his work is instead borne out of an understanding of nature and often-humorous interpretations of the environment around him. He roams around Askeaton, looking for the right branch left in a field or underneath a bush, to then shape into a walking stick. These often take on surreal forms referencing seahorses, weasels, fists, foxes or swimmers. By channeling all from the overlooked to the exotic, Barron has spent years working on a form of art that, though may come from an untrained hand, is as relevant as any didactical form of creativity.
Ahead of his upcoming exhibition at the Douglas Hyde Gallery in Dublin, read his recent exhibition catalogue with an essay by Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes and an in-depth interview with Seanie Barron and Michele Horrigan.
Available to download for free here
FROM THE ARCHIVE
THE HELLFIRE CLUB - Publication
A series of commissions in 2012 based upon the presence of an 18th century secret society house in Askeaton. Today, the building is inaccessible to the public, as a ruin in constant danger of collapse.
Around this site of physical decay, featured artists have considered the Hellfire history, its non-conformist allusions to the society of the 1700s, and its material presence as a crumbling ruin in the middle of a small Irish countryside town. New commissons are detailed in the publication, alongside texts from Michele Horrigan, Padraic E. Moore and Brian O’Doherty.
Available to download for free here