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ISSN 2009-2288

ISSUE 4/2010


SuperMassiveBlackHole

is

dedicated

to

the

photographic

imagery resulting from the time-based processes found in many interdisciplinary art practices today. The magazine seeks to engage and represent respective projects and ideas which utilise Photography (digital or analogue), New Media (high or low tech), Performance and Sculpture (through documentation). Fine Artists are encouraged to engage with the magazine as a way of exhibiting,

testing,

developing

and

experimenting

with

new

(or

old)

ideas whether it is through a single image or a structured project.

Time, Space, Light and Gravity are what drive SuperMassiveBlackHole Submit SuperMassiveBlackHole

is

a

free

online

magazine,

and

is

published three times annually. SuperMassiveBlackHole accepts almost

Theme: Politics & Public Space

Miriam O’Connor - Vote No. 1 Florian Reishauer - Public Viewing Olivia Da Silva - Present at Ceremony Deirdre Brennan - Ulysses Map of Dublin Nancy Mauro-Flude - I See You Soliman Lawrence - The Berlin Wall Brad Feuerhelm - Bunkers Jean-Marc Caracci - Homo Urbanus Europeanus Andrew Langford - Winter Growing Fields Tim Banks - Tserovani Houses Idan Shilon - Supercharge Andrew Clarke - Five Miles Too Short Marko Susla - Heater House Part-Time Suite - Off-Off-Stage Dan Shipsides - Selected Works Mark Clare - Selected Works Sean Hillen - Searching for Evidence at Fr. McDyers Folk Village Xtine Burrough - Mechanical Olympics

anything involved with the photographic process, from straight

Focus:

photography to video, performance documentation or written treatments.

Dara McGrath - Beijing Billboards

All submissions should be sent via Email. Please check the submission guidelines at:

www.supermassiveblackholemag.com smbhmag@gmail.com Cover: Bright Shadow, 2009 by Projector Collective & Via Artists Group

Talk:

Darren Campion - Making Time: David Farrell in Conversation

Project:

Julian Stallabrass - Further Up in the Air: Shadow Brendan Earley - Sculpture in a Field Projector Collective & Via Artists Group - Bright Shadow Christine Mackey - Aggressive Localism Emily Kocken - The Breadman Project


Politics & Public Space

can imply territorial dispute - organised socio-political violence in the form of wars or terrorism against a State or community (as in Germany, Northern Ireland or Israel). It can also imply organised activism in the form of peaceful public protest or canvassing for votes - something we all experience in any healthy Democracy and indeed something which helps deďŹ ne such a Democracy. Then there is the anthropological aspect which involves Urban Planning (even Public Art Projects), the understanding and possible manipulation of our position within a designated location. For this Issue we wanted to strike a balance between these aspects but we also wanted the selected works to represent a line of questioning about the involvement of the Individual, the State and Society respectively. Some works express this by representing the tangibly visible, while others use artistic concepts, metaphors and conceits to explore our social spaces (whether real or virtual) according to various political inuences such as economics, geography, the legal system, bureaucracy and social hierarchy.


Miriam O’Connor (Ireland)

Vote No. 1 Photographs 2009

This work was created in response to the barrage of political campaign posters that characterized the run up to the local and European elections held throughout Ireland, on June 5th, 2009. Rural and urban landscapes were transformed into a mirage of curious portraits, skillful catchphrases and promises-promises. The relentless mantra of ‘Vote, No 1’ acted primarily as the only common message across all party political divides. Despite a conscious effort to evade this political fanfare, it was impossible to side step the limitless interruptions when negotiating daily routes throughout the city. This work illustrates the omnipresence of such imagery in direct sense, but equally, seeks to deliberately challenge the orientation of the placards. When considered in this fashion, their function becomes destabilized on one level, and from a broader perspective, questions the faith traditionally invested in the portrait as marker of truth.

www.miriamoconnor.com


Miriam O’Connor

(Before) Untitled; (Here) Untitled; Untitled


Florian Reischauer (b. 1985, Austria. Lives Germany)

Public Viewing

Digi-print on eyeleted truck canvas, 3.3m x 4m 2008 At three different locations a bare house wall was decorated by an oversized Polaroid printed on truck tarp showing portraits of three young people. For two months these six saucer eyes had an eye on the street life of the city of Berlin. They gazed, stared and spied at everyone and everything passing by, or they simply ignored it. The pictures leave a lot open and give ample scope for one’s own imagination and interpretation. They are, in a way, a method of communication with the inhabitants and observers. Questions should occur in an anonymous urbanity. It is an exhibition which is accessible for everyone, which strikes people on their way to work or just while strolling around. Between all these mega billboards, which try to sell happiness through consumerism, maybe Manuel or Kati make one pause for a while and let you think about real matters. www.owkey.net


Florian Reischauer

(Before) Andi; (Here) Kati; Manuel


Olívia Da Silva (Portugal)

Present at Ceremony Photographs 2008

There is a clear distance between the hospital workers who have their portrait taken and the gilded painted portrait of the Portuguese monarch, Joao VI, that fills the backdrop. Paintings of royalty often idealise, but here the painting, despite the pomp and ceremony, is rather unflattering and awkward. For all the ceremonious regal dress and display, the painter still shows us the rather unpleasant fleshy physical presence of the King. And perhaps one might sense a degree of admiration on the part of the photographer towards the painter for the nature of his depiction of the monarch. Olivia Da Silva is reclaiming this painting for photography. Placing her subjects before such a painting, Olivia Da Silva also positions her own art of portraiture against this historical painter of royalty. Da Silva works within a humanist tradition, her photography is attentive to her subjects as people, is close and intimate, not cold. Portraiture becomes a way of paying respects to the whole range of people who work in the hospital, from cleaners and cooks to doctors. In her photography her subjects possess a presence and vivacity that undermines and challenges the fusty patriarchal figure behind them. Her subjects come before the painting in more senses than one.

www.dai.esmae.ipp.pt


Olivia Da Silva

(Before) Untitled; (Here) Untitled; Untitled


Deirdre Brennan (Ireland)

