14 Dec 2011

Austin D. H. Ivers - On The Beach

On the Beach

New work by Austin D. H. Ivers

December 14th - January 7th

Opening reception - Saturday December 10th at 7pm

Gallery will be closed for Christmas between December 23rd - January 3rd

“People can’t touch. I can’t touch you. The idea of us touching enrages… To communicate, we resort to technologies. Analogue signals sent to tubes translate an idea from me to you. To do otherwise would be fatal. Such is this, our year 1981.”

In his new one person show, “On The Beach”, Austin D. H. Ivers continues his crippling fascination with imagined pasts and murky futures. Set in the early eighties, a series of interrogations are conducted, via CCTV. We cannot know what they are about or where they are taking place. There can be no meaning to this.

Austin is an artist and teacher based in Galway. He has shown and toured, most recently with Live8 and Tulca. This is only his third solo exhibition, the previous ones having in Cork and Tralee. Austin, along with Ben Geoghegan, co-founded 126, Artist-run Gallery.

4 Nov 2011

Gregory Sholette - The Imaginary Archive

Gregory Sholette - The Imaginary Archive

4th November - 20th November, 2011

Opening reception: Saturday 5th November, 6pm

126, Artist run gallery in association with Tulca 2011 is delighted to present new work by artist and writer Gregory Sholette for “After the Fall”. A critical international figure in the area of collectivity and artist-led activity and politics, Sholette has been collaborating with the 126 Gallery and its membership over the last number of months to re-visit the concept of the Imaginary Archive.

Imagine yourself uncovering a cache of materials and documents that record a past whose future never arrived? Imaginary Archive Galway (IAG) is just such a repository: printed materials, objects, and narratives that imagine an alternative history, which nevertheless sheds a surprisingly strong light on concrete realities. New York based artist Gregory Sholette invited participants from Galway, New Zealand, Europe, and the United States to produce this “what if” collection of archival materials addressing topics from forgotten Irish inventors and fantastic nation-branding campaigns, to uncharted offshore islands and mysterious pirate radio broadcasts. On display at 126 Gallery, IAG consists of under-represented, unknown, invisible, or merely hoped-for "historical" materials that point to multiple ways of interpreting the past, the present, and the future. For more information click here.

Gregory Sholette is a New York-based artist, writer, and founding member of the artists’ collectives Political Art Documentation/Distribution (PAD/D: 1980-1988), and REPOhistory (1989-2000). A graduate of The Cooper Union (BFA 1979), The University of California, San Diego (MFA 1995), and the Whitney Independent Studies Program in Critical Theory, his publications include Dark Matter: Art and Politics in an Age of Enterprise Culture (Pluto Press, 2011); Collectivism After Modernism: The Art of Social Imagination after 1945 (with Blake Stimson for University of Minnesota, 2007); and The Interventionists: A Users Manual for the Creative Disruption of Everyday Life (with Nato Thompson for MassMoCA/MIT Press, 2004, 2006, 2008), as well as a special issue of the journal Third Text co-edited with theorist Gene Ray on the theme “Whither Tactical Media.” Sholette recent exhibitions include Imaginary Archive (for the Tulca Festival in Galway, Ireland 2011, and for Enjoy Public Art Gallery in Wellington, New Zealand 2010); a contribution to Temporary Services Market Place for Creative Time’s Living as Form (2011); a two-person exhibition at the Santa Fe Art Institute in New Mexico (2011), and the installation “Mole Light: God is Truth, Light his Shadow” for Plato’s Cave, Brooklyn, New York (2010). Sholette is an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Queens College: City University of New York (CUNY), has taught classes at Harvard, The Cooper Union, New York University, and Colgate University, and teaches an annual seminar in theory and social practice for the CCC post-graduate research program at Geneva University of Art and Design.


Participating artists:
Niall Moore (Galway), Dave Callan (Galway), Simon Fleming (Galway), Roger O'Shea (Galway), Ben Geoghegan (Galway), Austin Ivers (Galway), Tiarnán McDonough (Galway), Paul Maye (Galway), Àine Phillips (Clare), Allan Hugues (Belfast), John Hulsey, Brian Hand (Dublin), Jeffrey Skoller (NY), Matthew F. Greco (NYC), Todd Ayoung (NY), Aaron Burr Society (NY), Yevgeniy Fiks (NYC), Maureen Connor (NYC), Johan Lundh and Danna Vajda (NYC/Sweden), Trust Art (NYC), Ellen Rothenberg (Chicago), Oliver Ressler (Austria), Markus Wetzel (Berlin), Murray Hewitt (NZ), Jeremy Booth (NZ), Grant Corbishley (NZ), Dara Greenwald & Josh McPhee (NYC), Bryce Galloway (NZ), Lee Harrop (Australia), Malcom Doidge (NZ) and White Fungus (Taiwan) working in collaboration with Imaginary Archivists Olga Kopenkina and Gregory Sholette (NYC).

Dark Matter: Art, Politics, and Imagination under Crisis Capitalism 
Talk by Gregory Sholette on Saturday 5th Nov at 12:00pm in Galway City Museum, Spanish Parade. For more information click here.

Contemporary Artists’ Collectives: Tactics, Models, and Imaginative Possibilities 
Workshop by Gregory Sholette on Monday 7th Nov from 10:30am - 4:30 pm,
Ground Floor Aras Na Gael, Dominic Street, Galway.
Places are extremely limited and booking is essential. For more information click here.

