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Hotel Ballymun - Uplifting Art or Poverty Tourism?

category dublin | arts and media | feature author Monday April 02, 2007 17:48author by ex Shanliss Report this post to the editors

featured image
Ballumun tower block

"Hotel Ballymun" is "a unique short stay hotel" which is open to the public between 31st of March to the 27th of April 2007. It is located on the top floor of the Clarke Tower, one of the last remaining tower blocks in Ballymun, an impoverished suburb in North Dublin which has been extensively "regenerated" over the last few years.

The project was commissioned by Breaking Ground, the Ballymun Regeneration per cent for art scheme and it intends to "re-consider the utopian architecture of 1960’s Ballymun and encourage the practice of salvaging and re-imagining objects, spaces and resources from the past, which can be re-used inventively to meet contemporary needs."

However, the project is not without its critics. One indymedia contributor has launched a brutally frank attack on the project and similar artistic endeavours in the suburb, likening them to "showing an episode of "MTV Cribs" in deepest sub-saharan Africa - as if to say, here is what we have in our part of the world, you have none of this, we bet you'd like it but you're poor so fuck you."

New: an alternative view in photo story from hotel ballymun

Related Links: Hotel Ballymun Website | Affordable Housing in Ballymun: affordable for whom? | Out of site, Out of mind -Travellers in Ballymun | Open Forum meeting about Traveller accommodation in Ballymun | Ballymun Locals Take Action Against Privatisation | VIDEO: "mmm skyscraper i love you..." McDermott Tower comes crashing down in Ballymun | Residents protest in Ballymun | From Ballymun to Los Angeles - public housing residents meet at the Project Arts Theatre

from the newswire: "Hotel Ballymun" can go and fuck itself.

As per usual the Breaking Ground 1% people manage to piss off and unexcite the local residents in equal measure with their "cutting edge" condescending art-wank. Several years ago I had the misfortune to cycle up to a projection "installation" being shown on the side of one of the 4-storey blocks near the old roundabout by some artistes. It was images of the city centre - with no sound - being put up on the side of the building. What exactly is the point of this? I heard myself asking. I read the blurb, some sort of bullshit nonsense about showing the divide between the city and Ballymun. Great, like as if it needed reinforcement. It struck me as the equivalent of showing an episode of "MTV Cribs" in deepest sub-saharan Africa - as if to say, here is what we have in our part of the world, you have none of this, we bet you'd like it but you're poor so fuck you.

The latest nonsense, Hotel Ballymun, seems to be nothing but an exercise for richer people to come out and sample the views from the last tower without ever having to actually interact with any real people (bar the very small population of people already involved in the arts there via Axis etc who show up to these events). I nearly pissed myself laughing when I heard that the "exhibition" had to be postponed for a week because of safety concerns over people going up in the tower. Strange that, for years the lifts were always problematic but there was a similar amount of concern for the residents there.

If I recall correctly I saw an ad in one of the national broadsheets a couple of weeks ago advertising this project. I talked about it to a friend from Balcurris a few days later because I hadnt heard anything else about, and she said that she was amused because apparently the "guests" at this hotel have swipe cards to get in through a secure door, there's a reception desk, and a 24 hour concierge/security at the door to ensure the safety of people there - something she wasnt afforded while she was living in a flat before she got a shared ownership house reasonably close.

This big, professionally graphically designed ad in the paper couldnt have contrasted more sharply with a report from the Northside People (scanned in and attached below) recently about one of the last families to be left in the Thomas Clarke tower while waiting for their house to be finished. Lana McCarthy talked about how the flat below her was set on fire, after the front door of the block was left open and people got into a vacant unit. No 24 hour concierge for them, obviously. She rightly castigates the Hotel Ballymun experiment, saying its light hearted nature is in stark contrast to the shit that they have to put up with every day.

"Dont be so negative" I hear you saying. "Ballymun needs art along with its regeneration". Yep - thats fair enough. But the way that it usually works is that an artist from outside the area, usually with incredibly grand notions about "the inherent decay of urban space in the socio-economic processes of neoliberal blah blah whatsit marxist interpretation of concrete etc etc", is drafted in by the arts council to supposedly push the boundaries of art yet at the same time fulfil their duty to involve "the community", which basically involves the curating artist(s) dictating their big idea to the people and how they're going to be a part of it, via meetings and workshops. Once the piece or event is finished, the artists packs his bag with a "I went to Ballymun and involved the community" stamp on his CV, and the process begins again a year or two later, with pretty much minimal local involvement at the top level.

"So whats your solution then?" I dont have one. I dont live in Ballymun and I never lived in the Clarke Tower so I cant authentically say what way I'd feel about loads of curious strangers coming over and poking around in my home I used to live for years like an empty zoo, or what way I'd like it to be artistically interpretated or used. But I like the idea that Des Bishop had for his recent comedy show - no, not the one about getting a workshop going, but going out into the street, picking up wandering young lads who were messing about, and filming them with an angle grinder in an abandoned flat. Bishop isnt my favourite comedian but he made the good point that most of the people who come to these trendy art workshop things in Ballymun are the people that are already "saved", what about those that arent? Anto or Mick or Paula can do good graffiti, fix a car or a bike, or are handy with tools but because they cant read, they're told they're "illiterate" and hence that's the end of the line for them.

How about an art scheme or event that involves them? They get turned loose on the tower with a thousand cans of flourescent UV spray paint and scaffolding all around it on the exterior, and get paid to write or draw whatever they want every day for a week, with a big curtain covering their efforts. Just before the tower gets imploded, the curtain is taken down for half an hour, so everyone gathered around for the implosion gets to see their work (every tower implosion brings thousands of watchers, from all around the local area). So what if its crude, haphazard and not as cutting edge as you might like - when anyone starts out making art their first piece isnt a Picasso, everyone has to start somewhere. The public get to see it and the "artists" get a life-affirming buzz when that curtain comes down off the tower as people applaud and cheer their work before the building comes down, maybe opening their eyes up to an art world that is in reality a million miles away from their lives.

Art doesnt always have to be about changing society but when hordes of bangwagon jumpers arrive en masse into a rougher part of town because the art event has been billed as "urban" or "gritty" you have to ask questions about what exactly is the point of this all. Is it so people involved in higher-thinking activities or comfortable backgrounds can assuage their guilt about having zero involvement with the area up until this point (when the possibility of further arts council funding is dangled there like a golden carrot in front of their noses)? Once its over everyone will go home with a brief satisfaction in their thinking they "know" Ballymun now, or at least they saw it. Meanwhile once the show's rolled out of town, the local residents will just get on with their usual daily lives (and protesting regularly against the delays of BRL), only four or five miles up the road from town but metaphorically a million miles away from the world of "art", its patrons, and its condescending attitude wrapped in a layer of involvement or experimentation.

nsidepeoplepage1.jpg

nsidepeoplepage2.jpg

author by funny ha hapublication date Sun Apr 01, 2007 22:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In the Ballymun episode there was a really funny bit where he's with those guys, and the guy actually does "MTV Cribs" with the abandoned flat, pure spontaneous comic genius, shows there's real talent there

author by Tadhgpublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 00:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In the late 1980's I spent some time in Ballymun (McDermott Tower). Wasn't brilliant, but I've lived in worse places. I really liked the free heating in the winter.

I am very dubious about the whole Breaking Ground project, which has in the past involved artists being parachuted in, doing their thing, and leaving. The projects involving trees are a particularly egregious example of someone using art as a form of social engineering, while the developers think that the involvement of a well known artist will help with the gentrifiication of the area.

However there have been goood things in amongst the Breaking Ground work. Art isn't easy, and most of the art you see iisn't very good. Using art to do things like propagating political views, or raising property prices, usually doesn't come off, either for the artist, or for those who want to use their work. But sometimes the odd thing makes it through the meat grinder of the whole process.

I'm hoping the hotel project will work. Maybe it won't, but it'll be interesting to see, and will provide people like me with a little sentimental journey back to when we used to live on cheap food from Crazy Prices. I'll check it out and come to my own conclusions. For wha it's worth I think the headline on this article is over the top, and tells us more about the prejudices of the author than the art ort the politics of Ballymun.

author by wageslavepublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 02:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

re: des bishop ballymun "cribs" clip
can anyone put it up on youtube and post a link here?. might be funny :)

I agree totally mr ex. I hate pseudo bohemian losers, artists slummin' it loike for the cv and grant money, and the sad empty rich people who pay for an insulated "poverty experience".

Poverty is shite. You can't glamourise it. Sometimes I just think that many artists have their heads up their holes. And can you imagine these other sad bastards who stay there, afterwards sipping on their fine wine and musing knowingly about their ballymun experience. Its like a kind of sick porn. Bunch of art-holes and sad empty vultures the lot of them.

