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‘The present type of order in the world has arisen from the unimaginable past and will find its grave in the unimaginable future’. A.N Whitehead philosopher and mathematician

History is made the moment at which some lost idea had to be replaced by another. As Inheritors of the shadow-play of the past, at no instant in time are we separate from what has gone before. Our everyday experimental life is something that unfolds between the immediate presence of the present and the irretrievable past, being neither a state of pure presence or pure history. Traversal of this difference means that one lives neither a state of synthesis nor opposition but in the in-between. To occupy the in-between is to exist in the space of tensions and anomalies, impressions and gap and as the in-between continues to open out as experience, from this partial and uncertain ground, our knowledge of reality is constructed.

The fragile lines of our shared histories and imagined futures can be found in and amongst the paraphernalia of everyday things. Inhabitated and abandoned buildings, objects and ephemera, are the indexical expression of what we use to define ourselves, to signal who we are and who we are not. Forming part of the way in which we measure the passing of our lives, subtly our own obscure fate is bound to places and things. The question holds, who, in the in-between, in the nameless vicinity of indistinction, can follow these processes? Where there is no end to context making in the realm of language, art opens out. Stemming from a desire to reinstate objects and spaces as a source of critique and refuge from a contemporary world of surplus that continues to erupt compulsively, artists collect processes of production, both material and intellectual. Deconstructing and disentangling antinomies from a cascading hierarchy of symbolic forms, the artist constructs an arena for imagination where space and objects undergo a shift from ambivalence toward purpose.  From the poetics of abandoned building to the political ciphers of a plastic toy, art enables us to enter an entirely different category of experience, one that is vigilantly protective of the delicacy of indistinction.

Before the arrival of idionumina in the winter of 2012, No 15 Hughes stood in remote and undisturbed solitude with nothing but the copious sound of rushing water to fill its rooms. Roots of Ivy had bent, burrowed and climbed through the sills and rafters to outlive a generation there. Opening the door on this particular house of memories, artistic intervention opened out as a form of living discourse. Through each installation we were invited to partake of the meaningful constitution of a nascent social historical world, but also of its constitution as a field of contemporary force, a realm where meaning became an unmasking for things repressed.

Sited in the cavernous recesses of No 15 Hughes, Ben Reilly’s installation ‘The Man’presented the viewer with an obscure character of imagination made up from fragments of secret realities. From a garret filled with armaments to fetishised personal belongings, a dark and difficult anomaly was introduced to the viewer. Yet feeding into the narrative of this complex character was the melodic charm of the 1950’s music by Joseph Locke. An audio/visual synastry created uncommon atmosphere of disquieting fascination that seemed to repositioning the viewer as though an intruder in a private and strangely sensitive space.

Kate O Kelly’s work was sited in the main shop space on the ground floor of No 15.Contemplating the value of design details of times past, utilitarian and ornamental objects were fused together to bring about what can most appropriately described as ceramic Imponderabilia, a term coined by Bronislaw Malinowski referring to items that fall outside predictable lines of classification. 

Andrea Cleary’s’ piece titled ‘Peggy’s Remedie’s’ was also sited in the shop space on the ground floor of the building. Referencing the spiritual life of her aunt in- law, the artist produced a fabric installation that reflected on the ritualised practices of christianity, and homeopathic work that formed a significant part of the life of Peggy Hughes.

Kieran Healy’s ‘Untitled’ table sculpture was sited in the small bar space of No 15. Presenting a sardonic critique of the social function of objects, the artist constructed an oversized bar table stabilised by hundreds of beer mats .The formal eccentricies of the piece were further developed in the artist’s satirical  performance, where a giant ashtray filled with ventolin inhalers were smoked, one by one. Aided and abetted with humour, the aloof character of this performance, donned a red wig, read the newspaper and kept a bottle of beer to hand.

Alison Cronin’s work titled ‘Slice’ (behind the Sky on the Other Side of the Rain) and other ‘Untitled’ site specific drawings and photographic works were presented on the walls throughout No15.These pieces engaged a narrative introspection on the houses itself and its former inhabitants. Through the use of silhouette, layering and exposing the walls behind, the artist’s two dimensional pieces insisted on a resurgent sense of absence and dereliction.