1 Oct 2011

Naheed Raza

Naheed Raza

October 5 - October 22

Opening reception: Saturday 1st October, 7pm

For her exhibition at 126, Naheed Raza will be showing recent film and photographic works arising from her micro-residency at the Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop between April-May 2011, which hint at the way sculptural ‘gestures’ might permeate culture, mediating many aspects of our experience. By considering activities involving highly physical, rapid and automatic gestures in the first instance and complex, painstaking ones on the other, the exhibition isolates moments of transformation and malleability in both art and the everyday.

Naheed Raza's background is in both Art and Science, having initially studied Medicine at Oxford University before switching to Fine Art, first at Chelsea College of Art and then at the Slade. Much of her practice, which spans sculpture, installation and film, explores the limits of knowledge and ideas relating to haptic and tacit awareness - a corporeal intelligence, which lures and locks the viewer into a complex relationship between eye, mind and material. The themes of weaving, spinning and drawing recur in her work with outcomes often heavily influenced by process.

Her recent works have been exhibited at the Centre for Contemporary Art Glasgow, the Edinburgh Film Festival, Bloomberg SPACE and the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Naheed is currently living and working in Edinburgh.

126 is generously supported by the Arts Council of Ireland, Galway City Council and its membership.

Exhibition runs: 5th October - 22nd October

Gallery hours: Wed - Sat, 1pm - 6pm


3 Sept 2011

Sensory Threshold

Image: Suzanne Dolan, Dining on Delicacies, 2011

Sensory Threshold

126 Annual Graduate Exhibition

Suzanne Dolan, Marie Dollard & Tina Hopp

September 3rd - September 24th 2011

Opening reception: Friday 2nd September 7pm
Artists talk: Friday 23rd September 8pm

126 presents 'Sensory Threshold', an exhibition of new work by three recent graduates from Galway & Mayo Institute of Technology and Limerick School of Art and Design. The title refers to the level of strength a stimulus must reach to be detected. This is comparable to the way that these emerging young artists have provided a powerful enough stimulus, in the form of their own work, to be detected and afforded this opportunity to make themselves apparent to a wider audience. Threshold can also refer to the point at which these artists find themselves in their artistic careers. The work, responding to themes of the abject and liminal spaces include sculptural work, painting, ceramic work and embroidery. Considering their recent transition this exhibition provides a platform for new processes, dialogue and interaction. The artists are at the beginning of their professional careers, and their personal visual language is tentatively starting to emerge and take form.

Suzanne Dolan

'An animal is defined as any living organism characterized by voluntary movement.’

In her work, Suzanne Dolan aims to use this broad definition to highlight our own skewed perception of animals and what we find acceptable to eat. She looks at the idea that it is more ethical to eat certain animals than others, as hypocritical and seeks to challenge the view that an animal and a piece of meat are two separate things. In her work, the hunter becomes the hunted. Suzanne graduated from LSAD this year with a degree in ceramics. She lives and works in Galway.

Marie Dollard

Marie Dollard exploits the decorative and accessible qualities of traditional embroidery and pairs them with the more grotesque, visceral experiences of the body. The resulting works deal with themes of attraction / repulsion and of feminine identity and aim to subvert the viewers’ expectations.
Marie Dollard was born in 1985 in Laois. She moved to Galway in 2007 to study painting in GMIT, receiving her BFA in 2011. Marie is currently working as a visual artist and divides her time between Laois and Galway.

Tina Hopp

'In Crisis'.

What happens in states of crisis, being confronted with the unexpected, with events that create high levels of uncertainty?

Tina Hopp’s current work explores notions of crisis and related phenomena such as fragility, failure, transformation and liminality. Liminal events refer to in-between situations and conditions that are characterized by the dislocation of established structures, the reversal of hierarchies, and uncertainty regarding the continuity of tradition and future outcomes.In playful and subtle ways, periods of scrutiny are invoked. Central values and axioms are questioned which lead to an instance where normal limits to thought, self-understanding, and behaviour are undone. In such situations, the very structure of society is temporarily suspended and reality or our perception of it is called into question.
Born in Germany in 1977 Tina Hopp is a visual artist based in the West of Ireland. She holds a BA Honours Degree in Painting from GMIT Galway. An interdisciplinary artist, Tina’s work includes painting, drawing, installation, sound, video, objects and performance. She is a member of the Kitchen Table Collective and is currently based in the Rosa Parks Studios, Galway.

6 Aug 2011

Padraig Robinson - 228 Lashes

5 August - 27 August 2011

228 Lashes is a project that uses the friction between text and object, language and identity, function and autonomy to trigger counteractive thinking. A major aspect of the project comprises of a theoretical essay Two Hundred and Twenty Eight Lashes in a once off print edition of 228, the edition number referring to a particular punishment. The whole edition will be displayed as a sculptural object where the individual essay booklets will be free to the viewers, initiating for the project a type of internal critique. The text approaches concepts relating to ideological ownership and surface politics, taking its starting point from implosive debates surrounding the implied identity category of two teenagers publicly executed in Iran in 2005. The appropriation of real, forgotten and unstable identity is a strategy that runs through the artist’s previous practice, a feature that in 228 Lashes confuses the space between poetic exploitation and cultural engagement. The two objects accompanying the text, the circular light-box sculpture Safe Semiotic and the gallery light alteration Monument to Aesthetic Justice / Justification, necessarily become mere emblems of ideas contained in the text, potentially creating an uneasy tension between the art object and the information it is intended to contain. The Two Hundred and Twenty Eight Lashes essay will only exist in printed form, as all digital traces will be deleted, removing the information from instantly reproducible electronic formats. While the project explores issues relating to communication and identification in the context of cybernetically affected culture, the production process seeks to create questions suggested by current trends in contemporary art production, in particular the contrasting of symbolic, abstracted and informative modes of communication.

