Ireland as Borderland at FireStation Studios


Title: Ireland as Borderland

The artwork: Single channel 5 min video and 90 Photographs and text postcard set placed on two wooden shelves

Size: 90 x A5 postcard

See Video (1920 x 1080 at 24 fps with sound) at

Year: All photographs and video 2018

Exhibition at the FireStation Arts Studio 2019

About the installation:

Description: ‘Ireland as Borderland’ was first exhibited at FireStation Arts Studio, Dublin. Some of the photographs were also shown recently in the book published for Tulca Festival of Visual Arts 2020 ‘The Law is a White Dog’ curated/edited by Sarah Browne.

In 'Ireland As Borderland' I wanted to revisit the wilful amnesia we experience about the shameful events of recent history. We have learnt to think of history as already happened and it happened to other people. In our busy lives we start believing that it couldn't possibly have been allowed to happen so it couldn't possibly have happened, at least it cannot possibly have happened here. But it did happen. Irish Institutionalisation did happen, from the Magdalene Laundry to Direct Provision. The unimaginable, the monstrous, is happening right now, in secret Direct Provision Centres all over Ireland. Today's monsters might not seem like the monsters of our collective historical imagination, because they seem so much like us, like all of us, because they are us, which makes 'them' somehow less able to perpetrate the unimaginable. Our complicity eludes us. We can't possibly be monsters.

In my exhibition, I wanted to deny the viewer the wilful drift toward the centre of an amnesiac benumbed position, often produced by the constant drone of news feed and expert interviews. I hoped to do this by using 'sculptural space' around my archive of stills, videos, text and sound from my interviews with migrant activists. Using the archive as a starting point, I dislocated its components, and used them to outline 'space' to bring about a presence in a place where there was none. I wanted this experience to feel uncanny, I wanted the immediate sensation that the world as we know it is no longer knowable. I invite you to come explore space around a series of harrowing interviews on Direct Provision centres on someone else's terms. I want you to come explore the myriad planes and relationships in the unstable spaces I outline. You are free to move around and through them but you are tangled with fragments of the minds of people that are speaking, gesticulating and communicating the unimaginable.



My heartfelt thanks to those who are constantly wrestling with the unimaginable ..Lucky Khambule, Donnah Sibanda Vuma, Bulelani Mfaco and Dr Ronit Lentin.

© Choregraphing Border Movements. Design by Fearne.