In the spirit of art , Here's the bit of musical "art" that really sums up high rise living well for me:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV27hJ6bh8o

the song is mile end by pulp.
I think It makes an ideal theme song for the project.
it should be piped into all the flats for the duration.
(video is irrelevant). just listen to song and lyrics. Really catchy tune :)
share and enjoy

while you're at it, why not pipe in that other old pulp favourite "common people"
seems pretty relevant too
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8GGAFTClSQ

Also recommended, "home sweet home" by peter gabriel from his second album. sad one :(
( it aint on youtube alas but heres an emule link )
ED2K link

also short but very relevant, "nothing to do around here" by patrik fitzgerald (alas not available)

Anyone else got any good "highrise livin'" or "poverty" tunes that they'd recommend?

What the hell, lets make up a cool "highrise" CD for rich folks to remember their experience by. Only e15.99, all proceeds to bertie's re-election campaign, in recognition of his party's novel efforts at providing quality housing to the poor; quickly, cheaply and efficiently.

Related Link: http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/pulp/mileend.html
author by c murp - napublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 03:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To make the comparison of ‘installation’ in Ballymun to equivalent of showing an episode of "MTV Cribs" in deepest sub-Saharan Africa points to some pretty dodgy assumptions and predigest on the part of this Author.

If you have opinions and ‘possible ideas’ about a better public art scheme, why don’t you stay at the hotel and air your opinions. (It’s free) That’s the idea you see!!!

Your alternative suggestion of getting ‘Anto or Mick or Paula’ to do some graffiti sounds pretty patronizing to me. I feel you need to examine your own gaze in regards to what you consider the ‘real’ people of Ballymun. This more suitable art piece you propose seems to me, informed by some shallow, MTV esque idea of rebellion.

This artist has made consistently interesting work in the past few years that in different forms creates the space for other possibilities of other ways of being exchanging and living. (Im much the same way as this website does) You should at least try some degree of subtle thinking before you lambasted this project.

It doesn’t surprise me that you would champion mindless crap like Des Bishop as more interesting art. After all, ye both paint a similar patronizing caricature of the people you purport to care about.

author by MGpublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 15:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Excellent article. Having talked to a good few locals about this project they are all united in the belief that this project is a waste a money and insulting to the people who lived in the flats.

As for c murph "This artist has made consistently interesting work in the past few years that in different forms creates the space for other possibilities of other ways of being exchanging and living. (Im much the same way as this website does)"
Its a big insult to indymedia to compare that artist to the indymedia project, clearly what you are trying to do is (undeservedly) trying to build up a little known artist. The indymedia project is participated in by 300,000 people per month. Hotel ballymun will have how many? 300. The Hotel ballymun project is a waste of money and is for pseudo intellectuals to "enjoy" the flats of ballymun in a "safe" environment. It offers no intellectual merit other than showing the massive cultural gulf between the "bourgeois artists" and the "working class". And c murph as bad as I think Des Bishop is he will always have more respect from people than the hotel ballymun people and comments like this "It doesn’t surprise me that you would champion mindless crap like Des Bishop as more interesting art" just show you up for presuming yourself to be an intellectual snob when in fact you are merely reinforcing the seterotypical image of these "artistes" and their fans being people with their head shoved firmly up their ass. Wonderful imagery!

author by Marlboro Manpublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 15:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here is an analogy for the bourgeois artiste pseudo-philantropist mindset.

Hotel Ballymun is akin to the fabled 'celtic tiger' in that it takes crushing poverty, gives it a lick of paint and call it progress.

It will be like a museum of deprivation, devoid of the realities of the hardship endured by the ordinary people of the flats further pushing the need to tackle these massive problems from the minds of the chatterers.

author by Andre Bretonpublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 16:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You just have to slag off anyone who tries to do anything to make Ballymun look better. You would be happier to see it viewed as a dump inhabited by hoodies and junkies. These innovative artists should be supported rather than sneered at.

Local residents and community gropus were consulted about this project and supported it. It also had the support othe local branch of the PBPA. I cannot fathom where this tripe is coming from. I doubt if the author was ever within an asses bawl of Shanliss.

author by MGpublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 16:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So Andre the point of the project is to "make Ballymun look better". Really? so the money that was given for this project which is only lasting a short time was given to make Ballymun look better. A couple of flower pots would have acheived that end and a good bit cheaper too.

And André who stated that " You would be happier to see it viewed as a dump inhabited by hoodies and junkies" Stating this shows that it is you who view it as a dump and you must be terrified of those scary hoodies, hopefully they will stay away from your area.

Also you should be very careful in saying that "These innovative artists should be supported rather than sneered at." First of all nobody is sneering at them, they are being criticised. Also they are hardly innovative as similar projects have been done before, unless you are suggesting that these artists are claiming that the project is innovative, because if they are we are onto a whole different problem. Are the artists claiming that this is an innovative project or is this just your take?

As for community and residents groups being contacted, thats not what I heard. In fact several people in different community groups I spoke to were extremely pissed off at the fact that they have been seeking extra funds for projects and instead money gets wasted on this project. I never heard of a community group that has supported this project, although I am sure there is one. And as for this stunner "It also had the support othe local branch of the PBPA". Great the local branch of the SWP supported it. How wonderful, a tiny unrepresentative socialist workers party branch supports an extravagant waste of money art project.

Philistines indeed, rather than just a realistic take on an middle class art project that has no artistic basis in the community that it takes place in it. What will we call it? Social realism? or Realistic snobbyism? or will we invent another category for this innovative project?

author by Dan - I'm a redpublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 16:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

sorry the author of this article obviously hasn't a clue what he's talking about and definitely hasn't been near 'hotel ballymun '

I was there on Saturday night and i didn't see any 'rich people' or 'bourgeois artists', but I did see a number of residents and ex-residents of ballymun in the audience for and partaking in the events that were put on.

Seamus Nolan and his crew have transformed a place associated in most peoples minds with deprivation and oppression into a space for creation, learning, and social and cultural interaction, on what is, in fact, given the cost of materials and labour for eight months work to complete the project, a very tight budget.

I think that thatcreative and inspired transformation in itself is an impressively effective radical statement about the kinds of positive human activity that Ballymun and other working class communities could have, and should today contain as a matter of course.

I grew up in an area not too different from Ballymun and I only wish there were more people like Seamus and his friends to invest their time and energy in poor communities.

Instead of carping about the tiny amount of money given to projects like this the left should campaigning for massive investment in art and cultural projects.

I recommend anyone with an interest in art to go and see it.

LET A THOUSAND FLOWERS BLOOM!

author by Marlboro Manpublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 17:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have a great appreciation of the arts and understand fully how they enrich lives, broaden the mind etc etc. But that is usually through participation not through candy laced sops like this. Everything in context Andre, not arts for arts sake.
Why was this not done 5 or 10yrs ago when the people who lived there really needed it?

I would be happier having it viewed as it really is/was, not sweeping away its legacy as an abject failure in social engineering with the self serving brush strokes of an artist’s eye.

Each to his own. You view this as art. I view it as vulgar. Art is more than making thinks look pretty. Without intent it is meaningless, rather like this project within the greater scheme of things.

author by Gearoid O Loingsighpublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 17:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As someone who grew up in Ballymun I am wondering if Hotel Ballymun will have all the extras added in. Will the guard piss in the lift every morning so as the odour of stale piss can waft up to the nostrils as it used to do.

Just wondering. it all sounds a little like Geraldine Kennedy´s stunt in the 80s to go live in Ballymun on the equivalent of the dole for a time. Though her rich friends still invited her to dinner.

author by Until Jerusalempublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 17:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"It also had the support of the local branch of the PBPA."

Sorry, but using an SWP front group's approval as proof that the working class are behind an initiative doesn't work anywhere outside, well, umm, an SWP front group.

This is a good article; certainly, I didn't have much opinion one way or the other about this project before, but after reading it and thinking about it, the nagging feeling that it simply panders to radical chic won't go away.

I have no quarrel with the artist Seamus Nolan; reading up about him reveals that he does genuinely good community-based work in Ballymun; I think this is a simple error of misjudgement, but misjudgement it is. The local community don't get anything from this exercise except to be looked at as exotic and dangerous; there's a invalid feelgood factor for outsiders, as if the closure of the towers somehow marks the end of the community's problems, and that by deigning to stay in the tower, they've contributed to the solution. I'd be curious to know out of all those staying in the Hotel, how many themselves are from Ballymun.

author by ballymonkstownpublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 18:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I know one of the events being put on there is a "noise night", noise being a rather obscure and arty take on musical expression, I don't see many locals showing up to enjoy shrill, bleak soundscapes of droning repitition. No offence to anyone who may for whatever reason enjoy noise, ncad students and thumped.com users are pretty keen on it.