Berlin based artist Padraig Robinson (1985) is a 2008 Fine Art Sculpture and Combined Media graduate from Limerick School of Art and Design. In 2011 Robinson will begin postgraduate research at the Dutch Art Institute (NL), funded by the Irish Arts Council. 228 Lashes is a project funded by Kildare County Council 2011, previous awards include an Irish Arts Council Bursary 2009, and a Horwath Bastow Charleton Graduate Travel Bursary 2008. In July 2011 the solo exhibition IDEOLECT was presented at the Centre For Endless Progress, Berlin, previous group and solo projects have been exhibited in Germany, Turkey, Ireland and the USA.

16 Jul 2011

Naheed Raza at Lismore Castle Arts

16 July to 14 August

Lismore Castle Arts in collaboration with 126 Gallery presents: Naheed Raza - Sand

Lismore Castle Arts: St Carthage Hall, Chapel Street, Lismore, Co. Waterford
Exhibition runs: 16 July to 14 August 2011, open Saturdays and Sundays 2 - 5pm
Launch: Saturday 16 July at 2pm

Lismore Castle Arts: St Carthage Hall is a new offsite project space in a former Victorian church hall. For 2011 Lismore Castle Arts has invited several artists and artist-led projects to curate an exhibition to coincide with the Still Life exhibition at the main gallery. Naheed Raza - Sand, curated by 126 Gallery, was recorded at the edge of The Empty Quarter in the United Arab Emirates, and is a meditation on the strange, silent power of the desert.  The transience, mobility and immersive quality of the shifting sand acts as a metaphor not only for time but also relates to thresholds of seeing, thinking and being.

Naheed Raza  (b. 1980, UK) is  an artist whose practice explores the tension between appearance and reality, and the elusive, often ambiguous nature of experience. Recent films have been exhibited at the Centre for Contemporary Art Glasgow, Edinburgh Film Festival, Bloomberg SPACE and the Royal Institution of Great Britain. Naheed is currently living and working in Edinburgh and holds a MA Fine Art from Slade School of Fine Art, University College London.

126 Gallery is Galway's and the west of Ireland’s first artist-led exhibition space. 126 was established in 2006 by local artists in their own living room as a response to the urgent need for more non-commercial gallery spaces in Galway. In the last ten years a diverse and internationally significant visual arts scene has emerged in Ireland. It is in this development that 126 plays an important role as the only permanent space in Galway that allows artists to experiment and take risks with their practice. Locating to a white-cube space, 126 invited local artists to form a Board based on the successful democratic style of Catalyst (Belfast) and Transmission (Glasgow). In 2009, 126 relocated to a larger, more prominent space on Queen Street in the city centre. 

Lismore Castle Arts, a not-for-profit initiative, was founded in 2005 with the aim of presenting and promoting internationally significant contemporary art to audiences in Ireland and beyond. The main gallery hosts one exhibition, of work by leading international artists, per year. Lismore Castle Arts: St Carthage Hall, a new venture for 2011, is sited in the town of Lismore and will be open every weekend from April to September.

12 Jul 2011

14 - 5 = 126, Galway Arts Festival

14 - 5 = 126

Alwyn Revill, Joe Nix, Alan Butler, Louise Manifold, David Beattie, Jonathan Sammon, Stefan Johansson, Karolin Reichardt and Maurits van Putten.

In association with the Galway Arts Festival

11 July - 24 July 2011

14 - 5 = 126 is an experimental artist led project that will take place in 126 Gallery, Queen Street, Galway. Over the course of nine days, coinciding with the Galway Arts Festival, nine artists - local, national and international, will work consecutively in the space from 6pm in the evening, until opening time, 1pm in the afternoon of the following day. As part of this progressive collective installation the artist will use the gallery to his or her maximum ability and may extend from floor, wall and ceiling.
The following evening the next artist will enter the space at 6pm and continue the process. The pattern is methodically repeated and the next chosen artist will work in the gallery also from closing time to opening time. Each artist will follow the steps made by the first artist. They may erase parts or the whole work, critique it, enhance it, react to the work or decide not to react at all. This cyclical process will develop discourses, open the gallery up like a sketchbook, challenge and question methods of working singularly and as a collective. Artists will work under a certain time constraint and within strict spatial limitations. The results cannot be planned. Questions of system, structures, hierarchy and the decision making process will be analyzed by this experimentally led nine day project.
This process will be repeated until the nine chosen artists have worked for nine consecutive days as part of 126 programme for the Galway Arts festival. Every day between 1pm and 6pm the result of each days work will be shown to the public. Webcams will also be in place throughout the project so the public can view the work as it unfolds in real time.
At the end of 14 - 5 = 126 there will be a reception held of the closing ‘opening’. It will be the culmination of the nine artists work. A documentary video projection will reflect the process throughout the nine days.

Opening reception: Monday 11th July, 7pm (Experimental minimalist set by Shane Burke)

Closing reception: Thursday 21st July, 7pm

Check out our Facebook page for more info and a live webcam feed of the project throughout the Galway Arts Festival.

