Detail – PHASE 3- (ACTIONS) 4th Auckland Triennial, New Zeland 2010.


Formation of Opinion, 2003- , under which most of my art activities of the past six or seven years have been subsumed, is an ‘an exploration in four phases of how morals, values and principles enter into our society’. Phase 1 included a series of site-specific drawing installations in locations in Ireland and Spain as well as a month-long independent FM/online radio station.

This initial phase,
Phase 1, of ‘formation of Opinion’ was presented under the general title ‘Reception of Information’. Phase 2, which is concerned with ‘Learning, Memory and Cognition’, is an ongoing series of broadcasts, performances, and installations, consisting of 26 sound works to be presented over a five-year period, which will culminate in 2013 in archive form as a work titled 'At what point will common sense prevail - ARCHIVE'.

To date one work pertaining to
Phase 4, dealing with ‘Successes and Failures’, has been presented. It is a collection of portraits of the eleven workers in the Irish supermarket chain Dunnes Stores who went on strike in 1984 in support of efforts to end Apartheid in South Africa. This project, which was officially commissioned for an exhibition by the RHA, recalled to mind a group of ordinary workers whose politicization was due to the particular circumstances of their working environment, and whose exemplary actions have never been adequately acknowledged.

The work represented here is
Phase 3 and all of the components go under the covering title of ‘PHASE 3 -(ACTIONS)’.

It shares with Phase 4 a fascination with the recent history of political activism. Dedicating this phase to the subject of ‘selflessness in the face of adversity’, I have chosen several concrete examples as the basis for various works, the main component being what I would consider the animation ‘Another Good Man’. One such exemplary case is that of Kenule ‘Ken’ Beeson Saro-Wiwa, the Nigerian author and television producer whose non-violent campaign against the environmental damage caused to his homeland by the indiscriminate dumping of oil waste by foreign companies ended in his execution in 1995 by the Nigerian military government. Another case and one which is central and inspired the overall work is Ireland’s Rossport Five, five men from County Mayo who were jailed in June 2005 when they refused to obey a court injunction forbidding them to interfere with work being undertaken by Shell Oil on land owned by three of them.

I am reluctant to don the mantle of the ‘political artist’. The honouring of these activists proceeds rather by indirection in the form of a fictive, if not fantastical, interweaving of strands from these two stories of protest. This fact-based fabrication is then dispersed across a range of disparate media, including, screen-printing (inspired by confiscated home-made screenprinting equipment on view at the Stasi Museum Berlin), animation, film, a zine, and a mini fm broadcast sculpture, . The specific flavour of the work owes something to the fact that all of these media have notable associations with the history of underground politics.

PHASE 3 - (ACTIONS) Installation Contents:

Another Good Man