ARMSEYE ISSUE II/WINTER 2016

Staging Concrete Plastic, curated by KollActiv containing Retained original discarded copy, thermal fax paper correspondence, S.Bligh (2015)

 

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Zoom.0002.wav.31/03/2013

 

 

190A introduction

190A pg 13 lg

190A pg 21

190A pg 24190A pg 27Excerpt from the text Zoom.002.wav.31/03/2013.doc

 

Zoom.0002.wav.31/03/2013. 3.17min. Soundscape on media player with headphones looped. 

Zoom.0002.wav.31/03/2013.doc. Transcription of walk through 190A on 31/03/2013 with William Bligh, Sinead Bligh and Ciara Scanlan.

WB’s typewriter 1980 – 1995: the tool on which AFS daily reports were written.[1]


[1] The book ‘a search for reconciliation between mental space (the space of the philosophers) and real space (the physical and social spheres in which we live).’ – Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space.  Maritsa 30 Typewriter containing media player with headphones.

 

190A Retelling. MART Dublin March 2014.

190A Retelling

‘190 A Retelling’  – Visual Art Exhibition

The MART Gallery, The Old Fire Station, 190a Rathmines Road Lower, Rathmines,Dublin 6.

MART would like to invite you to the opening reception Wednesday 5th March @ 6pm with art, stories, and beverages around the history of a building. MART has invited the local public, former residents of the building and The Dublin Fire Brigade to attend and tell a story or two about “190a”, and visit the new incarnation as a Gallery and meet the new residents, Artists.

‘The house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.”  Gaston Gachelard – The poetics of space.

MART curators Matthew Nevin & Ciara Scanlan have invited 5 artists to make site-specific works around the newly renovated 150 year old fire station in Rathimnes. Through the re-appropriation of old forgotten artefacts and found objects of the building a visual conversation tells the story of the generations of uses and lives that passed through. The building itself has morphed through many forms: a library, a home, storehouse, fire station, The Civil Defence, pigeon layer and finally The MART Gallery and Studios. The exhibition will host interactive and temporal sculptures, sound recordings and photography based on the history of the building itself and the power of place to hold memory and drive the imagination.

Artists: Sinead Bligh, Gerard Erraught, Jessica Kelly, Ciara Scanlan, Emily O’Callaghan, Jim O’Callaghan, Trish McAdam.

 

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All images © Mart and the artists. Further information and documentation can be found on the MART website

Dundee to London via Dublin

 

 

Dundee to London via Dublin is a retelling of past work after reading Derek Jarmans text Chroma, A Book of Colour – June 93. With the multiple narratives intersecting of Chroma, and a heightened awareness of colour in mind, this work was made. It ruminates on colour associations, current narratives and the past memories, which create this whole. The work brings together past video and sound work made on various journeys between Dublin and Dundee and current sound work made in London.

Christmas 2013 I was given a multi-coloured crochet blanket made by my mother, the centre of which was a rectangle of bright green knitted wool, which my grandmother was knitting at the time of her death in 2012. This unfinished piece was re-imagined by my mother into a crochet blanket. A colourful homage to my mother and grandmother.

The green wool is a wonderful gaudy granny green, flakes of sliver sparkles through it – in the knit in which Granny Bligh always knit, the tight delicate knit as recognisable to me as her hand writing.

My mother leaves a similar footprint in the wool, the earthy colour palette she uses and the looser thicker stitch of crochet – equally beautiful, and as individual as chirography, contrast dramatically to my Grandmother’s last made thing.

This illusive – sparkly green rectangle with open-ended potential, the beginning of the thought.

My grandmother was an inner-city Dubliner. She was born and bred – and then bred, in the Dorset Area of Dublin, and knitted beautiful baby cardigans in gaudy pink, blue, lemon and green. She would sell these to the women who owned the stalls on Moore Street, who would then sell the cardigans on themselves.

‘Were Adam’s eyes the green of paradise?

Did they open on the vivid green of the Garden of Eden? God’s green mantle. Was green the first colour of perception?’[1]

I made a sound work from recordings taken of Moore Street in 2012, unknowingly just before my grandmother would die. I showed it in conjunction with the video Dublin to Dundee, made from the bus journey back to Scotland after recording that work. A result of a preoccupation with movement through space and its ability to direct thought through associative memory.

The gaudy green rectangle of wool (and it’s blanket of multi colored palette) directed me back here, to this short film and sound work. To view the film again (made at the time my grandmother was knitting that wool) about a place that belonged to her.

The contrasting colour of the blanket and the riotous colour of the film directing thought.