24 Jun 2011

A Public Mosaic

Image credit: James Kennedy, 'GateWalls', UCD, 2011

A Public Mosaic

An experimental collaborative project of work by NCAD MA students, Art in Contemporary World and UCD MA Architecture students.

24 June - 2 July 2011

Opening reception: June 24, 7pm - 9pm

This collaborative process began with a series of discussion between UCD and NCAD students at Newman House opposite St. Stephens’ Green, Dublin. Over a period of weeks people worked in groups to develop an experimental collaborative process between visual arts, literature, sound, video, and architectural working methodologies. There was no set remit; it was open ended, debatable, and constructive as a work in progress.
NCAD and UCD became a mini collective in their approach to this project which manifested itself naturally through conversation, random dialogue, research, presentations and now finally at 126.This collaborative working group now have the opportunity to develop this project within the artist led experimental space. Contemporary Art offers the platform to represent this plurality through visual art, writing and architecture. Here collaborative strategies such as psycho geography, social play, appropriation, literature, music, intervention are employed to critique our sense of the public park, our sense of what a public space is. Visual artists often use this space in their practice while architects design and plan it. Through this embrace of common collaborative strategies can the combination of art and architecture find a new voice or discover the opportunity for a new world within our modern living?

27 May 2011

Beyond Guilt Trilogy - Ruti Sela and Maayan Amir

Beyond Guilt Trilogy

Ruti Sela and Maayan Amir

May 26 - June 18

Opening reception: May 26, 7pm - 9pm

The series Beyond Guilt addresses the undermining power relationship between the photographer and the photographed, men and women, the public domain and the private sphere, object and subject. As the film’s directors Sela and Amir take an active part in the event. They seduce the interviewees on the one hand, and turn the camera over to them on the other as part of the relationship between the photographer and subject.
The choice of pick-up bar services or hotel rooms as shooting locations strives to represent an underworld with its own language and signifiers. The quick encounter before the camera calls to mind the ephemeral nature of intimate relations, but above all the works allude to the influence of the occupation, terror and army as constitutors of an Israeli identity in the most private moments. The sexual identity and the military-political identity seem inseparably intertwined.

Through dealing with radical dispositions Sela and Amir observe the boundaries of the individual’s autonomy within the arrangement of forces and interests that surrounds them. Through the engagement with video they experiment with the construction of situations. They create environments. Their work juxtaposes the documentary idiom with fictitious interventions while interjecting areas of violence, aggression, submission and blind ideological obedience.
Ruti Sela and Maayan Amir have shown their works internationally including the Sydney Biennale (2006), the Istanbul Biennial (2009), the Berlin Biennial and Manifesta 8 (2010). In 2009 Amir and Sela developed the ‘Exteriority Project’. They received the UNESCO young artist award (2009).

27 Apr 2011

Artlessness: The Cultural Logic of Nonceptuality - Darren Barrett

Artlessness: The Cultural Logic of Nonceptuality

Darren Barrett

28 April - 21 May 2011

Opening reception: 28 April, 7pm - 9pm

Artists talk: 4 May, 12.30pm @ GMIT, Cluain Mhuire Campus

‘We represent nothing and as such have the latent potential to become anything'.

Anon, Of Nonceptuality, p 4, 1983

‘In every respect, Nonceptuality is a transgression. It puts law into question, it
denounces its nominal or general character in favour of a more profound and more artistic reality’.

Anon, Of Nonceptuality, p 37, 1983

Darren Barrett presents Artlessness: The Cultural Logic of Nonceptuality, an exhibition which strives to transmit something of the playful vitality of the artistic collective known as the Nonceptualists. The exhibition is comprised of a series of two and three dimensional works attributed to this clandestine group.

The Nonceptualist collective itself is composed of a geographically decentralised network of artists and theorists from a multitude of different nationalities. It has been in existence in one form or another for well over twenty years. During this span of time, it has produced a complex and expansive body of work and critical writings, deliberately eschewing the prevalent stylistic conventions dominant within the contemporary visual arts. The group has chosen to preserve its anonymity in order for its members to retain as much creative autonomy in their practices as possible and to prevent the transgressive spirit of the collective from becoming assimilated into the economic hegemony currently driving the art world.

Rejecting the lethargy and ennui of the mainstream artworld, precipitated by its rampant commercialisation, the central objective of Nonceptuality is to create an alternative environment where a proliferation of different styles and working methodologies can breath and cohabit, allowing visual and theoretical sources to be twisted, distorted and manipulated in a continuous process of aesthetic evolution and overcoming.

Darren Barrett is an artist currently based in Dublin. He graduated from the National College of Art and Design in 2007 with a BA in Fine Art (specialising in painting). He has had solo exhibitions in the Joy Gallery in Dublin (2009) and Basement Project Space in Cork (2011) and has also participated in numerous group shows throughout the country. His practice examines the issue of how we apprehend and evaluate the visual arts within the present age. His work operates within a metaphysical crevice situated somewhere between theory and practice The contemporary of a plethora of confident young emerging Irish artists, Barrett characterises his own artistic and intellectual position as that of a diverging artist and is currently living through what he describes ‘as the intermittently glorious years of onanistic solitude’.

21 Apr 2011

Community Skratch Games 2011

Community Skratch Games 2011

21 April - 22 April 2011

Thursday, 8.00pm

The opening night of Community Skratch Games 2011 sees the launch of Deviant & Naive Ted's "Send In The Hounds" 12", with performances from Deviant, Sebi C and improvised performance from the Community Skratch Players, including DJs Jimmy Penguin, Mikey Fingers and Tweek, alongside Galway musicians Tony Higgins, Andrew Madec and Simon Kenny.