The whole project seems to be up it's own arse, The result, though minimalist and economic in its aesthetic, will be resonant with character and unexpected interventions - in contrast to many of today’s new apartment blocks and hotels.

author by Artoidpublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 19:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Theres an interesting cross over here between the Ballymun regeneration scheme which is essentially state subsidised property speculation and this art project. The regeneration scheme sponsors the art which plays on the traditional social terror and class hatred which Ballymun inspires. The speculators need to create a brand new version of Ballymun, one that breaks firmly with the notion of the place as a human landfill and replaces it with one where the middle class can actually live without fear of waking up some day in a ghetto. Most Irish professional art, like most Irish film, is state sponsored. The arts council, the film board, BCI and so on are state agencies which determine what art gets made. With a lot of it its evident in the tepidness of the work that the artists know, like the renaissance painters, what daddy wants to see or more importantly what he doesnt want to see.

I havent been to the tower so I'm relying on descriptions and reviews on the web to judge it. I cant say whether its successful as art, but as a social intervention it seems a failure. It ticks all the boxes without going over into any kind of contentious terrain, its doesnt attempt even to contest the terrain. Reading about it is like reading some brochure from Century homes about a new apt scheme in some formerly scary part of town, now regenerated and sane. But for one night only we can go experience what it might have been like in the bad old days. Its Bertie time. Everyone enjoys the explosions as the towers come down and RTE do a nice human interest story on the family of 7 who now have a front garden. Thats the official narrative but the other narrative, hidden by the art as much as by the formal propaganda system is of the galway races crowd rebuilding Ballymun very profitably with oodles of public cash to ease the way. Now thats a pretty interesting subject for an art installation in the ghetto.

author by c murppublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 21:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Firstly, in regards to MG s comments that is a ‘great insult to Indy media’ to compare it with this art project I would say that it is very much born out of the same ethos. (I never suggested it had the same level of public). Only in the world of a complete idiot could you compare the number of hits on a website to a once of art project.

It seems strange to me that everyone who gives out about this project has not been, or even considered going to hotel ballymun before forming such strong opinions. I think you’ll hear quite different stories from the people who actually partake.
It is shocking to see people who claim to be left wing so suspicious of art that appears to be ‘intellectual’ Weren’t Marx and Hegel intellectuals? The world is a complicated place after all. While it is true that ‘art speak’ and intellectualism are used as a tool of exclusion but this is not the case with this art project.

Its unbelievable that the author of this piece who seems to claim empathy with the ‘real’ people from Ballymun would find cultural merit in corporate marketing driven slock like Des Bishop. So bloody what if you think Des would be held in higher regard that your imagined Ballymun local. Does that make it culturally more worthwhile? Isn’t the Sun newspaper the most read paper in Ireland?? Does it award it more cultural merit in your eyes?

Your idea for a more worthwhile art project with the locals stinks of the everyday, common as muck, clichéd, middle class assumptions about the ability of those they see as ‘other’. Is this the limit of your vision.?? Is this the best you could imagine for ‘mico, anto etc’ in terms of meaning-full pursuits.
Now this would make an interesting comedy show:

‘’Ok go over there and spray paint that tower block, fulfilling my teenage, middleclass MTV idea of rebellion taking place in urban environment. Now watch all the people cheer at your achievement: Now head of into the sunset with your newfound sense of self worth’

How long did it take you to concoct that clichéd cringe worthy idea. Dude, Your so street!
Can you not see how the dodgy charcture that des bishop serves out only serve to reinforce prejudice and assumptions of those that are commonly considered ‘other’? You can bet your bottom dollar Mick Mc Doule would also laugh heartily this type of drivel.

The depressing reality of today’s world is that you probably can watch MTV cribs Sub Saharan Africa; We are living in a time of mind-numbing homogonous corporate lead culture. Part of the reason contempary art can appear obtuse and unfamiliar is because we are so swamped in homogonous junk. This work is not accusing you of being stupid (although I am!). You are dealing in the world of an imagined pubic in ballymun and an imagined audience for this art project. All these are based on lazy assumptions on your part.

I don t want to appear to valorize this project beyond criticism but you have to do at least a little bit of background work before poo pooing it.

author by xpublication date Mon Apr 02, 2007 22:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That well known social radical and experimental artist Noel Ahern TD (FF) was one of the first guests to stay (minister for housing)

I think that says it all

author by hopepublication date Tue Apr 03, 2007 01:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

most people criticising this project don't seem to have fully researched it, and seem to have jumped to a lot of conclusions in order to champion the same old argument of art vs. poverty.

so a lot of people are choosing not to see the intended irony in this project. the hotel ballymun project is selling poverty back as high art, but its really consciously doing that. the irony is intended. this project has a subversive humour that its critics are missing.

yes the project cost money, but look at all the attention this and the other projects in ballymun have brought to the problems of the area. if the same money had been given to a community group, sure it might have helped some other project, and more directly helped a short term local problem, but we're not talking millions of euro here, its a few thousand (afaik, less than 20). that type of money isn't going to have a huge effect on a comunity with such huge problems, and short of using the money to advertise the issues, isn't going to raise much public awareness to the area. but this project, besides being an interesting subversive art work, has got the publics attention (as this article shows). the project is being talked about all over irish media, and i've heard of some british newspapers covering the story too.

i think for that reason alone the project is a huge success, because it has people talking and thinking about the social and economic problems of areas like ballymun.

as for using the money to buy spray paint and have "anto and paula" do some graffiti on the block... what world are you from?? do you have any idea who the kids who write graffiti are? a kid who'd take the time to go out and write graffiti is probably safe enough.
you're argument would have made more sense if you'd suggested using the money to buy a load of gear for "anto and paula" and have them shoot up in front of a middle class audience as the blocks fall, or to buy a load of tools so "anto and paula" can rob a load of middle class cars and houses, document the thieft and sell the dvd's back to the victim. that would make a more interesting art than buying loads of paint for kids paint a tower block, that would be a pretty 1 dimensional project, pretty lowest common denominator stuff... but then most of the critics of this project don't seem very attuned to creativity, or have thought very hard about what makes interesting art.

author by c murppublication date Tue Apr 03, 2007 01:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its a pity this standard of writing on an art piece gets published on indymedia. No bar room cliches indeed!
For an interesting analysis on the relationship between culture and the left see:
http://www.cpgb.org.uk/worker/622/art.htm

author by krossie - wsm personal capacitypublication date Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Not going to take a position either way - except to say that this is a very good debate, well worth debating and the sort of thing that indy media should do more off.

Well done for sticking it up as a feature!

Also just to get a plug in - seomra spraoi will be doing a workshop Thursday Night at the hotel ballymun

So maybe come along and judge for yourself

http://www.indymedia.ie/article/81725

krossie

Related Link: http://www.myspace.com/seomraspraoi
author by MGpublication date Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To c murph
“Firstly, in regards to MG s comments that is a ‘great insult to Indy media’ to compare it with this art project I would say that it is very much born out of the same ethos. (I never suggested it had the same level of public). Only in the world of a complete idiot could you compare the number of hits on a website to a once of art project.”

You are misunderstanding what I am saying. There is absolutely no comparison between indymedia and the art project and “Only in the world of a complete idiot could you compare the” two. Indymedia is a network of collectively run media outlets for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of the truth looking for mass participation. This art project is funded by an elite, appeals to an elite and is designed (maybe not the artists intention) to “reclaim” Ballymun for property developers.

"It is shocking to see people who claim to be left wing so suspicious of art that appears to be ‘intellectual’ Weren’t Marx and Hegel intellectuals? The world is a complicated place after all. While it is true that ‘art speak’ and intellectualism are used as a tool of exclusion but this is not the case with this art project.”

You are still not getting it. Nobody is saying that this art is intellectual that is your own opinion constructed in an argument to make you think that you are intellectually superior to those you are arguing against. This is one of the problems with this project, it’s supporters think that they are intellectually superior to “‘real’ people from Ballymun” where in reality all you have is pretentious posturing.

”Its unbelievable that the author of this piece who seems to claim empathy with the ‘real’ people from Ballymun would find cultural merit in corporate marketing driven slock like Des Bishop. So bloody what if you think Des would be held in higher regard that your imagined Ballymun local. Does that make it culturally more worthwhile? Isn’t the Sun newspaper the most read paper in Ireland?? Does it award it more cultural merit in your eyes?”

Again this is your attempt at intellectual snobbery in which you include your class snobbery. This art project is corporate driven it is funded for a particular reason and it is not to bring culture to the masses as you wrongly seem to believe. I don’t think anybody claimed that Des Bishop was worthy of any grade of cultural merit but least Des Bishop can construct a half decent social critique all the supporters of this art project on this thread do is expose the cultural gulf that exists.