[1] Derek Jarman, Chroma, A Book of Colour – June’ 93. Pg 63. Vintage.2000.  In this seminal work Jarman explores colour through autobiography.

 

 

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Shown here are the joined elements of sound, video and image as the film Dundee to London via Dublin. 2014. Stills of the piece will be installed at The Cafe Project, Chelsea College of Art and Design from 07.02.2014.

Showing at Chelsea Space until 15.03.2014 is contemplation on the filmmaker, artist, writer, and activist Derek Jarman. Research around this exhibition led to the making of Dundee to London via Dublin.

Almost Bliss: Notes on Derek Jarman’s Blue curated by Donald Smith

 

OUTSKIRTS OF THE REAL THING.

Friday, 14 December 2012 posted on the Cooper Gallery Blog: 

Part one Notes and thoughts in two parts from interactions with Edgar Schmitz’s Hubs and Fictions, A touring forum on Current Art and Imported remoteness, curated by Sophia Hao which traveled from the Cooper Gallery Dundee, to Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, Newcastle terminating in Goldsmiths, London.

“Sited.                                                    Orchestrated.

Experienced.                         Performed.                    Remote.

a  choreography.                      Props.                                     Stand-ins.            Cameos.”[1]

 

Throw words at a wall, and see which sticks, it seems this is often how we learn, how we build our narratives and points of view. This tool was often the prompt we were given, in English class at school, as a starting point for creative writing. It is meant to give us agency, and often gives so much, without the usual framework, the paragraph around the word gives, we are left confused, disorientated, and so go off in our own terrible and wonderful tangents as we ourselves build a narrative of understanding into something or nothing. I have been asked on many occasions during the course of facilitating for these events, what is the exhibition about? What is the point? It’s all a bit vague isn’t it? These questions I regularly found difficult to answer, so without a hard fast manifesto attached to the work, I would revert to my own narrative of connections. Drawing on my own points of interest which I read from the work; such as how we engage with art, art and reality, art and knowledge, the process of exhibition making, the processes of thoughts leading to an artwork and the numerous collaborations which this entails – collaboration that contentious word.

This idea of a semi fictional hub, as discussed during the forums, was never at the forefront of my mind while describing this event, although asserted as being the central concern – one of the few assertions. However I found this to be most interesting in the work. In Hubs and Fictions, we see the often intangibility of an artwork which sets your mind off in your own direction of interest, only to bring you around again to form new conclusions. Or not if you so choose. So I began thinking about fictional hubs, or hubs in general. What is an artistic hub? A cultural hub? About how contemporary art for good or for ill, connects those who are geographically remote, in smaller spheres of the art world with those in the massive – within global and personal scales.

Tom Morton: London based Curator & Writer. Contributing Editor of Frieze magazine works include ‘Man in the Holocene’ with Catherine Patha

Girl:“She’s pretty” Boy:“You think?”

‘Tom Morton – Cubitt Gallery ¬ Junction: North London Cultural Consortium Walks around rings cross’

‘London is now a truly international city, home to a global array of artists and curators who effortlessly draw on modes, styles, technology and influences from across continents in the creation and

“the beat of destiny yeeaaah” mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble mumble click click BANG

presentation of art.’ London in 6 easy steps.

“Do you want to buy some….I’m not from around here you know?”

“Got any spare change?”

“Want to buy a phone?”

…shifting relations that make up the city from their particular perspective’ [2] Then of course there are those sphere’s in which we inhabit, in which we dwell, those which we draw from in order to make. Our personal social structures, our environment, our lives – fictitious futures and memories. A cultural hub is a fictional thing. Something decided to be by a group of people, believe yourself to be something, convince others and then it will be so – Always subjective and liable to flux. Hubs move, evolve and change, go bust and so emigrate elsewhere. It is the infrastructure which enables a hub to develop. Intellectual and monetary – it is a nomadic thing, always interchangeable.

So is there the potential within art to imagine the sphere in which you produce as a component of a larger cultural hub, and utilise that, though you may be geographically removed from a supposed physical hub. In doing so do you create a new hub in your own sphere? Or equally does this mean within your own modes of working, where people meet and communicate, either with or without a particular physical area around them, become a Hub – a facilitator for the production of work. Is a hub a place where work is produced? This suggests the Hub as a place, and the cause of the production of work.

The term Hub is frequently used in a technical sense to describe a device that connects a computer to the internet, or a computer to another computer. Connecting the remote – therefore borrowing this definition you could suppose that remoteness is an inherent component for the function and maybe a constant re-invigoration of a supposed Hub. A hub – a device for complex remote connections.