"Send In The Hounds" is an Irish folk based record, created from a box of dusty old records, performed, compiled and arranged by hand with minimal digital manipulation. The first 50 12"s will come with individual inserts illustrated by designer JP Hartnett, a selection of whose work for Community Skratch will also be exhibited during the event.

Friday, 8.00pm

Special screening of "A Night at the Knitting Factory"

This concert movie, released in 2004, is renowned among skratch music practitioners as a defining moment in the development of turntable manipulation. It was a culmination of the musical possibilities hinted at by the so-called second wave of skratching, that of "turntablism". The concept of the "DJ band", first popularised by the Invisibl Skratch Picklz a decade before, had finally come to realisation.

The headline performance consists of seminal DJ crew the Beat Junkies performing tracks from the album "Phantazmagorea" by DJ D-Styles.

Community Skratch artwork, designs and photography will also be exhibited over the two days. On show will be a retrospective of Alis Klaar's retro themed posters for Community Skratch events, photography from past events by Niall O Brien and original ink paintings by Dan MacEoin in collaboration with music producer Jimmy Penguin.

Community Skratch is a not-for-profit collective of DJs, producers and artists promoting turntable manipulation and sample culture since 2007. For more information on Community Skratch please visit www.nozlrecordings.com

10 Apr 2011

What's the Point of Art Centres Anyway? Possibility, Art and Democratic Deviance.

To all those who may be interested in taking part in the 126 reading group on Thursday April 14th, here is the text to be discussed.  If you're interested in taking part we'd appreciate it if you could let us know beforehand by email, so we can have an idea of the numbers attending.

Charles Esche

What's the Point of Art Centres Anyway? – Possibility, Art and Democratic Deviance.

The fall of the Soviet Communist party and the unconcealed rule of capitalist-democratic state on a planetary scale have cleared the field of the two main ideological obstacles hindering the resumption of a political philosophy worthy of our time: Stalinism on one side, and progressivism and the constitutional state on the other. Thought thus finds itself, for the first time, facing its own task without any illusion and without any possible alibi. (Giorgio Agamben, 'Notes on Politics' in Means without Ends, University of Minnesota Press, 2000 p109)
Agamben sets out with the utmost clarity the position under which we labour. We are increasingly without illusions when it comes to the anachronistic way contemporary society chooses to negotiate its oppositions and find sufficient consensus to continue. Today, we cannot fail to see socialism as a failure, can only see social democracy for the broken compromise it is, and bend the knee to planetary democratic capitalism only because it's the last idea left standing. In return, the neo-conservative evangelists do their utmost to take advantage of this (hopefully brief) moment.

The question Agamben's introductory quotation begs is where and how can thought face 'its own task' to construct a renewed political philosophy. For the field of modern art, the old politics of the left could be imagined as a kind of anti-matter universe - alluring in its familiarity to many artistic concerns but constantly threatening the destruction of its cherished freedom. The shifts of modern and even very recent art oscillated between a desire for social (and political) engagement and a passion for artistic autonomy, yet both extremes were found wanting. The art centres, museums and galleries have usually simply been the vessels within which this activity is housed. Occasionally however, the places where art happens have also been the creative engines for a rethinking of the categories of visual art and the role of artists; of how visual culture can alter personal consciousness, and even change the world.

If we start to imagine a contested cultural future, it might be that this latter possibility is the one we need to re-energise, even as we acknowledge that it is dependent on a collaborationist engagement with institutions by 'free' artists. This difficult terrain between engagement and autonomy or social ambition and the subjective psyche are what we have been trying to explore at Rooseum over the last three years. With varying degrees of success, projects like In 2052 Malmö will no longer be Swedish, Open Forum and the Future Archive, as well as exhibitions such as Intentional Communities, Baltic Babel, Superflex, Creeping Revolution and Rooseum Universal Studios, have been our way of testing out an initial challenge to rethink the purpose of and the audience for this provincial Swedish Kunsthalle. Rooseum is, of course, not unique in these ambitions but it's relatively isolated, small city base in a historically social democratic state provides a particular environment in which the reality of social engagement outside the art world can be tested intensively.

I am aware that the claim of privilege on behalf of art institutions carries dangers; not least that capitalism's toleration of culture is simply a device to divert resistance away from more pertinent activities. Yet, in this situation of Agamben's political Stunde Nul, or what the Slovenian thinker Slavoj Zizek has called a 'Denkverbot' to exclude all thinking beyond democratic capitalism, I am not sure that any of the existing formal or informal political channels of opposition have any kind of purchase on the system either. Art is, after all, not the same as politics and cannot be seen as political action by other means. Instead, paraphrasing Agamben, it has 'to face its own task without any illusion'. I am hopeful that such a task could be defined within the experimental institutions, using the broad field of contemporary art to be a permissive and imaginative space for expressing individual and collective desires that could not be accommodated, or even thought of, within current political discourses. Of course, the artists, the public institutions and the self-made artists spaces that produce and promote art are all necessarily located within the economic hegemony of capitalism. They are always already compromised but that compromised position is potentially their very advantage. They stand in an 'engaged autonomous' relationship to capitalism, as much as to political opposition or movements for social change – complicit but fenced off, in ways that define both art's irrelevance and also its possibility to become, in Superflex's terms, 'tools' for thinking and relating.

