performingborders focus on Ireland is the result of the Fire Station Artists Studios (FSAS) International Curator Residency I undertook from 30 April to 9 May 2017 in Dublin. During the residency I have been discussing live art, borders and contemporary Europe with ten artists and art professionals in both Dublin and Belfast. The sound-interviews will be released in three parts in June, July and August 2017.
Many thanks to all the interviewees for their insightful perspectives, to Helena Walsh for her guidance, and to the wonderful staff at FSAS for their support!
This month we start with artists Áine Phillips and Moran Been-noon, and VAI (Visual Artists Ireland) Chief Executive Director, Noel Kelly.
Coming interviews: Suzanne Walsh, Katherine Nolan, Elvira Santamaría-Torres, Brian Patterson, Amanda Coogan, Dominic Thorpe, Níamh Murphy.
ÁINE PHILLIPS, 30 April 2017, Dublin
Alessandra Cianetti: Áine, thank you for joining me at the Fire Stations Artists’ Studios. I would like to start from your personal multilayered practice that in my reading, over the years has been addressing notions related to feminism, love, loss, vulnerability, memory and accumulation. Would you mind to tell me a bit more about your work and your coming projects?
AC: In your seminal book ‘Performance Art in Ireland: A History’ you gather together a series of really insightful perspectives to create the ‘first devoted’ publication ‘to the history and contemporary forms of Irish performance art in the north and south of Ireland’. Within the history that you trace, what do you think are the distinctive strategies and methodologies of the Irish live and performance art scene and what is their legacy now, especially for younger artists but also for artists who are experiencing new types of borders?
AC: My arrival in Ireland seems to be quite timely in the political sense. Just yesterday (29th April 2017) the EU leaders met and listed the relation between the South and North of Ireland as part of their main three requests in the negotiations with the UK government over Brexit. In your book’s introduction, you describe the evolution of Irish performance art starting from the ‘70s. Did the experiences of that decade and the following ones impact on the work artists are doing now? How do you think the live and performance art scene in Ireland is responding or will respond to the current European situation being at the very focus of the battle between the UK and EU?
Áine Phillips is a performance artist who has been making a show of herself since the late 80’s in Ireland and internationally, creating work for public art commissions, the street, theatres, galleries and museums including City of Women Festival Ljubljana, Kyoto Art Centre Japan, Tate Britain, Mobius Boston USA and Project Dublin. She has curated live art and performance events such as Tulca Live and Future Histories Kilmainham Gaol part of The Ireland 2016 Arts Council programme. She is Head of Sculpture at Burren College of Art and recently published Performance Art in Ireland: A History (LADA/Intellect Books).
MORAN BEEN-NOON, 1 May 2017, Dublin
Alessandra Cianetti: Moran, with you we are exploring a practice that is multi-disciplinary and not necessarily live -art focus. I was interested in your work approach to politics and public’s engagement. In your artist’s statement you says that your work ‘critiques the political aspect of everyday life’. Can you tell us more about your practice as an artist?
AC: Being someone that comes from Israel, passing by New York to eventually land and live in Dublin but also working at Platform Arts in Belfast, I wonder how the notions of ‘acculturation’ and ‘found places’ you mentioned in our previous conversation can be applied to your work
AC: Coming now to what is happening within Europe, the negotiations with the UK over the Brexit deal for example but also the global rise of right wing rhetoric, parties and propaganda, I wonder how being you a political artist coming from a politically charged place that lives in a politically charged country, thinks this will impact both your own practice and the arts scenes you work in.
Based in Dublin, Ireland, Moran Been-noon‘s work critiques political aspects of everyday life through examining physical actions such as walking, talking, and touching, with a current focus on processes and psychology of acculturation. Her projects are not medium-specific and she works in any means that best serve the concept. Been-noon earned her MFA degree in Computer Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York City and her PhD at NCAD in Dublin. During her PhD studies, she developed a consistent curatorial practice and curated several exhibitions and art events. As a curator Been-noon is interested in exploring the possibilities in political art practice and particularly questions of the spaces and places art practice occupies. Been-noon is currently a co-director of Platform Arts in Belfast, and working as an independent curator, writer, and artist.
NOEL KELLY, 2 May 2017, Dublin
Alessandra Cianetti: Noel, you are the Chief Executive Director at VAI (Visual Artists Ireland) and member of the board of the Brussels-based Culture Action Europe, among many other roles you undertook in order to support visual artists in the country. In your experience, since the 2008 crisis how are Irish artists responding to the increase in difficulties they encounter in supporting their practices? How do you think the Brexit negotiation between EU and the UK will impact on them?
AC: performingborders research-blog investigates experimental practices with a focus on live and performance art. I’m sure you are aware of Áine Philips’ 2015 seminal book ‘Performance Art in Ireland: A History’ that became a reference to curators and practitioners outside Ireland and also seeing the attention live art is receiving by big institutions in the UK for example (I’m thinking here at the Tate’s Switch House), I was wondering what do you think is the role of performance and live art in Ireland today?
Noel Kelly is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the ecouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce, President of AICA Ireland, a board member of IVARO (The Irish Visual Artists Rights Organisation), and a Member of the Royal Society for Aesthetics. His role is the strategic direction and day to day management of Visual Artists Ireland. Key highlights since joining VAI include the creation of Get Together the national day for Visual Artists; The Social, Economic, and Fiscal Status of the Visual Artist in Ireland Survey (Ireland and Northern Ireland); The Payment Guidelines for Visual Artists (Ireland and Northern Ireland); Show & Tell; The Common Room gatherings for artists in the local area; Speed Curating; Critical Writing for Visual Artists, and commissioning the Best Practice Guidelines for Internships. “It is impossible to take sole credit for these as the effort of every person working in VAI makes them happen.”
Featured image credits: Áine Phillips