Ulysses Map of Dublin Photographs Ongoing

Deirdre is currently following Leopold Bloom’s footsteps, utilizing the Ulysses map of Dublin and the structure of James Joyce’s novel as a vehicle to look at race, class and politics in the modern capital.

www.deirdrebrennan.com


Deirdre Brennan

(Before) Wandering Rocks; (Here) Wandering Rocks; Scylla and Charybdis


Nancy Mauro-Flude (b. 1975, Tasmania, Australia)

I See You Video Stills 2003

The 2.4GhZ frequency is the tiny fraction of the radio spectrum that has been allocated for public use; as if the ether were not already public. Ironically what is shown in some of the stills is what we encountered in these ‘so called’ public spaces. This was a part of a research into‘networked spaces’ a speculative three day collaboration and conversation with Michelle Teran in 2003. With a 2.4GhZ video receiver we walked around the city of Hobart finding media portholes. The notion of watching & recording the CCTV cameras that were watching us, in the hacker world is well known as ‘Video Sniffing’, the practice of picking up signals broadcast by wireless CCTV networks using a cheap video receiver. What do the cameras see? Is the data simply recorded via an automated process and stored? Is there an alert system? ‒ i.e. after an amount of motion does it trigger someone to take more notice? How is this information interpreted? Is security an illusion? To answer some of these questions, in this particular work I See You, you see video-stills of a 12 hour ‘ritual’, a walk that consisted of crossing through the CCTV security camera operating on Public frequency on the hour every hour for 12 hours...

http://sistero.sysx.org http://moddr.net/ http://sistero.org/mdhhh/


Nancy Mauro-Flude


Soliman Lawrence (b. 1980, USA. Lives Germany)

The Berlin Wall Photograph 2010

The Berlin Wall isn’t really very scary these days and it is often indistinguishable from other pieces of cement scattering in empty lots. I came across a piece of it in front of an Italian restaurant near a call-center I worked in and another in front of an office building where I taught English to managers. In the last three years the Wall has undergone dramatic changes. Buildings have sprung up around it, scaffolding erected, pressure washers let loose on the graffiti and loose cement, and fresh paint reapplied. This year is the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and nearly everything seems to be Berlin Wall-themed: replicas of the Wall advertise the Philharmonic’s November 9th memorial concert; local theaters’ dramatization of the Wall; souvenir shops bulging with postcards, pieces of the Wall, and t-shirts. And it seemed that the more this happened the more the object seemed to change. The power of the Berlin Wall is of course in its symbolism and no longer in its inert presence. The inanimate object was being embedded with stories, symbols and associations.

www.solimanlawrence.com


Brad Feuerhelm (b. USA. Lives UK)

Bunker

From the series Bunkers Photograph Ongoing This series is an ongoing project dealing with the concrete World War II bunkers that are eroding into the sea. Hitler had this line of defence built in the 1940’s mostly on the French and Norwegian Coasts to prevent an Allied attack. The purpose of the current project is to re-examine our notions of these heavy monstrosities as they are swept into the sea. The inversion of positive to negative is made so as to highlight the inverse meanings which these structures now take on from what they represented in the 40’s.

www.ordinary-light.com


Jean-Marc Caracci (France)

Homo Urbanus Europeanus Photographs Ongoing

I started the Homo Urbanus Europeanus project in June 2007, in Bratislava. At this time, I still didn’t know exactly the style I wanted to give to my images. I just knew that I wanted to work with Man in the Urban Environment. Step by step, capital after capital, the form of the project became more and more distinct: lonly characters isolated in their natural habitat. It was both interesting and pleasant to photograph people like that, totaly isolated out of the urban crowd. I considered them like characters of cinema who didn’t know they were playing a role, directed into their natural set without their knowledge. On a philosophical level, the project clearly takes a political aspect. I love the idea of gathering all European countries through photography...whether they already belong to European Union or not. This idea was not really in my mind when I started to work on the project, but I quickly realized how much we are similar. So, excluding from my work (as much as possible) national and cultural specifics, the images of the project, whether made in Vienna, Warsaw or Belgrade, are simply characterized by their ‘Europeanity’. It is difficult to recognize a country or a city in these photographs (except by the inhabitants themselves), but everybody is able to recognize Europe from them...or at least the West. After Bratislava, and for two year, I photographed Riga, Vilnius, Sofia, Madrid, Warsaw, Rome, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Belgrade, Helsinki, Tallinn, Reykjavik, Paris, Brussels, Oslo, Stockholm, Prague, Berlin, Istanbul, Lisbon, Bucharest, Tirana, Budapest and Vienna.

http://jean.marc.caracci.free.fr/


Jean-Marc Caracci

(Before) Berlin, 2008; (Here) Oslo, 2008; Paris, 2008


Andrew Langford (b. 1955, United Kingdom)

Winter Growing Fields Photograph 2009

My work interrogates the heterogeneous complexity of unplanned physical interactions between areas of commerce, industry, tourism and natural parklands of a range of exceptional geographical spaces in Southern Spain. From a commercial perspective the semi-desert land of the region is seen as surface - also light, water and heat - on which to form efficient and profitable greenhouses (currently 25kHa) for controlled, rapid monoculture production. Contradictorily in the same region landscape is also idealistically conceived as a self-determined natural environment minimally managed and inhabited to remain and evolve as natural habitat, as leisure environment and as setting for understanding past cultures. The work explores how that open semi-desert landscape might be experienced and understood, how experience is altered by the imposition of the vast labyrinth of standardized greenhouses and how less explicit man-nature interactions introduce subtle questions. The work references the socio-economic model of the ‘placeless’ and has resonance with the hypothesis of ‘Non-Space’ (Augé, 1995) summarised as homogenised super-modern environments fabricated at the expense of anthropological emplacement and evolved sense of place. The images direct attention to the complex array of interconnections between open landscape vistas, the processes of land reconstruction and the decay of unsustainable and therefore abandoned structures. Initially, local maps, Google Earth technology and aerial views over twenty years of visiting the area gave me purchase on the topography and the complexity of its geographical make-up. Research provided information on the economics and politics of the region with growers, eco-tourists, property developers and environmentalists jostling for influence. www.andrewlangford.co.uk


Tim Banks (United Kingdom)