Title note; taken from comments made by Edgar Schmitz, Hubs and Fictions Forum, Goldsmiths, London 06/12/2012.

[1] Edgar Schmitz: List of adjectives often used by Schmitz in describing Surplus Cameo Decor and Hubs and Fictions; final Hubs and Fictions Forum, Goldsmiths, London, 06/12/2012.

[2] Research notes made in preparation for the forum Hubs and Fictions, in Leyton Library London. Points of speech made by others using the library, which interrupted the writers train of thought are indicated in grey.

A former MFA student at DJCAD, Sinéad Bligh is an artist currently based in London. https://twitter.com/SineadBligh

A hub: a device for complex remote meanderings.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013 posted on the Cooper Gallery Blog

Part two

of notes and thoughts from interactions with Edgar Schmitz’s Hubs and Fictions, A touring forum on Current Art and Imported remoteness, curated by Sophia Hao which traveled from the Cooper Gallery Dundee, to Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, Newcastle terminating in Goldsmiths, London.

Guy Brett (Writer/Curator, London)             Tom Morton (Writer/Curator, London)

Vanessa Joan Müller             (Curator, Cologne)

Wang Nanming                                                         (Critic, Shanghai) [1]

At the final event of Hub’s and Fictions at Goldsmiths in London, Vanessa Joan Muller (Curator, Cologne), spoke of various projects undertaken by the European Kunsthalle, of which she is academic director. The European Kunsthalle operates as a forum for the production of art work, in which the production of work is assigned as much importance as the presentation of the art work. She spoke of the ethos of the forum and how it strives to adopt some of the positive aspects of art in public space and use them to create something which acts as a new public space. The reasoning to this ethos struck home to me. Muller reasons; ‘there is no public space in big cities anymore, it is semi-public space, it’s all commercialised space, and (through their projects) people also get an awareness of what an art institution could function like, because most art institutions are some of the few spaces where people actually meet and talk, but most art museums are transformed into something shopping mall like, with a huge shop in the front, a cafe, a book store and then somewhere in the back you find the actual exhibition space.’ [2]

This idea of conceiving an institution, or a public space, for that matter, without an allocated physical space is highly provocative. It is difficult for a cultural institution or space to exist without all the trappings that usually sustain it financially, trappings which evolve to become the makeup of the institution itself. But in disregarding this, individuals could be enabled to communicate and organise remotely and collectively thereby existing in and of this world. Perhaps you could conclude that the only actual public space remaining is this virtual one from which you are reading- albeit a somewhat ephemeral and intangible one- which incidentally brings us back to Hub’s and Fictions.

The question put but not asked:

When cultural Hubs are increasingly suspended between local situations and broader milieus of displacement in a globalised setting, what is the potential of fiction? How do we articulate the relations that play out between gallery presentations, institutional aspirations and the ways they intersect with fantasies of elsewhere? And if exhibition making is inherently a form of narrative, what kinds of fiction or realities can it stage?[3]

For Hubs and Fictions the invited contributors were given this elusive, open-ended question as a starting point in considering what area of their interests they would talk about at the event. Email invitations detailing the area of interest with which the forum was concerned were sent, but not intended to hold the speaker to a decided response. The diverse array of speakers and their differing approaches to the questions that were put in email prior to the events – but interestingly not put again in public at the actual event – relates directly back to the exhibition Surplus Cameo Decor. In that the wide range of Cameo contributors from within the spheres of art, curation, criticism and film were invited to be present and just be themselves in the space, not particularly directed in which way to act.

The speakers differing reactions to these carefully considered words, thrown at a wall, are intriguing. They knew little of the physical exhibition Surplus Cameo Decor it seems, but for those who have experienced the exhibition, their discussions relate back to it. Here the speakers have responded to this invitation and spread out in their own directions of interest. We form the connections.

The audience knows nothing of the content of the exhibition either and their reaction to the events evolves as the juxtaposed speakers proceed in their musings. The audience probes in asking ‘did Hao and Schmitz as curator and artist want people to come and respond to the questions put by Hubs and Fictions or did they want them to come and respond as themselves?’
The invited speakers have already grappled with this problem. They frequently ask Schmitz ‘Am I answering your question?’ They each developed a way to react to the illusively suggested subject matter by drawing on their own practice and experience, sometimes unsure if that was the direction Schmitz wished them to proceed. In Schmitz’s deliberate juxtaposition of terms, people and disciplines, he highlights how interchangeable these understandings are.