Cliona Ni Laoi’s installation ‘Black Out’ was presented under the main stairway of of the building. Gathering a sonic snap shot from a VHS recording of house when it was animated with life, contextual sounds of the past were reinserted into the present in a looped 45 second audio/visual piece. Exploring the presence and absence of memory, phantom footsteps ran up the stairs, voices and sounds congested in unsettling repetition and a light bulb blew at a delirious pitch into a silent, dark space where past events are absorbed.

Nina Tanis’s installation ‘You Came Back To See Me’ presented the viewer with a perceptually all encompassing environment, where light and void constituted the essential components of the work. Covering the entire floor with a film of water and casting light at various reflected angulations, the artist drew on the eloquence of water to reflect the antiquated room back on itself.

Mary- Jo-Gilligan’s performance ‘The Inexpressible Experience of Dampness’ took  the kitchen space as its central locus .Through finely considered enumeration of invisible elements of damp and dream, the artist sensitised herself to an unfolding meditation with time and place. Acoustic spaciousness, knotted ropes, bowls chiming through various calibrations of water, procession and monastic seclusion reflect some of the conceptual rhythms, of what was her choreographed poetry.

Marie Brett and John McHargs collaborative installation ‘She took to the bed’ occupied a former bedroom on the first floor of No 15. Responding to the lived history of the room the artist’s evoked a psychologically complex space.  Salt and Iron Oxide were used to create a floor drawing that ruminated on the ceaseless antagonisms and imprecision’s of inner world’s. Scrawled on a wall of the room, an extract by poet Joseph Brodsky conceptually aligned with the sound of an unbroken history running from the Duiske River, capturing an aura of intense and suspended isolation.

Becky Coffee’s installation ‘The Room That Time Forgot’ was sited on the first floor.   Weaving skeins of thread throughout the room, this markedly ephemeral this piece reflected subtle correspondences with the invisible labours of nature over time and through space.

Aoife Banville’s installation ‘Hydrangea Room’ was sited on the first floor. Attaching about 2000 Hydrangea to the ceiling of the room, the artist presented dramatic sensory environment that reflected on the hospitality of aesthetics but also the inherent impermanence of beauty.

Sharon Mc Carthy ‘Paint Peel’ was sited in the former art studio of Peggy Hughes. Using colours specifically reflective the old studio environment, the artist’s minimalist installation presented a critical investigation into the materiality of paint.

Julie Moore house’s installation Silentinm Dei was sited on the first floor. From anecdotes to impression formed from aural history shared by the buildings owner on the open day, the artist presented a figurative response. Attentive to the presence of the imaginary in the perception of memory, the artist conceptually unlocked a family narrative of ascetic sorrow.

Rachel Healy’s two piece video projection titled ‘Hide and Seek’ was sited in a small utility room on the first floor of the building. In this piece we observed the silent technologies of animated shadows obeying their own logics of appearance and disappearance.

Frank Hughes’ work titled ‘Read between the Lines’ was sited in the upstairs washroom on the first Floor of No.15. Devising a space for possible recognition of the world into which his Father Paddy Hughes inhabited in the 1930, Frank Hughes produced a highly personal and pedagogical investigation into the informing conditions of the period.

Andrew Carroll’s piece titled Curtains (We Followed the Red Brick Road) was sited in a loft space on the first floor. Taking inspiration from the houses and hotels on a monopoly board, a miniature model of an emerald city was constructed and silhouetted onto a film still from the wizard of Oz. The artist’s mimesis hinted at critical play and the joyful enigmatics of indexical interpretation.

Each generation creates culture that belongs to it and it alone and when its time is over, one can look back and admire its achievements or criticise its failures. There is both loss and gain in the passing from one stage of history into another and whatever the trace, what is lost is lost forever.Yet to hold on the pulse against the vein of disappearance we constantly renew our relation to the in-between in its potentiality as a space of being. The in-between is the element, medium or the middle of constitution and differentiation through which we arrive at new critical formations. As the event of Idionumina gradually lapses deeper into memory, we can all be glad that we played our part in ‘helping to bring into existence the unknown world that was waiting for us, because we were waiting for it’[1].

Text: Maria Tanner

[1] Peter Hallward A subject to Truth  on Alain Badiou, The Caesura of Nihilism.  University of Minnesota press, 2003 p1

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