Tserovani Houses

From the series Made in Georgia Photographs 2010

It is difficult to be certain about anything except what you have seen with your own eyes. George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia, 1938

Made in Georgia is my visual exploration of spaces that betray atmosphere and social identity, in a country that is diverse, alien and has a strongly conflicted beauty. I made these images to become spaces for projection and reflection, rather than captured memories from a place that I cannot profess to truly understand.

www.timbanksphotography.co.uk


Idan Shilon

(b. 1976, Israel. Lives The Netherlands)

Supercharge Photographs 2009

Photographed in Israel during spring of 2009 all concerning the mechanisms of civil defense war sirens. Such mechanisms are constructed and laid out upon a diverse range of urban settings, as public gardens, city parks, and public school back yards. The core of this mechanism is set in an underground bunker and may be inhabited by military personnel if needed. A round capsule may be opened, serving as a gateway, enabling one to go under. The rest of this structure lies above ground, covered in different types of bushes and plants - some natural, some planned. Supercharge is the technical term which refers to an electro mechanical type of civil defense siren. This type is perhaps the most recognizable of all warning sirens, due to its unique shape and design. The first archetypes of supercharged technology sirens were constructed during the 1920’s by German firm Pintch-Bambag, and later by the German firm Höranmm. As an artist photographer I choose to express my intrigues through the study of environmental settings; all carefully chosen, and which lay out narratives focusing on the tension, borders or hidden boundaries between the Private and Public. Spaces of undefined nature or category, limbo, or non-places one may say. I am constantly in search of configuring the diverse forms of power, strategy and iconography, reflecting upon the fantastic and mythological, which operate in or shape one’s state of mind, perception and beliefs dependant on ones immediate surroundings.

www.gerritrietveldacademie.nl


Idan Shilon

(Before) Supercharge 1; (Here) Supercharge 2; Supercharge 3


Andrew Clarke

(b. Northern Ireland. Lives United Kingdom)

Five Miles Too Short Photograph Ongoing

The Carlise Northern Development Route is a planned section of dual carriageway connecting the M6 Junction 44 at the north of the city to Wigton Road in the west. This road has been in the planning stages for nearly thirty years with construction beginning roughly a year ago. But due to many unforeseen circumstances i.e. the recession, archaeological sites of interest etc. the progress of this project appears to have come to a standstill with only the marks left in the landscape, posing questions about the human relationship with it.

www.athorizon.blogspot.com


Marko Susla (b. 1959, United States)

Heater House

From the series Forgotten in Time Photograph Ongoing In the mid 1950’s a project was proposed to dam the Delaware River at Tocks Island, five miles north of the Delaware Water Gap, by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. Starting in 1966 the Federal Government began the process of acquiring a forty mile long stretch of land on both sides of the Delaware using the powers of eminent domain and condemnation. The residents fought, but were evicted, some by shot-gun toting marshals and harsh police tactics. For many reasons, the project came to a slow stop and was finally de-authorized by Congress and scrapped in July 1992. This land is now preserved as the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, preserving the natural beauty of a large area of open space. Many of the surviving former residents are still rightfully very bitter. Although, some have come forward and are grateful, despite the heavy sacrifice, that this beautiful land is preserved. ‘We really don’t need the development, the next Lake Tahoe here, with resorts and tract housing.’ The few remaining structures scattered throughout the woods and fields, in beautiful decay, bear silent witness. www.photoshelter.com thirdeyeglass@yahoo.com


Part-Time Suite (Founded 2009, South Korea)

Off-Off-Stage

Documented site-specific intervention 2009 An unoccupied ground is a space where nothing is being done. Such unused space causes delays in the city that insists everything must prove its own utility. And we just pass by it without paying attention. Such land, however, makes a secret, sometimes dangerous space when night falls. It appears at once open then scary. Crossing the invisible border into it, with its unoccupied state combined, alerts your sensitivity sharply. Part-time Suite’s second project Off-Off-Stage, is held on an unoccupied plot right in the heart of Seoul. Despite its small size, it has multiple proprietors and no certain development plan. Beyond a wall lies another vacant lot, which is now privatelyowned. Here, we draw a hanging screen temporarily only at night, turning the space into a stage that reminds us of other unoccupied plots scattered in the City. Guests, isolated from external sounds, will become impromptu performers, sauntering around the plot without a purpose. They will cast light on the silent plot, recalling how a place of no use exists. They will also find the other vacant lot, beyond the wall, which virtually remains unused but has lost ‘unoccupiedness’, when it has been taken and included in a private property. Part-Time Suite are artists Miyeon Lee, Byungjae Lee and Jaeyoung Park, and have been sponsored by Art Council Korea.

www.parttimesuite.org


Part-Time Suite

(Before) Off-Off-Stage (A view of the exhibition); (Here) Off-Off-Stage (Stair); Off-Off-Stage (Trigonal pyramids)


Dan Shipsides

(b. 1972, UK. Lives Northern Ireland)

Selected Works

Documented site-specific interventions 2004 - 2008 Sorry During 2004 Belfast City Council demanded that the cultural newspaper The Vacuum apologised to ‘the citizens of the City’ and ‘Members of the Council’ for ‘any offence which may have been caused by previous publications’. It was in response to the paired issues of the publication entitled God and Satan. The demand for an apology was backed by an illegal threat to withdraw pledged funding. The Council could not identify what in the two issues had caused offence nor could they produce evidence of the complaints. It was a blatant attempt to stifle freedom of expression by the conservative religious right who make up the majority of city councilors. In response The Vacuum organised an ironic day of ‘apology’ which included a protest march through the city of supporters carrying ‘sorry’ placards and banners. I made an intervention on top of Cave Hill. The hills around Belfast have a history of Republican and Loyalist ‘pronouncements’ e.g. protests to free political prisoners or statements in relation to the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement (YES/NO). The Sun, a tabloid newspaper covered the ‘sorry day’ with typically misleading but humorous reporting.