”Your idea for a more worthwhile art project with the locals stinks of the everyday, common as muck, clichéd, middle class assumptions about the ability of those they see as ‘other’. Is this the limit of your vision.?? Is this the best you could imagine for ‘mico, anto etc’ in terms of meaning-full pursuits.”

Again you expose such strong class hatred, you are certainly dong far more damage to this art project than this article. You seem to have a patronising belief that you are here to lead people into your opinion of what is “meaning-full pursuits”

‘’Ok go over there and spray paint that tower block, fulfilling my teenage, middleclass MTV idea of rebellion taking place in urban environment. Now watch all the people cheer at your achievement: Now head of into the sunset with your newfound sense of self worth’”

Your assumptions are based in your class hatred and are pretty standard pathetic drivel. Neither witty or accurate they expose your complete lack of any understanding of what “working class” youth feel as culture. Do you think it is middle class youth that go into flats and spray paint? Do you honestly think that graffiti is not art? Do you honestly think that it was MTV that created this image of graffiti as a rebellious act rather than attempt to take ownership of it for market driven reasons? All you are doing is showing that you have no understanding of anything other than a pretentious middle class yearning to feel intellectually superior.

”The depressing reality of today’s world is that you probably can watch MTV cribs Sub Saharan Africa; We are living in a time of mind-numbing homogonous corporate lead culture. Part of the reason contempary art can appear obtuse and unfamiliar is because we are so swamped in homogonous junk”

I am presuming that the author wrote this piece not as an attack against contemporary art but against this art project in particular. What you are doing is attempting to inflate this art piece to a degree where it is representing the entire world of contemporary art. This is a critique of this particular piece, any attempt to inflate this piece merely exposes your totally misguided defence.

“This work is not accusing you of being stupid (although I am!)”

First of all I didn’t read anywhere on this thread where it was written that anybody felt stupid because of this piece. Once again this is just you attempting to feel intellectually superior because you think people just don’t understand this project. The reality is people do understand it and they just don’t like it. And you just aren’t clever enough to call anybody stupid.

“You are dealing in the world of an imagined pubic in ballymun and an imagined audience for this art project. All these are based on lazy assumptions on your part.”

The public in Ballymun isn’t imagined as you would have realised if you had bothered to engage with them. But hey lets just appoint you our cultural leader, we can have a cultural revolution where we will burn Des Bishop and we will paint murals on the side of corporation flat complexes with your image on it. We will replace the cult of television with the cult of the leader (namely you). You can lead the people to a cultural utopia and out of the cultural wasteland that they currently reside in.

To hope:
First of all nobody is missing what the project is attempting to convey. People just disagree. When will the supporters of this project realise that a lot of people just disagree with this project. All we have is the tired mantra of “you just don’t understand the project”.
Secondly it is not just about funding art here. I didn’t read anywhere on this thread that people were calling for art funding to be scrapped. What I did read was supporters of this project calling for more funding for the arts in what could misguidingly be attacked as stating that we should close a few hospitals and schools just so we can have a few more gallery exhibitions for the upper classes where they can drink wine and attempt to fool each other into thinking that they are so intelligent and really understand art.

”i think for that reason alone the project is a huge success, because it has people talking and thinking about the social and economic problems of areas like ballymun.”

People have been talking and thinking about the social and economic problems of Ballymun for years it just took an art project for you to wake up to these problems. A statement like this just shows how sheltered you are. Anybody who needs an art project to wake up to these problems are people who offer no solutions to these problems and clearly show they have no empathy with the people living through these problems. What art project do you propose to get people talking about the social and economic problems of heroin? We need an art project to highlight this problem as nobody seems to be aware of it.

”as for using the money to buy spray paint and have "anto and paula" do some graffiti on the block... what world are you from?? do you have any idea who the kids who write graffiti are? a kid who'd take the time to go out and write graffiti is probably safe enough.”

This statement shows no understanding of the world of graffiti or tagging as its called on the “street” or any understanding of poverty. I must state that it wasn’t me who suggested this idea however you obviously have no idea who writes graffiti. There are many youth and homeless projects that have graffiti as classes in them to try to bring people into there services. I attended a homeless graffiti project myself and I didn’t see any middle class youth involved in those classes. Also stating that “a kid who'd take the time to go out and write graffiti is probably safe enough.” Is just plain wrong and has no basis in reality and just shows that you have absolutely no understanding of what life is like either for young people in flats or on the streets.

”you're argument would have made more sense if you'd suggested using the money to buy a load of gear for "anto and paula" and have them shoot up in front of a middle class audience as the blocks fall, or to buy a load of tools so "anto and paula" can rob a load of middle class cars and houses, document the thieft and sell the dvd's back to the victim. that would make a more interesting art than buying loads of paint for kids paint a tower block, that would be a pretty 1 dimensional project, pretty lowest common denominator stuff... but then most of the critics of this project don't seem very attuned to creativity, or have thought very hard about what makes interesting art.”

This paragraph just gives the opinion that you think everyone in a working class area is either a drug addict or out to rob the middle classes of their property which they worked so hard for!. More class snobbery from you here. Maybe people are middle class because they understand this art piece and other people are only poor because they don’t understand this art piece!.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Tue Apr 03, 2007 19:02author email sylfredcar at iolfree dot ieauthor address author phone 087.2178138Report this post to the editors

I am interested in this because I am interested in and have been involved with projects under the dubious heading of 'community art'. Whereas it would be very wrong to suggest that everyone in a given community is waiting for the nudge to become a great poet, painter and musician, nonetheless there is a distinct value in the act of creating something in the community which reflects a creative power within that community. What interests me is the Arts Council's attitude to 'community art'. Regarding Galway, where I live, they appear to have none, handing responsibility for community creative projects over to The Galway City Partnership, which drags its heels (I'm being generous, here!) and refuses to enter into any kind of discussion with the Arts Council as to what should be funded by whom. Thus the ball flies back and forth over the net and never, ever, lands. The Partnership's sheer terror at entering into approaches to a government body based in far-way Dublin is almost palpable. So the problem remains unsolved - the Arts Council think 'community art' is a four-letter word and say it's up to the Partnership - who say it isn't. Then, of course, the Arts Council believes that every piece of art worthy of the name should be housed under the roof of an arts' centre. Once it is coralled and made, God help us, 'official,' it's OK then. Yet John O'Donoghue's department can find money to fund Dublin's Gaiety Theatre, which, as I understand it, is neither a venue for community nor high art.
On the other hand, Galway City Council have sold off most of the buildings it owned which could be used for arts' projects in Galway City. This generosity must be something in the water!

author by Caobhinpublication date Tue Apr 03, 2007 20:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Re. pic 2 - Oak laminate flooring €6.50 a sq. yard - nice one

author by dr magnetopublication date Tue Apr 03, 2007 20:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We all love the video of the ballymun tower coming down in the "neat controlled demolition". Well Mr Mathias in Mozambique has sent his photos of a "neat controlled demolition" of a hotel to the BBC. He's quoted as rumouring that the US will build a new embassy there. (probably not high rise). Fans of "neat controlled demolition" photo series as well as opponents of hotels will enjoy the pics.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/6522901.stm

author by c murppublication date Tue Apr 03, 2007 22:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I’m going to make a few smaller points in relation to mg; s comments above and then hope publish an article in relation to this art piece and ideas of public/private space. This cutting, pasting then retorting can only go on for so long.

Firstly a response to the idea of ‘intellectual superior’.
Am I being intellectually superior if I suggest that say the films of say Peter Watkins or Ken Loach have more insight into the horrors of war, than say Pearl Harbour or some other such Hollywood flick? Or if I assert that the Guardian is a better newspaper than the Daily Mail because it has a better analysis on the world? Or that the crummy alternative proposal put forward by the above Author is a clichéd ill conceived idea in comparison to this hotel Ballymun piece? In your world of Politics there is no room for reasoned argument or Cultural criticism?

Dare I suggest that your laudable idea of getting some Kids to do some state sanctioned graffiti, and think this will be some magic life changing, self esteem inflator project is to radically simplify the complexity of other peoples lives? It’s a shitty idea my friend and it exposes the loose grasp you have on your subject and your patronising idea of the working class.

Like all clichés there’s more than a grain of truth that high art is for the well healed; but its people like you, who with such puritan rigour, maintain the status quo. There s probably a lot more diversity of people interacting with this project than you’d like to imagine, working class and otherwise. Is this not a good thing? Or is the discourse of poverty in Ballymun, and the bigger ideas of the relationship of the individual and the state only relevant to the people who actually lived in the flats? Is this discourse purely a matter for the working class people of Ballymun? (There are also pretty well heeled neighbourhoods around Ballymun also you know!)
It’s so easy for you to sit back and feel right on in your opinions without even interrogating them. Even if you have an issue with state funded projects such as this, fine. It is a very worthy area to interrogate; but its lazy to just throw out the baby out with the bath water, join the dots on your Childs puzzle take on the world, and then feel comfortably outside, radical righteous etc. Would you dare to actually go to the hotel? Do you have the courage of your conviction or would the prospect of having your preconceptions and ridged dichotomy shattered be too much to handle? The truth is that there had been a mix of people visiting this project. Would no one who goes to this be as radical as yourself? Would any of them Harbour the belief that there are better ways to be and live? I think you’d like to believe not. Maybe you’re right but at least go and see!!!!