Similarly I know little of the cameo performances. They were closed to the pubic – separate from the exhibition openings. I like the intimacy within this, it mirrors how often private conversation informs your own work. It is a continuation of an ongoing, private art-making process, continued in the open installed exhibition, generating future thoughts. The intangibility of this is intriguing. I orbited around, but was not privy to the event. It is as when one would wish to keep some things private- a conversation between those you are dying to talk to- these conversations were kept among the few invited to collaborate with the artist and curator. As if something important was needed to be said without the risk of diversion or being overheard. Talk freely.
At this final Hub’s and Fictions event we were given a glimpse of what went on in these Cameos-documentation of an event, not the same but hints, however the outcome of this is not known. The cameo events are exposed in a slide show of photographs projected on the wall of the lecture theatre in Goldsmiths. In it we saw the artist and cameos, in discussion, fervid then laughing, playing in the space.

The audience’s reaction to this not knowing is thought-provoking. Oddly Mark Twain’s novel ‘The Adventures of HuckleberryFinn’ springs to mind, particularly the chapter during which two con men convince people that they are the Dauphin and the descendant of the King of England. They convince the assembled crowd, gathered to view a performance, of this magnificent fiction because there is no way for them to perceive fact- no readily available historical certainties to disprove the con men. In their meanderings the audience gathered at Goldsmiths, questioning as they try to piece together this complicated Hubs and Fictions evokes for me the various complications of constructed narratives as in this scene from famous fiction.

There are no con men here but artists; so what is the truth to be exposed? It seems only that we wish to expose more truths; however, what are truths but fictions on which a consensus has been decided?

[1] List of speakers for the final event, carefully chosen to provoke discourse, as one would throw words at a wall, here the words arranged to suggest a wall structure.
[2] Vanessa Joan Muller, transcriptions from Hubs and Fictions, Goldsmiths, London Dec 6th 2012.
[3] Question emailed to the invited speakers by Sophia Hao curator of Hubs and Fictions and the exhibition Surplus Cameo Decor, by the artist Edgar Schmitz, Cooper Gallery 2012.

A former MFA student at DJCAD, Sinéad Bligh is an artist currently based in London. https://twitter.com/SineadBligh

AIRING YOUR LAUNDRY ON A PUBLIC WASHING LINE.

Thursday, 3 May 2012 posted on the Cooper Gallery Blog: 

 
 
authorship, repetition, contiguity.
 
 
If Knowledge emerges from practice, and practice emerges from knowledge, (situations, reading, writing, discussion, viewing others artwork- in short interaction) who do we credit in the work? Is it possible to credit all those things which have influenced our view when this emerges both consciously and unconsciously. To document an event is a strange thing. Here I refer to documenting in a literal sense, to taking photographs of a happening or to transcribe conversations, as was my experience recently. Even within transcription the way in which you choose to transcribe, the layout of the words on the page, even though you are re writing what has been directly spoken, has a degree of subjectivity. In photographs we see this even more so as the photograph suggests a viewer and a particular standpoint.

The nature of this sort of open ended collaboration in which we are participating in, allowing for personal exploration into different directions creates a different dynamic if we consider that each of the individual agents of the collaboration has a different direction in which they wish to proceed. In this way a single photograph of documentation of an action initiated together could be seen to mean different things to each of the collaborators. So in that way, all of us and none of us, own it.

This is demonstrated within the cooper gallery blog which you are reading right now. Joe, Rowan and I have been sharing our experience of An Event in a Public manor and in it you can see the differing angles of interest as if you were privy to the discussions which we had in Talbot Square and the Hockney gallery. The repetition in