Let’s get high A construction hoarding in Belfast where they are building the Obel to be Belfast’s tallest building - offices and investment apartments. Their advertising slogan refers to the morality of elevation - which is ironic in relation to the now sink estate high rise projects of the 60’s and the social and drug problems from which they suffer. The graffiti makes this link in a pertinent way. Alternative Ulster At the same site as above but a few months later, the graffiti is a lyric from Stiff Little Fingers’ song entitled Alternative Ulster.

www.danshipsides.com


(Before) Sorry, 2004; (Here) Lets Get High, 2007; Alternative Ulster, 2008

Dan Shipsides


Mark Clare (b. 1968, UK. Lives Ireland)

Selected Works Documented sculpture 2008 - 2010

These works are the latest Sculpture in a body of work that is drawn to the emblematic potential of an object, from architectural structures and sporting trends to everyday household objects. I am interested in the things we accept as symbols of how we live and the times that we live in. Mixing elements of historical tradition and social trends, such as the world enthusiasm for ping-pong in the 1970’s, monumental public sculpture in former communist states, and the contemporary prevalence of surveillance of public space through CCTV. The connotations of a material used, the placement of an object within an environment and the historical association an object may portray are all areas of interest. The work endeavours to register a world that is in constant ux. Processes used incorporate symbolisms relating to historical representations in both social and artistic associations. Metaphors are created in an attempt to deďŹ ne the diversity that is the human condition without being didactic in its manifestation. Often the work revolves around themes like globalisation, the power of the media and the economy; they analyse the socio-urban mechanisms of the formation of cultural identity and self-empowerment, explore structural political conditions, and shed light on power relations through a working process that leaves time and space for inventiveness, experimentation and play, lead by the requirements of each piece.

www.markclare.com


Mark Clare

(Before) Remote Control, 2010; (Here) Splendid Isolation, 2008; Ping Pong Diplomacy, 2008


Seán Hillen (Ireland)

Searching for Evidence at Fr. McDyers Folk Village Photomontage 2010

victoriajdean@yahoo.co.uk

Firstly, I am as usual, ‘following my nose’, and doing as Joyce suggested; ‘wipe your glosses with what-you-know’. My early work had concerned itself with the contradictions, the black comedies, and the myths related to the Northern Conflict, and the notion of ‘Reality Tunnels’ ‒ the idea that we are all severely limited in our apprehension of the world by the web of language and ideas we have acquired and which forms our ‘Reality Tunnel’ ‒ and that our job, to become more human, may be to look outside of the cave and beyond the flickering shadows. This work was fuelled by the fact that I’d met at a London exhibition in 1999 a lovely young woman called Miriam Hyman, a picture researcher, whom I stayed in touch with and who was blown up in the 2005 London bombings. Finally, and despite everything it seems to me that my job is to make things that are beautiful and which also, though it may be paradoxical, speak to their age and its peculiarities, in the hope that something universal and worthwhile lies there.

www.seanhillen.com


Xtine Burrough (United States)

Mechanical Olympics Video stills Ongoing

While the Olympic Games are a public event, televised on major network stations, and reviewed by mainstream news and social media outlets, the Mechanical Olympics are an alternative performance and gaming event for a non-hierarchical public. The Mechanical Olympics are an online, crowdsourced version of the Olympic Games, where, unlike the Olympic Games, anyone can perform an Olympic event and everyone votes for gold medal winners. During the weeks of the Olympic Games, MechanicalOlympics.org hosts daily polls where viewers vote on YouTube videos of Olympic event performances made by Turkers from Amazon.com’s elastic workforce on Mturk.com. The project started in the summer of 2008. The second edition occurred during the 2010 Games. In 2009, the Mechanical Olympics was an official honoree of the 13th Annual Webby Awards, next to I Can Has Cheezburger and the Sundance Channel’s Green Porno. Performers create amateur videos, and like Olympian gold medalists, winners receive a bonus payment through the Mechanical Turk website once the games have ended. The Mechanical Olympics are even more ‘public’ than the Olympic Games as there is no price for admission and no cost for travel. Performers are paid to make their videos and judging is open to all.

www.mechanicalolympics.org www.missconceptions.net


Dara McGrath

is an MA graduate in Visual Arts Practice (Art-making) from I.A.D.T. and has won numerous awards including the Arts Council of Ireland New Work Award and the AIB Arts Prize. Recent exhibitions include The Market Estate Project, London 2010; What Lies Beneath: Nature and Urban Landscape in E.U Photography, Fotoweek DC, Washington 2009; ECO, Exeter Contemporary Open 2009; The City, SiNordic Arts Space, Beijing 2009; The Lives of Spaces, Irish Pavillion, 11th International Architecture Biennale Venice 2008; Singapore International Photo Festival 2008; Home/Visitant, Idensitat, Barcelona 2008; European Night, Rencontres d’Arles, (France) 2008; Beyond the Country, Lewis-Glucksman Gallery 2007.


Dara McGrath (b. 1970, Ireland)

Beijing Billboards Photographs 2009

McGrath’s interest lies in exploring transitional spaces, those in-between places where architecture, landscape and the built environment often intersect, and where a dialogue ‒ of absence rather than presence ‒ is created. The resultant photo works are realised both with the gallery space and as site-specific installations and interventions. The images explore the dialogue of Beijing - a city in transition with its landscape. The photographs look at the context of commercial billboards, which symbolise the interface of the physicality of this transformation and also visually represent this new era in China’s economy and the opening up to external influences of other cultures. The images try to search out the codes that give clues or signs to this change, while also suggesting a commentary for the future of this city. They also look for structures and codes of contradiction or paradox in Beijing’s geography that stand for the specifics of place whether real or imagined and try to unravel to the observer stories or scenarios that reveal a possible narrative of place within these new urban spaces which plays upon this ironic reality. www.daramcgrath.com www.daramcgrath.blogspot.com


Dara McGrath


Dara McGrath


Dara McGrath


Dara McGrath


Dara McGrath


Dara Eyal McGrath Pinkas


Dara McGrath


Dara Eyal McGrath Pinkas


Feature Darren Campion in conversation with David Farrell


Making Time: David Farrell in Conversation

Darren Campion is a freelance writer (and sometime photographer) who concentrates mostly on cultural topics and photographic media in particular.