The term possibility seems a vital one to use in relation to such issues. It is the concept (and the challenge) of creating possibility for the artist, for the audience and perhaps also for the city and citizens where we are based that drives our ideas at Rooseum. Possibility is, in these terms, simply a condition that leads to thinking differently or imagining things otherwise than they are. Creating possibility is not a fixed point of view but a slippery and changeable condition made of spatial, temporal and relational elements. In other words, for possibility to emerge there needs to be a site, a moment and a group of people – material that is obligingly in the hands of public art institutions with their potential appeal to a wide spectrum of society.

The creation of possibility has also little in the way of precedents in the current climate. There are no obvious formulas to follow, although the frequent talk these days of laboratories and factories gives us the beginnings of certain kinds of models from science and industry. I am however, rather uncertain about these terms as they seem to exclude a position for a visiting public – both labs and factories being be definition private productive sites. To use the institution at its best, we need to balance the need for private experimentation with public discussion, especially as the forums for a generalised intervention are reducing as public space is privatised. Art and its institutions need to move in an opposite direction if they are to play the role of political imagination forum.

If the art institution today has the potential to become such a place, it must begin by being defined its constituent social actors in more complex ways than artists, curators and viewers and to imagine new forms of exchange between them. I would like to imagine that the Rooseum and similar organisations become spaces of 'democratic deviance', where ideas that are beyond what Zizek's defines as the Denkverbot are contributed from all participants and issues are raised over a longer period than a single exhibition event. The task of the institution would then mutate to some extent, to become one of clear communication of its own agenda to encourage art 'to face its own task' or think beyond free market capitalism, followed by hospitality towards artistic proposals, as well as direct invitations, and generosity in the dialogues that result. Only after investing in such a process would the organisation of space and time and outspoken approval for those ideas that seem to take the agenda furthest follow.

The practical application of such an approach is, of course, always disappointing in some ways. Reality can never match the rhetoric though it does not mean that the rhetoric itself is not needed, indeed cannot inspire more ambitious and more carefully thought out projects in the specific conditions of an actual Kunsthalle. At Rooseum, I believe a number of projects have approached moments of genuine possibility or democratic deviance. To describe them in text is of course inadequate, but it might offer some idea of where we have got to over three years of operation. In early 2001, I defined the new mission of Rooseum as follows:
"What's the point of an institution like Rooseum? It's tempting to say 'to offer hope, faith and charity in complicated times' but it's too glib. Some time ago it seemed that art institutions might find themselves constrained by the modifier 'art' and its popular meanings. Now, the term 'art' might be starting to describe that space in society for experimentation, questioning and discovery that religion, science and philosophy have occupied sporadically in former times. It has become an active space rather than one of passive observation. Therefore the institutions to foster it have to be part community centre, part laboratory and part academy, with less need for the established showroom function. They must also be political in a direct way, thinking through the consequences of our extreme free market policies. Secondary questions are whether individual institutions will have the courage to find their own balance in this mix or follow the old centre-periphery model and whether funders can be persuaded to drop the touristic justification for art institutions in favour of increasing creative thinking and intelligence(s) in society. These are the things we will try to deal with over the next years. The first step is to re orientate the direction of the organisation through shifting the identity of the architecture of the old electricity works. The three levels will be separated in terms of function with studios and a project room upstairs, a main hall for large scale exhibitions and productions on the ground floor and an archive and micro cinema downstairs."

Three years on, Rooseum has developed its different strands of activity to achieve something close to that mix of community centre, club, academy and showroom that we originally proposed. While keeping the headcount level, our users have radically changed. Today there are fewer general visitors and many more specifically engaged groups or individuals working with us on projects or returning to see the development of long-term programmes. I am confident that this is the right direction for Rooseum to continue in the future. Based in Malmö, we should take account of the ecology of exhibition and artistic spaces around us, as well as the unique character of the city itself. With a Konsthall and Konstmuseum, as well as a number of smaller exhibition and cinema spaces, the city is well off for 'art shows' relative to its size. With the University and Art Academy, it has a thriving younger audience who have time and curiosity enough to become involved in more complex programmes of activity. With an important community of citizens with close links to cultures outside Sweden, the value of international cultural exchange on the micro-level hardly needs to be explained. As the birthplace of Swedish social democracy, the city can be confident of taking a progressive role in re-imagining the cultural politics of the nation.

Projects and exhibitions like "Superflex – Supertools" and "Baltic Babel – cities on a nervous coast" as well as the long term residency and commissioning programme "In 2052 Malmö will no longer be Swedish" delivered a critical view on public engagement, regionalism and cultural identity. Other initiatives have been developed in the light of the 'real existing' Malmö, concentrating on the different elements that we have observed in the city and its history. The 'Öppet Forum" programme of local groups who develop their own activities within one space at Rooseum has seen activities from furniture design to a very important initiative called 'Curiocity' organised by the group Aeswad that really introduced many marginalised communities to Rooseum and to the possibilities of cultural activity to make themselves heard. In a different sense, our Critical Studies international study programme creates an international local context, and gives Rooseum 8-12 young artists, curators and critics to contribute to the pool of ideas and projects around the organisation. Many of the approaches we have taken prioritise the long- term and the quiet persistence of artistic work, rather than the spectacle of the exhibition. The intention has been to make the residencies, study initiatives, open forum projects and small presentations or screenings of work into the life-blood of an active, thinking Rooseum attached to the city in a myriad of intimate. Small-scale ways.

