AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP
Sculpture and the Everyday – Casting & the Street Workshop
February 8th – March 11th
Targeting Thomas Street
Thomas Street contains a variety of objects that are both visible and invisible and by turns functional, decorative or symbolic. The everyday nature of their appearance blinds us to their presence. Street furniture, signage, man hole covers, bins, bus stops, trees, people, animals, garbage, washing powder, toilet paper, stalls, public art etc. create a maze through which we travel, complicating the street and further highlighting the different needs and desires of the street.
The street also provides a stage for public display and offers a location to mark the people and histories of that location. Students were asked what or who gets to exist on the street and why? Who or what events are memorialised and why? How is history part of the everyday of the street? How does the infinite reproductibility of objects impact and infiltrate our experience of the street? How are these things distributed? How do objects serve as the catalyst of engagement or interaction with others on the street?
In response to this provocation the students developed working methods using casting and mouldmaking that engaged or responded to Thomas Street. These ranged from physical and performative interventions on the street to exchanges and interactions with the inhabitants of the street.
Leading on from and informed by the In Public in Particular professional practice module focusing on Contextual Research Methodologies the Sculpture and the Everyday – Casting & the Street Workshop considered how casting and mouldmaking could be used to create an artwork in/for the context of Thomas Street and environs.
The project asked students to consider what happens when you place a sculptural object into the public sphere? How is it read? How does it change the environment and how does the environment change it? How can it effect or generate particular patterns of behaviour with the users of the street.
Sculpture student Kevin O’Kelly sculpted a bust of Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny and cast it in wet toilet tissue paper bought on Thomas Street from street hawkers. 40 rolls of toilet paper purchased for 10 Euro went into the cast head. The head dried out and fixed over the course of the 2016 Irish elections which took 6 weeks of wrangling between Irish political parties and independents before Enda Kenny re-secured his position as Irish Taoiseach. Kevin was interested in processes of non monetary exchange or barter for this head and drew attention from national media as he used online advertisements to initiate a dialogue around exchange and value in contemporary Irish society.
Sculpture student Anna McCarthy created a psychogeographical investigation around a pair of pristine shoes she found in Swan Alley, a small dark alley feeding off Thomas Street which hosts less than savoury public/private behaviours. A scripted film work accompanied a degenerative succession of wax casts of the shoes, speculating about their history, use, owner and circumstances of them being neatly abandoned in the Alley.
Kevin O’Kelly’s video apparatus is a device for exploring the mechanisms of film production in an ad hoc and very public way. Capturing a manual rotation of street scapes the device’s presence (it’s ‘objective’ lens) was constantly betrayed by inquisitive, curious, and sometimes confrontational passers-by.
Sculpture student Rebecca Fagan engaged in a detailed dialogue with the owner of a charity shop, Blingalicious, on Thomas Street. Blingalicious was set to close and relocate from Thomas Street after many years of trade and business. Rebecca’s intervention saw her slipcast a teapot from the shop and create cast multiples of it which were then presented on a shelf as not being for sale. Invariably several teapots were sold by mistake or disappeared over the course of the project. This work is part of a continuum of work developed by Rebecca exploring social norms and rituals and attendant awkwardness. When something is exhibited as not for sale does it somehow accrue more value?
Anna McCarthy continued her use of publicly performed and scripted text first undertaken while on exchange on Dambruggestraat on the white washed windows of a Dublin City Council building facing council flats built under another regimen of urban development in the 1950’s. Anna’s text implicitly addressed the historic levels of homelessness in the city, the current housing crisis and the rebirth of private market led construction after almost eight years of recession and fall out from the last building ‘boom’.