He studied photography at the Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Dublin and is the writer behind The Incoherent Light, an online photography journal.

www.davidfarrell.org

David Farrell’s Innocent Landscapes is a monumental work about the search for those who ‘disappeared’ as a result of the political tensions in Northern Ireland, only to be buried anonymously across the border. In 1999, as part of the peace process, the IRA finally admitted the ‘killing and secret burial’ of ten people from a possible list of fifteen missing. At the end of May that year they released a roll call of locations that were said to be the burial places of nine people from the list. Of course the crucial twist in this inventory was that all the locations were in the South of Ireland. These people had been exiled in death, somehow uniting North and South in relation to the conflict ‒ a dark stain lurking under the ‘peaceful’ landscapes of the South. Searches were carried out in 1999 and 2000, with photographs by Farrell published in a volume entitled Innocent Landscapes in 2001 as a result of winning the European Publishers Award for Photography. It is a work he has found difficult to walk away from. I met with him recently to discuss this ongoing investigation.

(Here) Ballynultagh, 1999; (After) Ballynultagh, 2000; Colgagh, 1999; Wilkinstown New Search, 1999; Wilkinstown New Search, 2010 All images courtesy of the artist

Perhaps like opening the body of time, opening memory, we find our darkest secrets, our unspoken tragedies, all held in layers furthest from the surface. The photographs themselves manage to accommodate all that, and more, reading collectively as a profound dialogue with absence. I asked David about his first visit to one of these search locations: ‘It was a beautiful summer’s evening,’ he said ‘and I just remember it was this country lane, with a slight hill at the end of it. You went over that and came into this landscape that looked like some force had roared through it. The visual shock when I got there was of this landscape having been violated, with all the trees uprooted, and that somehow being a metaphor from the violence of what had happened to these people, their disappearance. So it was a really powerful sensation to be there, feeling how the mind projects emotion onto something and this landscape was so torn apart, it looked like the search had been quite desperate really, just the nature of it. I made some pictures that first night, but it was


purely that I was there and I should make some pictures, because at the time I wasn’t sure, feeling maybe that it was too powerful, that I wouldn’t be able to do anything with it. But there was something about the pictures I made, something in the quality of the colour that convinced me to continue. So it was a simple act then of deciding just to go and look at the other places, seeing what happened, seeing what was there.’ There is a distinct ‒ at times quite uneasy ‒ pull between the aesthetic richness of the images and the violence implied by the searching, these fractured landscapes that lend a unique power to the work. ‘In truth I probably didn’t know what I was doing for the first six months, other than simply going there, responding, obviously with my brain, but also in an emotional way, trying to frame images that had a certain tension to them, something that was working off the beauty ‒ I always feel that those pictures have a sort of tough beauty. It was a case of going out and sometimes not really having ‒ or not wanting to have, too much of a direction, because often if you put a box around it before you start, you’re going to miss something. It’s a crude metaphor maybe, but useful in this context, of excavating a subject, digging and digging and digging, until I felt like I’d reached the point of almost having exhausted it, I had to keep going back, photographing the same thing over and over again. It was a momentum of going to make pictures and then thinking about it as you’re making the pictures, as you’re working through it, to see is there anything emerging from the dialogue you’re having with what your photographing.’

The cumulative structure of the book, a kind of gravitational pull between the images and across them, brings a forceful clarity from this cutting into the landscape’s hidden core that has both a formal and emotional rigour. There is arguably some lingering influence too from his training as a research chemist on how Farrell has subsequently approached making photographs. ‘When you work in science you have an idea, you set up an experiment to test this idea, you gather all the data, you take it in, you assess it, you formulate something, and you go and test it later on. So I sort of do the same thing now as I’m making pictures. I actually have to go out and From the buried layers of our collective memory ‒ and of collective forgetting, the landscape seems to contain all the fraught make as many pictures as I feel I’m responding to, take them in and then begin this process of editing. So while I’m looking at ‒ and I interdependence of place and memory, the forces that shape a almost hate to use the word ‒ the ‘strength’ of an individual image culture (its histories), moving restlessly under a charmed surface, on one level, I’m really interested too in the dialogue it has with present and yet not. There is also a sophisticated narrative thread the preceding image, the facing image, the one after and the next that draws you into the haunting complexity of these images, one again ‒ because I’m always thinking of the book. Narrative is with a structure that moves through the broken landscapes ‒ and very important within the way I make work, certainly between the through the searches themselves ‒ creating a powerful sense of pictures, but also within each picture.’ some incipient, but crucially unrealised, discovery.


And the story never really ended, although the searches did ‒ for a time at least, because perhaps no amount of searching could ever be enough. ‘There was a picture from Wicklow that was made on the last day of the search in 2000, of the bog cut away and I said to myself at the time ‒ how much further do you go? Six inches? Six feet? How far do you go and when do you stop? Anyway, that was supposed to be it. There was a couple of small searches in the intervening years, and except for an accidental recovery nothing was found. I had noticed, again in 2000, that nature was reclaiming these places very quickly, making even the evidence of the searches disappear and I thought that in itself was an interesting metaphor about what the killers had intended, using nature to cover their traces, but it was also about healing and the passage of time.’ The landscape itself becomes a surface on to which these larger questions can be projected. ‘Thinking about it on a fundamental level,’ he said ‘I’ve used the landscape like a studio; the way that some people go to the blank wall is how I’ve used the landscape over the last ten years, in this and other projects.’