In regards to your comments on graffiti and your curiosity as to my take on it: I could not say I like dislike/ like graffiti any more than I could say I like sentences/ words statements; it depends what you have to say with it. Personally I find the whole ‘I make up some crazy letters and then use it to just spell my name in a funky way a little more dull and unimaginative than say perhaps fast stencil work that is more rough ready and has something interesting to say. Oh there I go being an intellectual snob again.

author by mgpublication date Wed Apr 04, 2007 11:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

“hope publish an article in relation to this art piece and ideas of public/private space”

Excellent idea. Can I suggest you do an interview with the artist as well; it could make an excellent article.

”Firstly a response to the idea of ‘intellectual superior’.
Am I being intellectually superior if I suggest that say the films of say Peter Watkins or Ken Loach have more insight into the horrors of war, than say Pearl Harbour or some other such Hollywood flick? Or if I assert that the Guardian is a better newspaper than the Daily Mail because it has a better analysis on the world? Or that the crummy alternative proposal put forward by the above Author is a clichéd ill conceived idea in comparison to this hotel Ballymun piece? In your world of Politics there is no room for reasoned argument or Cultural criticism?”

First of all I am not the author of the piece. Secondly you are misunderstanding what I am saying. What I have stated is that you think you are intellectually superior and you are misguided. Your choice of the guardian over the daily mail would be a subjective choice guided by your politics/analysis of the world. Your problem is you see your choices as being entirely objective and this is giving you the misguided notion of being intellectually superior. You are neither cleverer nor more stupid than most other people. And your false pretence of being intellectually superior is misguiding you into thinking that working class people need to me brought out of their cultural "depravity" and that you are the person to lift them out of it.

”Dare I suggest that your laudable idea of getting some Kids to do some state sanctioned graffiti, and think this will be some magic life changing, self esteem inflator project is to radically simplify the complexity of other peoples lives? It’s a shitty idea my friend and it exposes the loose grasp you have on your subject and your patronising idea of the working class.”

First of all I never suggested any such idea. I criticised your mistaken belief that graffiti is a “middleclass MTV idea of rebellion taking place in urban environment”. Also calling the idea laudable in the first sentence and then a shitty idea a few sentences down shows that you are either unaware of the meaning of laudable or are confused as to your argument. Secondly the idea that graffiti as art is a patronising idea of the working class really shows that you have no understanding of the working class and youth culture. Instead it is YOU who are patronising by believing you are the cultural lighthouse through which the working class will find the shore to a cultural utopia. Once again you are mistaking your own opinions and believing that they are facts.

”Like all clichés there’s more than a grain of truth that high art is for the well healed; but its people like you, who with such puritan rigour, maintain the status quo.”

Once again we have you attempting to inflate this project to where it is representing an entire category of high art. I have criticised you before on this yet you do it again. The criticism of the author of this piece was against this art project and not others. This you just do not seem to comprehend. Each piece of art should be judeged by its own merits, something I doubt you would understand.

“There s probably a lot more diversity of people interacting with this project than you’d like to imagine, working class and otherwise. Is this not a good thing? Or is the discourse of poverty in Ballymun, and the bigger ideas of the relationship of the individual and the state only relevant to the people who actually lived in the flats? Is this discourse purely a matter for the working class people of Ballymun? (There are also pretty well heeled neighbourhoods around Ballymun also you know!)”

Your first problem here is the use of the word “probably”, this shows that you don’t have a clue. I suggest that you talk to the locals in Ballymun like I do. Also people interacting are obviously not a problem and nowhere did I say it was. This is just you introducing a new argument to deflect from your other poor points. Your political analysis is also pretty poor if you have to write a ridiculous paragraph like the one above and shows that you have led a very sheltered life.

”It’s so easy for you to sit back and feel right on in your opinions without even interrogating them”

My opinions have been based on my life experience, my reading, and my engagement in the communities that I live and work in and engagement in other working class area’s including Ballymun. They are always open to change as my life experience changes and new information comes to light or through interaction with other people. This is a concept that seems to be beyond your comprehension. Yours are based on a misguided notion that you are intellectually superior to the working class and that you are here to lead them out of a cultural wasteland that you believe they live in. Any culture that you disagree with you call slock in a patronising and ludicrous way.

“Even if you have an issue with state funded projects such as this, fine. It is a very worthy area to interrogate;”

I don’t have a problem with state funded art and I have already stated this. What is it with you that you have to invent things up and inflate this particular piece up so that it represents something that is clearly not. You just do not seem to be able to grasp this.

“but its lazy to just throw out the baby out with the bath water, join the dots on your Childs puzzle take on the world, and then feel comfortably outside, radical righteous etc.”

My take on the world most certainly isn’t a child’s puzzle and this statement once again shows that you think you are intellectually superior when quite clearly you are not. Secondly my take on the world is neither dogmatic nor unrealistic.

“Would you dare to actually go to the hotel?”

Yes I am going

“Do you have the courage of your conviction or would the prospect of having your preconceptions and ridged dichotomy shattered be too much to handle?”

Now you have become arrogant and presumptuous. Your points above are entirely without basis in what I have previously stated and your manner of delivery is immature and inane. Once again as a supporter of the project you have done far more damage to the reputation of this project than the original piece, proving in the process that you have your head rooted firmly up your ass where you have gotten used to the smell of your own bullshit.

“The truth is that there had been a mix of people visiting this project. Would no one who goes to this be as radical as yourself? Would any of them Harbour the belief that there are better ways to be and live? I think you’d like to believe not. Maybe you’re right but at least go and see!!!!”

Another paragraph and more ridiculous points. There have been small numbers of people visiting this project and I hope they enjoyed it. However all the locals I have talked to about it haven’t gone and have no intention of going, although I am sure that a few locals have already gone and will go. Also I never stated anywhere that I was more radical than anyone else. Once again you cannot grasp anything and introduce new false points as you cannot defend your previous ones. Everybody harbours the belief that there are better ways to live no matter who they are, where the live or what class they are from. It is you who seem to have the opinion that people are happy with the way they live, this is completely patronising and naieve. Your problem is that you use your class bias with your misguided belief that you are intellectually superior to people from the working class and attempt to portray your opinion as fact. It is a defect with you that is the problem here; one that I doubt you will ever sort out.

”In regards to your comments on graffiti and your curiosity as to my take on it: I could not say I like dislike/ like graffiti any more than I could say I like sentences/ words statements; it depends what you have to say with it. Personally I find the whole ‘I make up some crazy letters and then use it to just spell my name in a funky way a little more dull and unimaginative than say perhaps fast stencil work that is more rough ready and has something interesting to say.”

There is more to graffiti to someone just writing there name in a funky way and that paragraph proves that you know very little about graffiti as a whole and indeed as an art form. I find graffiti where people just write their names as being incredible dull and a waste of time and energy but other graffiti artists do wonderful pieces of art. Like any art form you have bad and good. Unfortunately for you you have the belief that your opinion of what is good art is fact, this is the crux of your problem and one that damages the reputation of this art project.

“Oh there I go being an intellectual snob again”

No there you go again completely missing the point, you are not an intellectual snob you just think you are. You are not clever enough, you just think you are.

author by c murfpublication date Wed Apr 04, 2007 13:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I never suggested anywhere what I think is 'suitable culture' for the working class. The author of this piece did and I critiqued it as ill conceived. I’m glad to hear you are at least going to check it out.
I never suggested that it is I who should be a 'the cultural lighthouse through which the working class' should view the world. This is childish, can I not express an opinion without being accused of wanting to be a dictator. I challenged you about your assumptions that the discourse of poverty / Ballymun/the state was not just a matter exclusively for them.
You have not given any meaningful response to this.

If I was to choose the Guardian over the Daily do your honestly believe that this is purely a subjective choice guided by your politics/analysis of the world. This is a political straight jacket. Do you live in a world of complete relativity? How can you claim to to a political being in anyway?? I challenge you to respond to this.

It needs to be pointed out to you that this world of complete relativity that you seem to want to live in is a picture perfect example of a post-modern, neo-liberal view of the world in which the individual is complete alienated from all cultural forms and there just simple ‘choices’ that one makes.