phone buzz 1
discussing the same events, often blogged at the same time or around the same time illustrates this. The same action viewed by different individuals leading to different points of discussion and different output from that interaction.  The staccato of a blog enables a dipping in and out from the differing blogs, allows the viewer/user to create their own narrative to the events as very few blog users will read the blogs chronologically more often dipping into one, scrolling to another, the contiguity of how they read and interpret will be determined in part by the order in which each individual will read, and perhaps comment on. Adding to this the bogger is also reading what other participants have blogged and in this way the conversation continues. It is an interaction among the original participants and the user/viewer.
there is a zebra print towel drying on a washing line outside, it is flapping in the wind, catching my eye. It is suspended from a washing line coming from a first  floor window from a flat 2 doors up, to a pole in the garden. Right at my eye level.
It’s a good day for drying washing. A woman has just come out to hang out her clothes the next garden up. She hangs them on the line she shares with the rest of the inhabitants of her building. Steam rises from the clothes, they must have just come out of the washing machine. She looks around; I wonder, subconsciously does she feel she is being observed by all the surrounding windows. .2
Recording sounds of an action has a similarly interesting contiguity of instances. I make sound recordings, some sound may interests me, this sets my thoughts running, and so I endeavor to capture that moment. I am constantly trying to collaborate with my surroundings, and to archive my thought. But within the context of An Event the recordings were generally not of actions which I was singularly making which I set to capture. It is the space and/or the agents within that space that sets me thinking and recording, and within my own practice I generally have a predesigned (even if it is reactionary) reason for doing this. However if my actions are in direct reaction to another artist’s work, is there co-authorship there, does it belong to the agents or to me as I am moulding their representation from my own subjective standpoint?
John Dummett, on the Thursday of the events was in conversation with the other writers of An Event and the artists of A Cut A Scratch A Score, David Barnett and Sam Belinfante  in the Hockney Gallery  and he questions whether critical writing has the role of performing as a ‘textural afterlife of an experienced event’. 3 In this there is a crediting of the writers own output, their own work, as a thing in its self and the context in which it was running. It is neither and both a document of A Cut A Scratch A Score. It is not running from but running parallel dipping in and out, feeding from each other, progressing in different directions. It does in fact keep the actions of the original event alive after they have run their course, but they will be alive within the writers own view, authorship to the writer. In their further discussions at this time, David Barnett and Sam Belinfante alluded to a further manifestation of A Cut utilising the documentation of the week-long event. This is not a repetition of the happenings, but the restaging of the different elements. They observed will be a different beast entirely, yet it will still belong to the previous set of event to some extent because it is acted out by the initial collaborators. There was a sense of continuity in the way they were describing how new manifestations of the previous event will be formed. Pieces of this and thoughts and discussions from that, are forming into a whole new joint manifestation, or a few manifestations it seems. It seems there is no need for singularity in authorship when the agents are moving towards the same aim.
repeat cycle
This contiguity of forming a work refers me back to thoughts concerning writing in situ.  As the audience/reader is privy to the act of making and in so doing inserts their influence on the space in which the writing is done, then are they therefore entitled to a degree of authorship? If a writer is drawing from the high pressured environment of a site writing event they will encompass all the influencing factors that space and conditions will impose. You often see books credited to an author’s partner or friend in reference to the supportive presence, or conditions they created in which the writing was done. Maybe in a more humanist approach we should start crediting humanity and society as a whole in our introductions. I go too far.
The question of documentation and the viewer’s presence is intertwined within the practice of performance art. Here the public are often directly effecting the action or the inaction of the artist. If the documentation (another view) of the performance is not made the art work would still exist, similarly it would exist without the audience, however the action is still performed to another viewer,( the camera, the documenter). Omitting even this,  it is still performed to the self, the view of the self, the viewer always important. However even if documentation of performance is made by the artist themselves from their predesigned view the documentation of the event is never the same as the live action. It is impossible to capture innumerable signifiers within that space which made that performance particular. It can never be repeated and never completely documented.

We brought 9 Talbot square into the Hockney gallery. A re-staging of an idea of a place to form thoughts.  A thinking square. It became a totally different thinking space within the Hockney gallery. Here it felt like an empty volume waiting to be filled. In 9 Talbot Square the volume was filled with its surroundings and it was easy to pick a point, a sound, or our discussions to fill the space. It was intended to act in this way within the white space but it evolved into a representational volume, (aesthetically interesting one would hope) not a talking space, instead it seemed to function within a context for the whole. Developing its new context within the gallery alongside the writers work for An Event and the TV monitors playing scene’s from A Cut A Scratch A Score.

I found the remnants of the materials used to form the volume intriguing.  After the installation had been taken down, these materials used to represent the volume, that came from tape and string, quantifying  a volume and line in space, turned back to tape and string, and in that action they became documents. In this useless form they suggest the possibility of another use. Re-staging and documenting. This is yet to be defined; a new context in which to be placed, and a new body of knowledge to be gained from that, and this manifestation shall credit its influence’s as they have been already been well documented. That’s the thing with knowledge, at least within an academic sense, the source must always be credited.

1. Interruptions to the writers train of though whilst writing in her in flat.
2.
IMG_7191
IMG_7194
3.Referenced from transcriptions of A live ‘interview unlike any other’ with the acclaimed artist Bruce McLean featuring two of his films. An Action of words: Writers in residency, John Dummett, Ajay Hothi and Christina Manning Lebek,29/03/2012 Royal College of Art, London. Lecture theatre.. Transcriptions by Sinead Bligh. 2012.      

4.Source Sound.Sinead Bligh 2012. Please click on the link to hear the sound file. This sound suggesting the writers environment and the spatial context in which the writing was done, a washing machine also being cyclical and repetitive. Here the writer was also prompted to put on her washing by the influence of others doing so.