So periodically he began returning, to take account of every loss and every frustrated possibility, because despite maps we can never be sure where we stand ‒ here all certainties are provisional. ‘I started then to do these annual re-visits,’ he said ‘because it was such an unresolved issue, just to keep going back to these places seemed important, particularly as I might be the only one to return, but it became increasingly difficult to do so, which also highlights another theme within in this work, the real difficulty of sustaining a memory. Then literally by chance I came across this team of forensic archaeologists about two years ago while they were searching in Wicklow and it reminded me again of what had drawn me to the subject, that I had been right to keep with it because other people hadn’t given up. At the same time their intervention actually ruptured my timeline of a landscape being reclaimed, because in most cases they were going back into the same place and digging it up again, which I suppose is interesting too in that it’s kind of like having a scab and taking it off, in the hope that with time it will heal itself properly. The current landscapes, while they are often the same piece of field or bog, look considerably different, as their approach is so different, the pace is different. With the recent searches I’m seeing something stand still in so many different types of light, where as before you took whatever light was there on the day, because the searches went so quickly the landscape was radically altered between visits. While I’m more or less photographing the same thing from one day to the next, each time something has changed and I’m searching for what I feel is the maximum out of the subject. The sense of their presence (or absence) is much less immediate in the landscape now; the pictures have become more about the searches themselves, though you do remind yourself every so often exactly what you’re dealing with.’ If the searching in his first set of pictures had been a devastatingly accurate metaphor for violence, for the hidden landscapes of memory, and for disappearance itself, meaning the continuity of a place (its lives) irredeemably shattered by something ‒ or rather someone ‒ simply not being there, an absence breaking through the surface of the world, this incredibly sustained approach


in how the new searches are being conducted (and images he has made of them) seem more like a way of marking time, as a measure of duration. Perhaps they become instead a way to describe the impossible task of accounting for the loss that they represent, as the observation of some endless of ritual ‒ of not forgetting, and he keeps going back too, trying to refine the logic of this process. ‘Now you could go in and the first picture you make could be sufficiently strong,’ he said ‘but for me it’s this drive to really get deep into the subject, like I say, you’re ‘excavating’ something. One of the difficulties with photography is that making a picture, the gesture itself, seems so easy that you really have to feel the picture, that it has to be coming through the subject and into you. I’m aware now that certainly the work I’m making with the re-visits is probably slightly more refined in an aesthetic sense, that they have softened a little, though I’m still trying to hold onto that edge of tough beauty.’ Regardless of how persistent the searches are ‒ and have been ‒ it seems as if the ground will keep its final secrets, memory has its unreachable avenues after all, and some wounds might never heal, but it will be a useful comparison if, at some time in the future, these new images are gathered in book form, to see the distance that has been covered during the intervening years. This will undoubtedly be a large body of work and what of it has gradually been appearing seems at once as similar and as different as he says. The ‘edge’ is still there of course, the hint of some presence endlessly just beyond reach, insisting on the unstable nature of memory, on the spectre of loss, and on what cannot be brought to light ‒ even more so now perhaps than before. Constant too is the quality that defines the whole of Farrell’s work on Innocent Landscapes to date, the tangibility of absence that is never satisfied by recollection, never made whole, or even just accounted for ‒ time has changed too much, or has buried too deep whatever we hope to find, but the searches go on, because they have to, because even if no trace of those disappeared remain, we can still cut to the poisonous root of violence that fractures lives and the places we live

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Julian Stallabrass Brendan Earley Projector Collective & Via Artists Group Christine Mackey Emily Kocken


Julian Stallabrass (United Kingdom)

Further Up in the Air: Shadow Photographs 2003

I took part in an artists’ residency project called FURTHER Up in the Air curated by Leo Fitzmaurice and Neville Gabie. It involved 18 artists/writers working in response to the last tower block on the estate in North Liverpool. Run over a two year period, the project had three phases of artists resident in the building. My project was to follow the shadow of the one remaining tower block around the area that was being redeveloped at its base with new low-rise housing.

Bio Julian Stallabrass lectures in modern and contemporary art, including political aspects of the globalised contemporary art world, postwar British art, the history of photography and new media art. Aside from his recent publications listed below, he is the author of Gargantua: Manufactured Mass Culture, Verso, London 1996; the co-editor of Ground Control: Technology and Utopia, Black Dog Publishing, London 1997, Occupational Hazard: Critical Writing on Recent British Art, Black Dog Publishing, London 1998, and Locus Solus, a book about the Newcastle-based artist-led curatorial organisation Locus+. He also writes art criticism for many publications including Tate, Photoworks, Art Monthly, and the New Statesman. In 2001 he curated an exhibition at Tate Britain entitled Art and Money Online. He curated the 2008 Brighton Photo Biennial. He is an editorial board member of Art History, New Left Review and Third Text and on the advisory board of Visual Culture in Britain. His photography has been exhibited and published internationally.

www.courtauld.ac.uk/people/stallabrass-julian.shtml


Itself condemned, the only surviving triplet bulks broad and tall over the low buildings and parks that surround it. I am tracing in a sequence of photographs the shadow it casts, at either end of the day a long sketchy shading thrown down on wall and ground; at noon a sharp, stubby blackness. In the higher flats of the block, the sun shines up into the rooms, turning ceilings into reflectors, lighting the spaces with the liveliness of a photographer’s studio. No resident can be without an awareness of the block as a giant sun-dial, the turning of shadows with the Earth, and the lapsing of the day. As they work, street photographers perform intricate, comical dances. Most of what we can control is where to put our bodies and our cameras, by moving backwards and forwards, sidestepping, squatting or tiptoeing. We have another reflex, the glance (often backwards over the shoulder) at the sun. Particularly towards the each end of the day, this becomes a tic for me, the only way to know for sure in the faded network of darker tones, that it is the tower’s shadow that I had found. In the streets that lie in the shadow, it is impossible to walk for long in a straight line. You soon come up against a fence, or find yourself at the end of a cul-de-sac. The new houses replacing the blocks boast every feature of defensible, overlooked space that the high-rises lacked. Performing my dance, in the generally deserted streets, I feel constantly watched from car windows and from behind net curtains. Since, it seemed, pedestrians had been abolished, the new estate took on the appearance of an architect’s model. Stretched out in the Spring sunshine, with their neat gardens, precise brickwork, and arrayed uniformly along streets with freshly minted names, these houses spoke of another vision of utopian social engineering, one reduced and beleaguered by the ever-present threat of vandalism and crime. A vision less concerned with achieving the best than preventing the worst. Showing the slide sequence in a flat in the block, and talking to the residents, enlivened the pictures, the product of an initially bald idea. The locals (some still living in the block, some relocated to the houses below) looked long and attentively,


as we do at portraits of loved ones, seeing what I had made of their place, and how it was transformed by film. They talked, for instance, of the long decline of the park, to become a bare, sparsely populated stretch of ground. It had once contained, they said, a rose garden, a café, a boating pond, a maypole and a botanical garden the ruins of which can still be seen. Their responses made me wonder what kind of life the pictures could have when removed from this locale. Perhaps they can say something about familiar and wider themes: the neglect of public spaces and the concomitant urge to retreat to private, walled-in enclaves; the attempt to control people’s behaviour with bricks, metal, cameras and the layout of roads; the increasing sense of nakedness that anyone left walking ̶ and it is mostly the poor, the old and children, along with the occasional stray photographer ̶ has on those bare and trafficked residential streets