The question this begs concerns the purpose of an art institution in a particular place, if not the purpose of art itself. I would maintain that art spaces have a duty to be demonstrably different from the kinds of public spaces dedicated to consumption that have invaded the centres of our cities. There, the displays take on some of the aspects of visual art in their seductive, tempting and luscious attraction. However, as presentations dedicated to a single end – individual purchase – there is a limit to their possible effect on our imagination and thinking. They are aesthetic devices at the service of a predetermined motivation and therefore at odds with any idea of artistic freedom, however compromised that now may be.

Public spaces like Rooseum should seek to engage with that idea of freedom – challenge it and critique it for sure, but still suggest the idea of a society of free thinking citizens as a possible reality, if only for a particular moment and in a certain place. The freedom we propose is one that encourages disagreement, incoherence, uncertainty and unpredictable results. It is also grounded in the locality of its production, and a proposal for what might be needed here. To make sense of that for the visitor requires hospitality above all, but also recognition of the difficulty of asking for people's time and energy in our hyperactive society. That's why it has to be done modestly, over time and in relation to the city itself. It is not good enough to devise a good international programme in isolation; instead what we do must address the separate micro-communities that make up the city.

This is an undoubtedly demanding agenda for a small and relatively weak institutional frame. Yet, it might only be as such a space that an institution might even begin to imagine justifying new or continued public funding. Within the various forms of European socialism and social democracy, exhausted by years of unrelenting attack from the free market fundamentalists, there is little desire to continue to prop up the bastions of what are called 'elitist' cultural institutions. The withdrawal of funding may happen suddenly or gradually, but it is more than likely. In response, those committed to culture as a testing ground for the future are required to refashion our tools. The economic contribution argument will not work in the long term, because the social democratic state will simply privatise culture and let it battle it out with other forms of consumer entertainment. Perhaps only as identified and acknowledged spaces of 'democratic deviance' can cultural palaces be justified at all in the twenty first century, not least to the culturally active themselves.

'Let's see what happens: Part 2'

Here we go again!

126 Artist run gallery invites you to:

'Let's See What Happens: Part 2'

April 12th - April 16th

@ 126 Gallery, Queen Street, Galway

After the great success of the first ‘Let’s see what happens’ week, 126, Artist run gallery is again transforming its Queen Street gallery space into a hub of events for another week this April. Hosting a range of educational, unusual, fun and informative events the board aims to move away from its usual pattern of consecutive exhibitions and open up the space to different kinds of happenings. 126 is looking to explore new possibilities for the gallery and step beyond it's usual comfort zone to 'see what happens' as a result. All are welcome and events are free unless otherwise stated.

Tuesday April 12th

TerriBAD Movie Night DOUBLE FEATURE: The Room + Birdemic: Shock & Terror

€5 / €3 for members

126 & artist-led initiative Angry Hammers present the TerriBAD Movie Night a double feature of infamous films so bad they're good. The evening kicks off with James Nguyen's Birdemic: Shock & Terror, a romantic thriller in which a small town comes mysteriously under attack from eagles and vultures, but who will survive Birdemic? From Wikipedia: "
Birdemic has been noted for its poor quality."

The main feature for the evening is a screening of notorious cult film The Room variously described as "so very bad that it becomes riveting" and "the Citizen Kane of bad movies". Written, directed, produced and starring auteur Tommy Wiseau, this film has to be seen to be believed. Don't forget your spoons.

BYOB. Popcorn will be provided and shouting at the screen is encouraged.

Proceeds from the evening go towards Angry Hammer's inaugural exhibition In The Asphalt City, a group exhibition of Galway based talent practising in the field of contemporary visual art coming this July.

Wednesday April 13th

'It Was All A Bit Black & White' - Live audiovisual performance.
7pm – 11pm

It Was All A Bit Black & White are a post rock, experimental instrumental band. By using loop stations, effects pedals, and synthesizers, they look to create a rich, textured atmospheric sound and move away from more conventional ideas of what a rock band should sound like.
Their performance in 126, entitled ‘Birds’, will be made in conjunction with visual artists Steven McGovern and Matthew Sutton, as the group create a one-off, improvisational audio visual collage in the Queen Street gallery space.


Thursday April 14th

Artist Led Reading Group
2pm - 4pm

An artist led reading group, steered by board member Victoria Smith, will meet to discuss What is the point of Art Centres Anyway?  126 members, artists from Engage studios, Arts Space studios and directors various of art spaces in and around Galway will be among the participants.  The talk is also open to all members of the public, to take part in or observe.  Please email contact@126.ie to indicate your interest in participating in this reading group to receive the text in advance of the reading group, all members welcome. The text will also be availbe at www.126.ie
Refreshments provided.
How can thought face 'its own task'
The fall of the Soviet Communist party and the unconcealed rule of capitalist-democratic state on a planetary scale have cleared the field of the two main ideological obstacles hindering the resumption of a political philosophy worthy of our time: Stalinism on one side, and progressivism and the constitutional state on the other. Thought thus finds itself, for the first time, facing its own task without any illusion and without any possible alibi(Giorgio Agamben, 'Notes on Politics' in Means without Ends, University of Minnesota Press, 2000 p109)
The art centres, museums and galleries have usually simply been the vessels within which this [Art] activity is housed. Occasionally however, the places where art happens have also been the creative engines for a rethinking of the categories of visual art and the role of artists; of how visual culture can alter personal consciousness, and even change the world. 
Charles Esche  What's the Point of Art Centres Anyway? – Possibility, Art and Democratic Deviance. [Text]

Adapt Galway presents:
What are you thinking?”
An evening of art and events in alternative spaces

