Archive for the ‘Arts and culture’ Category



book coverThe War Correspondent-1


bloody sunday cover

On Bloody Sunday, January 30, 1972, British paratroopers killed thirteen innocent men in Derry. It was one of the most controversial events in the history of the Northern Ireland conflict and also one of the most mediated. The horror was recorded in newspapers and photographs, on TV news and current affairs, and in film and TV drama. In a cross media analysis that spans a period of almost forty years up to the publication of the Saville Report in 2010, The British Media and Bloody Sunday identifies two countervailing impulses in media coverage of Bloody Sunday and its legacy: an urge in the press to rescue the image and reputation of the British Army versus a troubled conscience in TV current affairs and drama about what was done in Britain’s name. In so doing, it suggests a much more complex set of representations than a straight- forward propaganda analysis might allow for, one that says less about the conflict in Ireland than it does about Britain, with its loss of empire and its crisis of national identity.

Interested readers can find out more at Amazon Author Central.



In this new  exhibition in the room@ The Model, Sue Morris appropriates  flora and fauna to explore real and imagined scenarios within the domestic space.

The Model Gallery, Sligo, is open 11am-5.30pm, Weds-Sat;  and 12pm-5pm, Sun.

Post hoc

What is (sub)Text?  (sub) Text is an ongoing, collaborative, multimedia art collective comprising of resident studio artists at the Model Gallery in Sligo. The first exhibition, Writing on the Wall,  happened last December (2011) and incorporated sound/film/and hand-written texts. In a departure from the traditional idea of the art exhibition, whereby the public view the finished work of the unseen artist, the Model artists welcomed the public to come and see them at work and, if they wish, to engage with the artistic process. Once the work was finished, it remained on show for only a few days after.

The aim was to demystify and contemplate the relationships in art between concept, process, aesthetics, exhibition and impact. By facilitating an exploration of ideas through different types of text, the installation opens up dialogues between the participating artists and the viewer, challenging the experience and perception of ‘room’ as a contemporary art space…

What is ‘room’?  ‘room’ is an exhibition space at the Model Gallery designated to the resident studio artists.

The Model Gallery is on The Mall in Sligo and is open Wednesday-Saturday, 11am-5.30pm, and Sunday, 12pm-5pm.

Sue Morris:  `The Inverted Triangle of Objectivity’

“With reference to a range of current newspapers, I will deconstruct the highly manufactured ‘objective’ language of news and re-present it as a natural and unconscious form of everyday handwriting. In the act of transcribing headlines and copy, I will move between the tragic and the absurd, the known and the unknown and the explicit and the implied, and hopefully reflect back to the observer the elastic realism of news and question its mythical status as a ‘window on the world’ “

Sarah Stevens:  ‘The Derelict Nation Project’

“I photographed the derelict Old Coach House on the Pearse Road, Sligo and posted the photographs on Flickr as part of the Derelict Nation project. An ex-resident of the house contacted me when she recognised the view from the bathroom window. In July 2011 I met her outside the Coach House and recorded her memories as she reconstructed how the house used to look from looking at my photographs. During the making of sub(TEXT) I will make a time-lapse film of collaborating artists making the work.”

Clea van der Grijn:  ‘John Steinbeck, The Pearl, 1944’

By re-writing John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, 1944, in its entirety; the multi layered metaphors will change with the interwoven dialogues of the artists participating in (sub)TEXT.”

 Michael Wann:  ‘rou tin e en gin e’

“do you take milk? what you reading? what time’s it on? can you ring him? is that to go? will you be there? where’s the remote? are you okay? cant you leave me alone? are you gonna wash that hair? did the postman come? is that rain? does it get easier? is that the door? has anyone seen my glasses? can you text me please? is the alarm set? can you collect the boys? how much will that cost? when will I see you? are we there yet? did you sleep? you want an egg with that? is the camera on? is this for real? why did you do this? is that blood? did you brush your teeth? is that a car next door? did you read this?”

Steve Wickham:  ‘dream diary songs’

“Ever since childhood I’ve been fascinated with the old biblical story of the writing on the wall, and the eerie painting by Rembrandt of Belshazzar’s feast which hangs in the National Gallery in London.The disembodied fingers of a human hand appear at Belshazzar’s feast and write on the wall of the Royal Palace the words מאנ , מאנ , תקל , ופרס י ן

On the surface the words mean ‘two minas, a shekel and two parts”, and yet because of the ghostly hand and the context, they were ominously interpreted to mean “your days are numbered”.

Belshazzar died that night.

I am using two sources for my text: my song lyrics, where there is always an element of riddle and subtext, and my dream diary; thereby drawing from my own personal well of dis-embodiedness. I will also install a sound shower of the artists involved, speaking their words as if the wall could talk.”

(Soundtrack,  featuring the artists, by Steve Wickham)

Reflections of a naive empiricist

They say that news provides us with ‘a window on the world’, reflecting rather than constructing reality, informing us but never influencing us, never shaping our understanding. Apparently, it is a naturally occurring, neutral product, emerging from the objective position of the reporter whose primary duty is to gather the ‘material facts’  – the who, what, where, how and why of the story.

Of course, the reporter is much too busy to decide which facts are more important than others. It is just as well then that the facts speak for themselves, that they have a life, an intelligence of their own. The reporter only has to carry them back with care to the newsroom, place them lovingly in the magic, inverted triangle and watch with wonder as they order themselves within it.

However, we must be ever vigilant for there are those who can’t be trusted with the facts. We must never trust the academic who will question them and theorize endlessly about them in torturous jargon. We must never trust the spin-doctor who is interested only in the facts that suit him. We must never trust the citizen journalist who will order the facts in her own way, not having access to the magic triangle.

But most importantly of all, we must never trust the artist for she will tear the facts from their sacred place and render them how she pleases. She will re-present them, re-articulate them, re-arrange them in no particular order so that they speak for someone or no one at all, stripped as they are of their self-evident, objective authority.

Then what will we do without our window on the world?

Ad hoc: ELEPHANT in the room

While (sub)Text takes time out to think,  an elephant in Cork steps out of character and forgets where she left her car….

And her sister in India gets fed up with her old one…

Speaking of elephants….

Absent Father (Mixed Media - 400 x 600 mm. Sue Morris, 2011).

The World of Wonder exhibition by Sue Morris opens today in the Model Art Gallery, Sligo, and runs until 14 August. Inspired by an eponymous encyclopedia kept by the artist from childhood, World of Wonder is a multi-media installation that incorporates drawing, collage and sculpture to explore the territories of the real and the imagined. By referencing text and images from the encyclopedia, manipulating scale, colour and content, whilst deploying a pseudo-scientific style, the work re-enters the vistas of childhood from an adult standpoint. I am not an art critic but I found this exhibition to be very moving and thought-provoking so if you’re in the area or passing through, why not go and have a look? In the meantime, you can browse the artist’s website here.