Would it be intellectual snobbery to draw the conclusion that one paper has a more intelligent / subtle analysis of current affairs than another? If its all just subjective choice then how can anyone be a political being or challenge or change anything in the world. Do you see all cultural forms as free floating, value free choices? This is EXACTLY what an alienating capitalist system tries to engender. I would love too hear your opinion on this.

You have not given any meaning full response to my suggestion that it is the likes of you who infact maintain the statue quo by your ridged assertion that 'high art' is exclusively for an elite. This being generally true; isn’t it a pity that you seem so adamant to maintain this as the status quo?
It is complete rubbish to suggest that the author of this piece and indeed you have only critiqued this piece and not art in general when I have read over and over again the assertion that art is for an elite?
Why do you not try and give some reasoned argument instead of petty tit or that or I have a more ‘real authentic experience’ than you. In terms of healthy debate it gets us nowhere and is just meaningless posturing.
Also I think this cutting an pasting paragraphs is lazy and detracts from good debate, it tend to lead to arguments over semantics. I reckin that a piece should be able, to some extent, be independent.

author by JarJarBlankspublication date Wed Apr 04, 2007 13:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What a load of bollox,

Well done, you have taken the piss out of some of themost impoverished people of Dublin by turning their old home into a Zoo.

The only difference is that the real animals have left and you can pay to take their place and thus really get in touch with the working class!

What a spectacle, I can only imagine how "bold" all the people who stay are going to feel, considering that it is highly likely that not one of them has ever been in a tower block before, considering that all the locals are banned!

So, who is organsing a safari of Darndale?

author by milispublication date Thu Apr 05, 2007 12:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just to set the record straight, there are no swipe cards or anything of the sort for the guests. The author clearly needs to actually visit the place.

There is a sign-in system to keep control of the numbers of people entering and leaving the building (hence the security/reception,etc). This is for fire and safety reasons (also public liability insurance) - only a certain number of people can be on the top floor at one time. They have to have security becuase of the HUGE number of people visiting it during the day.

The hotel is open to the public each day at 2, 3 & 4. I asked and they reckoned that there is about 20 people visiting at each hour. That makes 60 people each day, then add on people staying overnight (for free or donation), probably another 20 people. Then take into account the people orgainising (free) events each evening, and the public who attend them. Mulitiply by 4 weeks and that alot of people.

I have visited it (unlike the author) and there was a broad mix of people there to see it. The group was made up of a significant amount of people who had lived in that tower block or one of the other towers and also people from other area in Dublin and around Ireland.

Yes, I don't doubt that there should have been security when people were living there, along with alot of other things. And I don't think anybody involved in the project thinks otherwise - and maybe they have re-highlighted that fact.

I think the overall result of the project has been a positive one - encouraging debate from all sides and making people re-examine their thoughts/prejuidices on art and on Ballymun.

author by well-heeled cadpublication date Thu Apr 05, 2007 15:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"you're argument would have made more sense if you'd suggested using the money to buy a load of gear for "anto and paula" and have them shoot up in front of a middle class audience as the blocks fall, or to buy a load of tools so "anto and paula" can rob a load of middle class cars and houses, document the thieft and sell the dvd's back to the victim. that would make a more interesting art than buying loads of paint for kids paint a tower block, that would be a pretty 1 dimensional project, pretty lowest common denominator stuff... but then most of the critics of this project don't seem very attuned to creativity, or have thought very hard about what makes interesting art."

And there we have it. Interesting art involving the working class is about reinforcing working class stereotypes for bourgeois entertainment. Graffiti (and no, c murp, not Nathan Barley-/Bansky-style chin-stroking wanky visual juxtapositions (aka stencilling)) is the type of "artistic" expression chosen by kids on estates [if you have to get your wank on, you can think of tagging as a continuation of cave painting, a primal "I exist" - that should allow you to appreciate it in yer snobby, detached way], but thank fuck you're around to tell them that it's not creative or interesting enough.

Thank fuck there's people who've studied community art in in some poncey institution about to tell the ignorant masses how we should express ourselves. What would we do without yis?

author by balance - nonepublication date Thu Apr 05, 2007 19:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i am a local resident in ballymun. i have lived and worked in community and artistic projects for many years now. i feel very priveleged to have done so. i thoroughly believe that the future of ballymun is going to involve integrating "outsiders" with the locals. the arts must include the foreign national population as well as those who are lucky enough to be able to afford to buy a place in the area.

i am in agreement about breaking ground. i feel their efforts have been extremely poor and i feel that the art projects that they involve themselves in are more around their own concepts of arts in the community rather than in any functional relationship to the naturised population. this is public money being put into an art installation which will be pulled down in a number of weeks. it's a money pit. i think that breaking ground should be looking at themselves closely and asking the question...'in who's interests are we acting?'

i have a firm belief in art and it's value in societies and communities but even the selection of the arts and artists by breaking ground is so distant from the local demographic that it's almost patronising. i truly feel that it creates a frame of mind that "art is not for us". it is damaging the reputation of art creating wider divides and undoing the good work being done in art by so many of the local community groups.

author by dunk - lots that use "art" as a tool of warpublication date Thu Apr 05, 2007 20:39author email fuspey at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

2 p's worth...
Not being in Dublin for over a half year has me perhaps a bit distant but having worked up on building sites in Ballymun on cold wet days in the past and having participated in "ART" projects in other city zones which once had "bad names" and previously been part of the seomra spraoi and dolphins barn garden collectives which now, as i type here in Barcelona, are in "HOTEL Ballymun" talking with people there from the area about each others ideas, dreams, work, problems...... and all the rest... id like to throw in my 2 pence worth...

Things can be improved
We all know this but what is it that stops things from improving? the actual constraints, our frustrations, inability to successfully organise and build networks for change, lack of hope or belief we can change things, lack of clarity of what alternative we want, inability to take on and work with new processes, even if they appear a little "mad" or "arty farty"..?

"Art" can help change things
In Ireland I believe overall we have an attitude which is negative and cynical. I understand there are some healthy reasons for being such a way but for me its a disability and it frustrated me so i left to where there is, what i believe to be, a far healthier attitude toward "art", whatever that word means. I now live in Barcelona, where there are a huge amount of amazing things going on, lots of different things are done for different reasons but for the sake of this discussion ill just refer to those that use "art" as a political tool. They do so because they understand the power art posesses, both for the individual do'er of the art and for the collective that their part is normally a part of. Normally the "art" is used as a tool to change things, in whatever the circumstances: diffuse ideas, confront powers, create a short example of an alternative world, make "being political" a hugley enjoyable profound and exciting thing to do. I experienced my first example of this, the night I was evicted from a squatted social centre i was staying in: In ireland my experience of demos or "manifestacions" as they call them here, was mostly boring chanting slogans, walk and catch up with friends for a chat, and not much else. but here the response was to take over the main square and turn it into a free 2 hour long circus for 3 nights with top quality acrobatics, clowning and amusement.... and that led to much more which i reported on here ( Barcelona: 3 early morning raids on 3 squats, including MAKABRA : http://www.indymedia.ie/article/79776 ) On whatever demo I have been on there have been many short or small bits of street theatre, dressed up people, games.... its enjoyable. I know in Dublin we did have a few RTS's, which were great, but did it really spill over to more..?
For a few more examples of stuff here check out some of indymedia barcelonas sections: ( artivism: http://barcelona.indymedia.org/?category=artivisme , squatting and speculation : http://barcelona.indymedia.org/?category=especulacio )

Mayfield and the Nicaraguan revolutions use of ART
A year and a half ago I participated in an "art" project in Mayfield in Cork city, which had a "bad" name at one stage. That project was a real pleasure to work on, I was doing audio work as well as general art work, as well as rolling around the streets literally, as well as asking people to share their dreams in a dreamtent we created in the main public space in Cork, Emmet place, outside the theatre hall. This project was lots of things and i reported some of them here. ( Muralismo @ Mayfield. Nicaraguans, Colombians, Rebels, rest of worlders; http://www.indymedia.ie/article/70860 ) But one of the great things was that there was 2 other "art" groups over to participate, both from Latin America: Medellin in Colombia and Esteley in Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan group was called FUNARTE, and its roots came from what was a successfull revolution for a while, that of the Sandinistas back in the 1980's untill the states did what they do best.....Anyway i want to talk about their attitude to "art": they saw it as an absolutely critical tool in the revolution, it was used as a tool for dialogue, for exploration, for communication, for celebration....and more. Murals were a huge part of the revolution, the messages were carried in them, the ability to make them was passed on within communities: skills were shared and resources were pooled to paint their message. lets call them, the murals, the products of the "art"istic process. they are what came out of something important: the process.
Years later, in Mayfield, there was only 1 or 2 who had been old enough to remember those good old days but they did not forget the reason for doing their thing or the methods, and with that knowledge they came to Cork, the rebel city. What happened was a sort of dreamtime or exploration system was created which allowed the young people from the 3 places to explore their dreams, the dreams of young people of the world, this led to a dialogue, different tools were used: talking, drawing, theatre, talking about films... but it was from this "dialogue" that the ideas slowly emerged about what they wanted to paint and it was in this dialogue that much of the learning was experienced by the youth from mayfield, ogra corcaigh, medellin, estelli and beyond. In the later part of the process those ideas took form and from that a mural was painted. From the group their amazing skill at painting was shared, tricks shown, space allowed for testing and making mistakes and learning... it was a patient yet exciting space and time.
This link with Mayfield and the Sandinista ways did not stop in the "art" centre it went out into the community, why? because people saw and experienced something amazing, pure, simple in it, something everybody could do, something which actually mattered and made a difference, something which they enjoyed and made their space a little more special. The art group down there has worked with the community and toghether, exploring different themes, they have created i think 14 murals which hang in different parts of Mayfield: on libraries, outside shops, on the gable ends of houses in housing estates. Theres much to be learned from this small successful "art" project.