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The above text is taken from the FURTHER Up in the Air catalogue: ISBN 0-9545778-0-9 (Cornerhouse Publications 2003). Contributors include: Jordan Baseman, Julian Stallabrass, Stefan Gec, Bill Drummond, Gary Perkins, Elizabeth Wright. More information can be found at www.publicartonline.org.uk


Brendan Earley (b. 1971, Ireland)

Sculpture in an Abandoned Field Documented intervention/installation In building the sculpture the elements were reconfigured to make something different ‒ not necessarily to improve on the original concept but to search for an alternative. I decided to leave it in situ to see what would happen to it ‒ however, when I came back a week later all that was left was a black hole about 150 cm wide ‒ made from burning the chipboard in a bonfire.

Bio After graduating from the National College of Art & Design (Dublin, Ireland) with first class honours, Earley spent a number of years travelling before receiving the Fulbright scholarship to attend Hunter College, New York City. He graduated with a Masters in Fine Art in 1999 and returned to Dublin where he exhibits regularly. Exhibitions include Artist Space, New York, Ars Electronica, Austria, Perspective, OBG Belfast and Futures, RHA Dublin. He is currently studying for his PhD in the National College of Art and Design, and recently won the Curated Visual Arts Award. His work is in a number of public and private collections. brendanearley@ireland.com


The Douglas Hyde Gallery opened its doors on the 28th of March 1978. Designed by Paul Koralek of ABK Architects, the poured concrete of the gallery structure would be considered a prime example of a baroque brutalism. Unconventional in Dublin terms, it was conceived as part of an interconnected complex of buildings that make up Trinity College’s Arts Block, and with its various walkways and sculpture terraces it embodies a democratic posture of access to the public very much of its time. The building’s cast concrete volumes convey a strong sense of spatial physicality while its open-ended interior plan encourages visitors to negotiate their own pathways through an exhibition. As part of the CCVA exhibition a large black circle and white rectangle occupy the middle of the space in the gallery, entitled I Wanted to Start Again (2008). Similar to a Rodchenko poster from the 1920s, this sculpture has a flat graphic quality as seen from the upper gallery looking down into the main space. The white melamine is all that is left from an earlier work built on waste ground behind a ‘B&Q’ DIY store warehouse in Liffey Valley, Co. Dublin. A number of flat packs were bought and assembled to resemble a model of a building, similar to the geometrical constructions of early modernist architects such as Theo Van Doesburg, leading founder of DeStijl. As with Marcuse’s aspirations, this group believed art was capable of leading mankind toward a brighter future, a new and revolutionary utopia. By looking at the work of three of the most prominent members, Theo Van Doesburg, Piet Mondrian and Gerri Riveted, we can see how their cumulative utopian ideals were manifested through their individual projects. Universal harmony was the focus of the DeStijl. Art had a new mission; it preceded life and showed the way to the realization of universal harmony. I had no wish to attempt this mission again but felt as Marcuse did that the understanding of the possibility of human liberation was belief in the imagination and its regenerative abilities to remain uncolonized by a prevailing ideology. The sculpture was built on the waste ground, just behind the shopping outlet, an area found in any large urban environment where there is massive development going on. In building the sculpture the elements were reconfigured to make something different ‒ not necessarily to improve on the original concept but to search for an alternative. I decided to leave it in situ to see what would happen to it - however, when I came back a week later all that was left was a black hole about 150 cm wide ‒ made from burning the chipboard in a bonfire. As Halloween happened over the period in which I left the sculpture it should have come as no surprise that it had been burnt. For Marcuse, the work ethic which he sees as part of the repressive nature found in contemporary society becomes obsolete when work and play converge. Although this convergence led to a disappointing outcome the sculpture was an experiment, an instrument left ‘in the field’ so to speak. What seems unavoidable to Marcuse is that in aestheticising the material world, art separates its content from the historical world and loses its impact in the real world. A photograph on the back of the gallery wall recorded this incident. Some fragments of the work were found and retrieved from a nearby hedge, taken back to the studio and rearranged into a smaller sculpture, with a similar architectural model quality. The burnt chipboard assembled beside the Perspex looks like the fragment of a building; or fragment of a non-place, those transitional spaces of contemporary life, an attempt to make sense of a space. A whole in itself and a part of some greater composition, the fragment is, if you like, always bound to fail and bound by failure to forever give a part of itself to some unrealized whole. But after all the absence of utopia is its endearing potential ‒ its real power. A fragment of a project, thrown open towards an uncompleted future: This is the romance of the fragment ‒ it gains credence on a promise

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Projector Collective & Via Artists Group (Founded 2006, 2002 respectively, Ireland)

Bright Shadow

Documented public installation 2009 Projector Collective have joined with Via artists group to create an intervention in a disused inner city housing development. This involves the covering of sixteen windows in 23 carat gold to replace the regular shutters used for security purposes. At the same time a crop of sunowers have been planted in the disused garden directly in front of the building.

