Envoi & (Re)articulation

Envoi & (Re)articulation


Imprisoned by four walls

(to the North, the crystal of non-knowledge

a landscape to be invented

to the South, reflective memory

to the East, the mirror

to the West, stone and the song of silence)

I wrote messages, but received no reply.

by Octavio Paz

Curating the space

Craobh Rua House

Platonic Playthings

Labyrinth Mat

Memory Box

Silver ‘Emergency’ Flags

Sound Reliquary Box

Concepts, unknowns

by Susan Farrelly

Envoi’s are a farewell, a poem or ballad. This one by Mexican poet Octavio Paz appears on the first page of the book ‘The Production of Space’ by Henri Lefebvre. Pazs poem resonates deeply with me at this point in time, my art practice up to end Year 2 and the lockdown environment. I take inspiration from the words to aid visualising the spacial construction required for the Craobh Rua/TYB project. It was postponed due to C19 but now I am tasked with the role of ‘curating the look of the space’ [Slater 2020].

Lefebvre explains the difference between the product of space and the production of space. How can we make new space not just exist within created spaces? He says ‘social space is a social product’ – the Craobh Rua community house exists and is defined by the social history of Muirheavna Mor (Catagorised as a culturally deprived area in Dundalk). Having the community house to work in makes room for our team of artists to create a representational space that has meaning for the mother and baby group. In order for me to deliver a working concept for the production of this space, I needed to develop a concept that sheds light on the processes that are an inseparable product of that space.

Notebook – Sketch for floor plan for Craobh Rua

My proposed spacial construction is a function of the Craobh Rua environment. We have to notice the relationships within the space. The installation is a temporary space rooted in connections, observation, interpretation and artistic expression. It is not just my theoretical imaginings, but a living physical space, made and evolving through the ever changing intra-activity of audience. The labyrinth drawing is a mat to be sat upon. The Platonic Playthings are soft sculptures to be moved, played with.

Intra-actions between babies/mothers/artists and the relational objects, how we emerge as both activating and activated, performing and performed upon. Being there, doing things. The position of the relational objects not being static or fixed.

Floor Plan for Craobh Rua as a collage.

Things for me to consider – What is it about? What is happening during this time together. I propose to record authentic responses and reflect in a notebook immediately after the session. We will photograph ‘nodal’ important moments, important moments in the process of the group. These tasks will apply to all the artists participating.

My ‘agency’ during the session time will be constantly shifting. I will become performer-activator-animator-conductor through each new intra action. This process of perpetual becoming, unfolding excites and energizes me.

Since Year 2 I’ve been using Lefebvre and Barad’s frameworks to map the lived experience of my work (I will try to be more explicit about unpacking it in my writing). At Installations, the entanglements between matter and agency, between artist, audience and relational objects became the main inputs to this new work due to show in Craobh Rua in September. The Platonic Playthings were born of the communal drawings by the children. (Re)articulation (Barad 2003) in action? I sincerely hope so. We begin on September 8th.


https://aaex.artspark.ie/2020/01/20/aaex-installations-dundalk/ [Online Accessed 25.8.20]

Barad, Karen (2003) ‘Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter’,[PDF]

Barad, Karen (2007) Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham/London: Duke University Press [PDF]

Slater, J (2020) Craobh Rua Project Plan August 2020, Louth: Unpublished working document.