dying for ART
Later in Dun Laoighre world cultures festival there was a nice open participitive exhibition , can art change the world? ( http://www.indymedia.ie/article/71559 ) in which we showed a film about the mayfield project but in which also pepe, a friend from Chile talked about the use of "art" in the latin American context, they do not see so much a separation as we, in Ireland or perhaps Europe, do : for them art is just a normal thing that is done for enjoyment or later as a tool for change if need be. The example of the Chilean folk singer songwriter Victor Jara for whom singing the songs of his people while playing his quitar was his act of revolution was talked about, even in the prison he sang and played: he lifted peoples spirits, he was taken and his fingers broken, he continued to play, he was shot. his "art" mattered, to him, to his people, to their world.....

Its a pity we in Ireland have lost so much of our own world of song, poetry, storytelling, all of which was and still is "art", perhaps we have not but I feel that less and less see it.... but on that note its great to see more and more punks getting into and exploring the old folk roots. On that note is was a pleasure to meet folk punk band lynched a while ago here in barcelona, the first time our paths was at a willie clancy festival down in west clare, many moons ago.. ( lynched: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.vi...32185 Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy : http://www.setdancingnews.net/wcss/wcsst.htm )

Back to Ballymun
So anyway, what am I trying to say here: I think its that "art" matters, that it COULD be a tool for change and that perhaps in Ireland we need to loosen up a bit and play a bit, let it go and give it a blast. Thats the difference between here and there, why I left. At home, an idea is proposed and its "ah no, that wont work, thats a shite idea" whereas here, no matter how crazy the idea seems its "ok, lets give it a blast, if if works great, if it doesnt sure we will probably learn something from trying and eitherway we will probably have a great laugh trying it". Ok maybe its not said in such Dublin'ese but that has been my experience with things here. And i dont say this having never tried at home, When seomra spraoi were nearly about to open in november 2005 down on Abbey st, when the "no, we need to sort more stuff...." was uttered... We will never have everything sorted but when we take things from the world of talk talk and more fu***ng talk to giving it a blast and quickly dealing with things: then i think we will be in a healthier world. Talk gets boring, Doing stuff is exciting. I know talk is necessary, it is, but maybe in Ireland we talk too much....?

anway, back to Ballymun, again....
"Art" can be a catalyst, it can provoke, both in a gentle or a "in your face" way. Theres a huge amount of bulshit with and in the "art" world, and in this im talking about the art college and gallery world, a little bubble which could do stuff, perhaps at times does, but for the most part does not excite or change anything... I have pissed off enough "art"ists when i accuse them of not getting stuck into "real" things.....
The way i see it is a lot of this "art" world is boring, full of shite talk, and ultimately empty for those that consume it, which is normally those in the galleries "oh,, did you see the new le broquey"..... But hats off to the artist him/herself if s/he enjoys what they are doing, which is critical for all humans to find out, if they are lucky enough to..

Anyway, the point im trying to get to is, this hotel has provoked a reaction, great. Some think its a load of shite, which it might be, but perhaps it might be the thing in this real physical world which gets new people talking to each other, new ideas being exchanged, perhaps leading to new projects, new methods, new acts, new whatever...
i hope the "its all a load of shite people" do go down and give them, whoever they are, hell. I hope a real debate or fight, not a fisty cuffs but a battle of words and beliefs, does happen. What if we were all able to stand up for our beliefs, have them really tested, be forced to act on them..... thats what counts.

For me a lot of different worlds live in their own little ghettos: the political, the arty, the phsyical..... anything which acts as a catalyst which allows for these different worlds to see each other, confront, learn from and with, maybe even like... who knows what that world could lead to.

For me action is important, "art" can be whatever, but sometimes it does change the world. And what better than improving things because take a quick look around and you'll see how bad things need changing. The question is what type of world do we want and how do we find that out, Art can be one of those tools. And for those that are busy trying to change things isnt it a pleasure when your fight takes the form of creativity, making or doing amazing things with others, living in a time of something profound and beautiful....
any of us can do this, i dont get why so many turn their noses up at new ways, its them that miss out. look at how few of the Dublin anarchists or politicos did just this when the clowns came over : "arty farty shite.."

Anyway, we battle on.
I hope more people do start to play.
I hope that "art" sparks of like wildfire in Ballymun and that it doesent stop there, there to Dublin, to Ireland, to the World

Sorry if I rambled, or that this is a complete load of shite. Its my world, my battle and they were my, i suppose now, 3 and a half p's worth of thoughts on the matter

So slan libh from El Barco here in Barcelona

Adieu

Dunk

El Barco
http://wikihost.org/wikis/casas_bcn/wiki/el_barco

Stories from the sea
http://wikihost.org/wikis/casas_bcn/wiki/stories_from_t...e_sea

"art" : whatever that is....

critical discussion @ monks garden, venice
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/70090

Muralismo @ Mayfield. Nicaraguans, Colombians, Rebels, rest of worlders;
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/70860

listen to audio feedback session between "art" and "activist" communities-@ 30 mns
http://radio.indymedia.org/uploads/the_red_archive_disc...n.mp3
previous thread
http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=65045&sea...chive

Seomra Spraoi collective invites you to a night of play, art, discussion, film, food, disco : http://www.indymedia.ie/article/71888

Mayfield take "art" to the streets of Cork in 2005
Mayfield take "art" to the streets of Cork in 2005

Ogra Corcaigh + Mayfield community arts centre paint a wall in the area
Ogra Corcaigh + Mayfield community arts centre paint a wall in the area

Learning from the Nicaraguan revolution : art matters
Learning from the Nicaraguan revolution : art matters

ART : a word that causes so much anger, commotion, hate ... but also joy and love..
ART : a word that causes so much anger, commotion, hate ... but also joy and love..

art : having a crazy idea and turning it into a reality : trying to live happily
art : having a crazy idea and turning it into a reality : trying to live happily

author by balance - nonepublication date Thu Apr 05, 2007 20:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i am a local resident in ballymun. i have worked in community and arts projects for many years now. i feel very priveleged to have done so. ballymun has a population of in excess of 12,000 people. but it has had such a transitional population over the years. people moving into flats for 6 months whilke waiting on a housing list. these statistics have been well documented by ballymun partnership etc.

the problem with so many projects in the area is that they aren't inclusive of the large foreign national populations in the area. if the local 'super valu' has an entire polish food section, it should be enough to get organisations like breaking ground advertising in the area in those languages. this problem is not exclusive to breaking ground but so many of the local organistions are looking at how ballymun 'was' rather than where it is now and where it is going.

breaking ground have done some terrific work in ballymun and they are to be commended for it. unfortunately for them i think this was a bad idea from the start. i have spoken to seamus and he seems like a nice man. but the project is not inclusive. the selection of events in many cases is so distant from the local populus (past or present) that it borders on patronising. due to the nature of the project, it has captured the publics attention, as the local population's. but the selection of events within the hotel create further the divide of "the arts are not for us". not only is it a bad idea, i feel it contributes to undoing breaking down the barrier of entry into the arts for locals.

for future projects breaking ground should be looking at themselves closely and asking the question...'in who's interests are we acting?'

p.s. for what it's worth...there is currently a graffiti art project hanging in the axis arts centre for the next few weeks. it was created by local teenagers.

author by dunkpublication date Thu Apr 05, 2007 20:49author email fuspey at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

2 p's worth...
Not being in Dublin for over a half year has me perhaps a bit distant but having worked up on building sites in Ballymun on cold wet days in the past and having participated in "ART" projects in other city zones which once had "bad names" and previously been part of the seomra spraoi and dolphins barn garden collectives which now, as i type here in Barcelona, are in "HOTEL Ballymun" talking with people there from the area about each others ideas, dreams, work, problems...... and all the rest... id like to throw in my 2 pence worth...