Bio Projector Collective was formed by the artists John Carter, Anthony Kelly and Jay Roche. These three artists all work individually but have worked collectively on various projects in the past. The main aim of the Collective is to encourage a collaborative approach to making visual art and the core members hope to work with or facilitate other artists in making their work in the future. www.projectorcollective.org Via Artists Group was founded in 2002 by three visual artists, Susan Gogan, Sarah O’Toole and Sally Timmons. www.viaart.org All images courtesy Projector Collective


St. Agatha’s Court in the north inner city is a disused senior citizens housing development owned by Dublin City Council. It is adjacent to one of Dublin’s finest churches, St. Agatha’s, named after the martyred Sicilian Saint. In early 2008 Projector Collective and Via Artists Group joined together to develop a project called Bright Shadow. Their idea was to intervene in a disused site within the city centre and transform it’s current condition. Both Collectives were interested in ideas of urban renewal and issues of regeneration. By late 2008, St. Agatha’s Court was chosen as an appropriate site and with the help of Dublin City Council, the two Collectives were given access to the building and began their plans for interacting with the site. During February 2009 Projector Collective (curated by Sally Timmons as part of Commonplace Projects) further developed some ideas relating to Bright Shadow to form a new work called The Radiant City which was shown at Studio One, Commonplace Projects that month. As part of their collaboration both Via Artists Group and Projector Collective explored the characteristics of the site and instigated an intervention with the building and it’s environment. Projector Collective noted the shuttered windows, necessarily covered over to prevent access to the building and decided to alter these closed features by covering them with the reflective and valuable material of gold leaf. Each of the sixteen covered windows on the south side of the building have been gilded using 23 carat gold leaf transforming them into glowing surfaces made up of approximately 7000 leaves of gold. Via Artists Group in turn have transformed the garden directly in front of the windows turning it into a thriving crop of sunflowers.

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The gold leaf will outlast the sunflowers and in essence refers to a more permanent level of transformation. This too is still open to decay, although over a longer period of time Bright Shadow can be viewed from the street at St. Agatha’s Court at any time of day. The project has no definite time span although the flowers will finally decay during October. The shutters will remain for an undefined period of time. Bright Shadow is to be the final project by Via Artists Group. See Projector Collective and Via Artists Group’s websites for documentation on the background and process involved with Bright Shadow and The Radiant City


Christine Mackey (Ireland)

Aggressive Localism Documented site-specific interventions Video stills 2008 The sky today is milling with invisible survivors. From the shaft we wave. Berger. Mohr “A Seventh Man”

Bio Christine Mackey employs diverse disciplines, subject matter and tactics in devising works that can generate different kinds of knowledge of place, their hidden histories and ecological formations. Key to her practice is drawing as a speculative field of inquiry where visual communication, exchange and knowledge intersect as a platform for social research. Her practice combines site-specific and public interventions, exhibitions, performance and art-books. In 1992 Mackey graduated with with a BA in Sculpture from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland and in 2002, she recieved an MA in Time based and Performance Studies from Dartington College of Art, England. She is currently pursuing a practice based PhD at the University of Ulster, Belfast.

www.christinemackey.com


This work proposed practical and redemptive tactics towards man-made structures and surfaces through the planting of native Irish wild-flower seeds. These ‘micro-wildernesses’, support a critical investigation of global seed production and creates a platform for environmental issues materialized through civic actions and movements on the land. These sites ranged from existing structures such as a roundabout, pavement cracks, walls, phone-box, uncompleted building sites and plantholders in the town. The final site is an abandoned ‘waste-land’ owned by Tesco who had originally planned to build a petrol station (but this was refused planning permission). Most of the sites are small-scale except for the last site mentioned. Subsequently the main sites that I had planted were destroyed by a number of factors; chemical spray, cut down by Council officials and bulldozed for urban development

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Emily Kocken

(b. 1963, USA. Lives The Netherlands)

The Breadman Project Documented intervention/installation 2009 The Breadman Project explored the troublesome relationship between birds and humans in the city, focussing on the fragile hierarchical order amongst birds, symbolic for the sociocultural construction of society.

Bio Kocken questions post-Fordian narratives by creating new ones, examining the relationship between historical ‘Great Themes’ and actual contemporary sociological paradigms. Using photography, research tools borrowed from journalism and psychology, and readymades. She has studied at the School of Technical Writing, Amsterdam, School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA), Boston, VU University, Amsterdam, and has been the recipient of many awards from 1996 to present. Kocken has taken part in various public screenings, installations, publications and exhibitions including Her Master’s Choice, Juffrouw Zonder Zorgen Gallery, Haarlem (2005); R U evolved? Artists reflect on Darwin, A Shenere Velt Gallery, Los Angeles (2009) and Tracing the Mother Key, Stadsdeelkantoor/District Council Exhibition room, Amsterdam Zuidoost (2010).

www.emilykocken.nl


The Breadman project explored the often troublesome relationship between bread, birds and people. It provoked birds in an urban area to attack and eat a human-sized bread doll, baked by me in my studio, transported ceremonially to several areas in an infamous urban part of Amsterdam, the Bijlmer. Placed in open spaces next to apartment buildings, the consumption of Breadman was witnessed by local residents and passers-by: a public execution.

The series of transient sculptural performances laid bare the fragile hierarchical order amongst birds, symbolic of the political deconstruction of society.

an ecological connotated new fairy tale with Breadman as its protagonist Documented by and resulting in video and photography, collages and an ecological connotated new fairy tale with Breadman as its protagonist and the famous Grimm fairy tale Hansl and Gretl as its source.

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The remaining mummiďŹ ed moulded body of Breadman is gracefully decaying slowly in a glass casket: a process expected to last for years, based on earlier tests with bread mould and their survival of time


ISSN 2009-2288/Issue 4/2010

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Disclaimer: SuperMassiveBlackHole is free and makes no profit from the publication of any materials found therein. SuperMassiveBlackHole is a publication for the dissemination of artistic ideas and will not be liable for any offense taken by any individual(s) resulting from any material contained therein. All images in SuperMassiveBlackHole are the sole property of their creators unless otherwise stated. No image in the magazine or the magazine logo may be used in any way without permission of the copyright holder. The SuperMassiveBlackHole magazine title and logos are copyright ©2008 - 2009 Shallow publications. All rights reserved. shallowpublications@gmail.com Shallow publications and SuperMassiveBlackHole are property of Barry W. Hughes. Submissions: All works submitted to SuperMassiveBlackHole must be the sole, original property of the contributor(s), have the appropriate model releases, and cannot interfere with any other publication or company’s publishing rights. SuperMassiveBlackHole is edited by Barry W. Hughes, Dublin, Ireland.

SuperMassiveBlackHole Issue 4  

Theme: Politics and Public Space. Andrew Clarke, Andrew Langford, Brad Feuerhelm, Brendan Earley, Christine Mackey, Dan Shipsides, Dara McGr...

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