Seminar and Discussion
7.30 - 9.30pm

126 hosts an evening talks and discussion concerning Adapt Galway and the potential use of slack spaces by the creative sector in Galway city.  Joining us to provide their insight and experience of working with similar projects around the country, will be representatives from other artist led initiatives including Occupy Space in Limerick, Exchange Dublin Collective Arts Centre. Dr Patrick Collins of NUIG and the Western Development Commission will also be speaking along with Lise Ann Sheahan, formerly the driving force behind the Creative Limerick initiative.  
Coinciding with the talks and discussions, a collaborative exhibition will be held in the Niland Galley, Merchants Road, curated by Austin Ivers, lecturer in GMIT, comprising of artists from the various Adapt coalition members.  The Niland Gallery is an Engage Art Studios project and is made possible by the generous support of the Niland family

Eight Bar and Restaraunt will be launching Transforming Ireland, an exhibition this by Carol Anne Connolly
Adapt Galway is a coalition of visual arts organisations. These groups are working together to create a united vision for the visual arts in Galway.
Adapt GalwayLorg Printmakers, Artspace and A-Merge, and has been endorsed by Tulca Season of Visual Art, Average Arts, MART, Féach Steering Committee, Live@EIGHT, and welcomes the support of other interested organization involved with visual arts in Galway.

Adapt Galway has to date identified and supports the following key campaigns:

1. The use of appropriate vacant spaces in the city centre for creative purposes.

2. The development of a temporary Centre for Contemporary Art (Féach) in the docklands in the next 2 years. With the aim of creating a permanent Centre in the same area.

3. The re-purposing of the Connaught Laundry as a working arts facility to house Lorg, Groundworks, a sculpture centre, residential studios, meeting rooms, offices, exhibition space and more. This can be achieved in a phased development and would facilitate the sharing of resources and information in the visual arts.

4. The creation of a festival of independent practice that for a month freely associates groups of artist-led projects.

Friday April 15th

Micheál Conlon - 'Parking Area Strategy Development (Undergoing Steady Modernisation)'
9pm – 3pm
From 2001 to 2005 a young ambitious male worked a regular nine to five, forty-hour shift from Monday to Friday. He did not work weekends as the premises was closed and during the week received all legal daily lunch breaks in accordance with the national employment rights authority. He was paid the minimum wage and availed of his four working weeks paid annual leave for his holidays. This company had an irritating problem with public commuters benefiting from the spacious car-park on their premises and so hired this employee to deter motorists from taking advantage of their facilities. His solution was to deny entry to the public by holding a twenty-foot rope across the entrance from his work cabin, which obstructed the motorists and only allowed access to those of his discretion. Upon receiving his minimum amount of notice before his dismissal, he was commended and praised on both his work ethic and inventiveness by the company.

Mitch Conlon presents satirical and absurd socio-political anthropological investigations into the delusions that our society place their certainty in. The misconception of the community that their alternative at puzzle-solving is a legitimate auxiliary option can contribute to a collapse. By searching to dismantle the flux and folly of these systems, Conlon’s work is presented in flippant deadpan performative interventions that highlight this sense of isolation and confusion.

Ann Maria Healy - 'SpeakERR'
4pm – 6pm

To err: To be mistaken, to be incorrect, to go astray in thought or belief

SpeakERR is a new performance by Galway based visual artist Ann Maria Healy about how perspective can fuel isolation. It explores an inability to communicate, fears of saying the wrong thing, the futility of waiting until you know you're right.

Ann Maria Healy is a visual artist based in Galway, Ireland. Graduating from Galway & Mayo Institute of Technology in 2009 with a first class honours in fine art, sculpture, her practice includes live performance, installation and photography. Her work explores the bodies’ relationship to space and time, in particular focusing on cycles, how they affect and shape our lives. She has shown both nationally and internationally, recent work includes Amanda Coogan’s, Yellow – Re-performed as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival, Right Here Right Now - Irish Performance Art at Kilmainham Gaol and a residency at the Live Art Development Agency in London.

Fergus Byrne - 'Loop'
7pm – 8pm

The performance Loop uses intense physical activity and spoken text to create a dense layering of experience in a relatively short space of time. Byrne’s interest in the practice of stillness, life modelling and the examination of movement have produced this work which uses, as sound accompaniment, ‘I am sitting in a room’ by Alvin Lucier and found text from 19th century medical documentation of Eadweard Muybridge’s studies of human and animal locomotion.

Saturday April 16th

Fergus Byrne - 'Duet drawing'
11am – 2pm

This drawing workshop explores the possibilities within partner drawing.
What can be learnt from another person’s hand?
How much do we take for granted in our own way of drawing?
How close can we get to seeing with another person’s eyes?
The session will commence with a physical warm up to loosen the body before people begin to work on drawing. Please wear loose fitting clothes in which you can move. Physical work will not be too strenuous but a willingness to participate is essential.
20 places available
Fee: €10
To take part, contact: contact@126.ie

126 Karaoke and Kinect Evening!
6pm – late

To round off the week, 126 will be hosting an evening of fun, frolics and bad singing! Come along and have a go belting out some of your favourite hits on the 126 jukebox with our evening of karaoke. Or for those less keen on displaying their singing talents (or lack thereof!) have a go on the X-Box Kinect game which uses a camera and fancy new motion sensing technology to put YOU in to the actual game!

For more information on any of these events, email contact@126.ie or check our Facebook page  http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=59630853618