The White Columns Curated Artist Registry
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STATEMENT OF WORK
Central to my work is the idea of inherited tension—both specific to my subjectivity and as it relates to the places I choose to work. I often find myself drawn to physical marks in particular landscapes as well as ideological markers. I am interested in the visible and invisible reverberations of conflicts and external forces—in the conflicting implications of what we are left with, politically, socially and geographically.
For the past two years I have been developing a theoretical topography, my own symbolic order - of hedges and boundaries and overlapping depictions of space, made along the Irish border. I see the border hedges in particular as palimpsests, which bear traces of politics and history. These seemingly organic facades belie decades of effort to achieve dense division.
Since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, military bases and other infrastructural signs of division were systematically erased from this landscape as part of the peace process and to forward a European project of frictionless movement. The 97-year-old Irish Border is an abstract frontier, once again subject to external forces amid Britain’s proposed withdrawal from the EU. Yet the border itself is now mostly invisible, what I am looking at is not really there. My conceptual concerns are piqued by this invisible boundary which often loops back on itself in a disorienting jumble where west can become south and east can become north.
In addition to the hedge pictures which were made with an 8x10 view camera, I have systematically photographed all 208 road crossings to make medium-format 6x7 slide overlays. At each border crossing I take one picture standing in the north facing south, then walk to the other side and take one picture standing in the south facing north. Once the film is processed, I physically sandwich the two slides together and project the results onto a screen that can be viewed from both sides. This doubling of picture planes merges and conflates the two sides of the divide. The projection piece enables a new way of seeing this liminal and contested site. The installation in its entirety binds together a political condition, a violent history, and depictions of physical yet abstract space.
Similar ways of thinking and working also underpin the work I have been doing in Algeria and Iran. There too I am interested in social and political markers that defy certain logics or understandings. The work is still in its early stages but I have been photographing politically charged sites former IRA training camps on the Libyan/Algerian border and the inexplicable Bobby Sands Burger Bar in Tehran.