Things can be improved
We all know this but what is it that stops things from improving? the actual constraints, our frustrations, inability to successfully organise and build networks for change, lack of hope or belief we can change things, lack of clarity of what alternative we want, inability to take on and work with new processes, even if they appear a little "mad" or "arty farty"..?

"Art" can help change things
In Ireland I believe overall we have an attitude which is negative and cynical. I understand there are some healthy reasons for being such a way but for me its a disability and it frustrated me so i left to where there is, what i believe to be, a far healthier attitude toward "art", whatever that word means. I now live in Barcelona, where there are a huge amount of amazing things going on, lots of different things are done for different reasons but for the sake of this discussion ill just refer to those that use "art" as a political tool. They do so because they understand the power art posesses, both for the individual do'er of the art and for the collective that their part is normally a part of. Normally the "art" is used as a tool to change things, in whatever the circumstances: diffuse ideas, confront powers, create a short example of an alternative world, make "being political" a hugley enjoyable profound and exciting thing to do. I experienced my first example of this, the night I was evicted from a squatted social centre i was staying in: In ireland my experience of demos or "manifestacions" as they call them here, was mostly boring chanting slogans, walk and catch up with friends for a chat, and not much else. but here the response was to take over the main square and turn it into a free 2 hour long circus for 3 nights with top quality acrobatics, clowning and amusement.... and that led to much more which i reported on here ( Barcelona: 3 early morning raids on 3 squats, including MAKABRA : http://www.indymedia.ie/article/79776 ) On whatever demo I have been on there have been many short or small bits of street theatre, dressed up people, games.... its enjoyable. I know in Dublin we did have a few RTS's, which were great, but did it really spill over to more..?

For a few more examples of stuff here check out some of indymedia barcelonas sections: ( artivism: http://barcelona.indymedia.org/?category=artivisme , squatting and speculation : http://barcelona.indymedia.org/?category=especulacio )

Mayfield and the Nicaraguan revolutions use of ART
A year and a half ago I participated in an "art" project in Mayfield in Cork city, which had a "bad" name at one stage. That project was a real pleasure to work on, I was doing audio work as well as general art work, as well as rolling around the streets literally, as well as asking people to share their dreams in a dreamtent we created in the main public space in Cork, Emmet place, outside the theatre hall. This project was lots of things and i reported some of them here. ( Muralismo @ Mayfield. Nicaraguans, Colombians, Rebels, rest of worlders; http://www.indymedia.ie/article/70860 ) But one of the great things was that there was 2 other "art" groups over to participate, both from Latin America: Medellin in Colombia and Esteley in Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan group was called FUNARTE, and its roots came from what was a successfull revolution for a while, that of the Sandinistas back in the 1980's untill the states did what they do best.....Anyway i want to talk about their attitude to "art": they saw it as an absolutely critical tool in the revolution, it was used as a tool for dialogue, for exploration, for communication, for celebration....and more. Murals were a huge part of the revolution, the messages were carried in them, the ability to make them was passed on within communities: skills were shared and resources were pooled to paint their message. lets call them, the murals, the products of the "art"istic process. they are what came out of something important: the process.

Years later, in Mayfield, there was only 1 or 2 who had been old enough to remember those good old days but they did not forget the reason for doing their thing or the methods, and with that knowledge they came to Cork, the rebel city. What happened was a sort of dreamtime or exploration system was created which allowed the young people from the 3 places to explore their dreams, the dreams of young people of the world, this led to a dialogue, different tools were used: talking, drawing, theatre, talking about films... but it was from this "dialogue" that the ideas slowly emerged about what they wanted to paint and it was in this dialogue that much of the learning was experienced by the youth from mayfield, ogra corcaigh, medellin, estelli and beyond. In the later part of the process those ideas took form and from that a mural was painted. From the group their amazing skill at painting was shared, tricks shown, space allowed for testing and making mistakes and learning... it was a patient yet exciting space and time.

This link with Mayfield and the Sandinista ways did not stop in the "art" centre it went out into the community, why? because people saw and experienced something amazing, pure, simple in it, something everybody could do, something which actually mattered and made a difference, something which they enjoyed and made their space a little more special. The art group down there has worked with the community and toghether, exploring different themes, they have created i think 14 murals which hang in different parts of Mayfield: on libraries, outside shops, on the gable ends of houses in housing estates. Theres much to be learned from this small successful "art" project.

dying for ART
Later in Dun Laoighre world cultures festival there was a nice open participitive exhibition , can art change the world? ( http://www.indymedia.ie/article/71559 ) in which we showed a film about the mayfield project but in which also pepe, a friend from Chile talked about the use of "art" in the latin American context, they do not see so much a separation as we, in Ireland or perhaps Europe, do : for them art is just a normal thing that is done for enjoyment or later as a tool for change if need be. The example of the Chilean folk singer songwriter Victor Jara for whom singing the songs of his people while playing his quitar was his act of revolution was talked about, even in the prison he sang and played: he lifted peoples spirits, he was taken and his fingers broken, he continued to play, he was shot. his "art" mattered, to him, to his people, to their world.....

Its a pity we in Ireland have lost so much of our own world of song, poetry, storytelling, all of which was and still is "art", perhaps we have not but I feel that less and less see it.... but on that note its great to see more and more punks getting into and exploring the old folk roots. On that note is was a pleasure to meet folk punk band lynched a while ago here in barcelona, the first time our paths was at a willie clancy festival down in west clare, many moons ago.. ( lynched: http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.vi...32185 Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy : http://www.setdancingnews.net/wcss/wcsst.htm )

Back to Ballymun
So anyway, what am I trying to say here: I think its that "art" matters, that it COULD be a tool for change and that perhaps in Ireland we need to loosen up a bit and play a bit, let it go and give it a blast. Thats the difference between here and there, why I left. At home, an idea is proposed and its "ah no, that wont work, thats a shite idea" whereas here, no matter how crazy the idea seems its "ok, lets give it a blast, if if works great, if it doesnt sure we will probably learn something from trying and eitherway we will probably have a great laugh trying it". Ok maybe its not said in such Dublin'ese but that has been my experience with things here. And i dont say this having never tried at home, When seomra spraoi were nearly about to open in november 2005 down on Abbey st, when the "no, we need to sort more stuff...." was uttered... We will never have everything sorted but when we take things from the world of talk talk and more fu***ng talk to giving it a blast and quickly dealing with things: then i think we will be in a healthier world. Talk gets boring, Doing stuff is exciting. I know talk is necessary, it is, but maybe in Ireland we talk too much....?

anway, back to Ballymun, again....
"Art" can be a catalyst, it can provoke, both in a gentle or a "in your face" way. Theres a huge amount of bulshit with and in the "art" world, and in this im talking about the art college and gallery world, a little bubble which could do stuff, perhaps at times does, but for the most part does not excite or change anything... I have pissed off enough "art"ists when i accuse them of not getting stuck into "real" things.....
The way i see it is a lot of this "art" world is boring, full of shite talk, and ultimately empty for those that consume it, which is normally those in the galleries "oh,, did you see the new le broquey"..... But hats off to the artist him/herself if s/he enjoys what they are doing, which is critical for all humans to find out, if they are lucky enough to..

Anyway, the point im trying to get to is, this hotel has provoked a reaction, great. Some think its a load of shite, which it might be, but perhaps it might be the thing in this real physical world which gets new people talking to each other, new ideas being exchanged, perhaps leading to new projects, new methods, new acts, new whatever...
i hope the "its all a load of shite people" do go down and give them, whoever they are, hell. I hope a real debate or fight, not a fisty cuffs but a battle of words and beliefs, does happen. What if we were all able to stand up for our beliefs, have them really tested, be forced to act on them..... thats what counts.

For me a lot of different worlds live in their own little ghettos: the political, the arty, the phsyical..... anything which acts as a catalyst which allows for these different worlds to see each other, confront, learn from and with, maybe even like... who knows what that world could lead to.

For me action is important, "art" can be whatever, but sometimes it does change the world. And what better than improving things because take a quick look around and you'll see how bad things need changing. The question is what type of world do we want and how do we find that out, Art can be one of those tools. And for those that are busy trying to change things isnt it a pleasure when your fight takes the form of creativity, making or doing amazing things with others, living in a time of something profound and beautiful....

any of us can do this, i dont get why so many turn their noses up at new ways, its them that miss out. look at how few of the Dublin anarchists or politicos did just this when the clowns came over : "arty farty shite.."

Anyway, we battle on.
I hope more people do start to play.
I hope that "art" sparks of like wildfire in Ballymun and that it doesent stop there, there to Dublin, to Ireland, to the World

Sorry if I rambled, or that this is a complete load of shite. Its my world, my battle and they were my, i suppose now, 3 and a half p's worth of thoughts on the matter

So slan libh from El Barco here in Barcelona

Adieu

Dunk

El Barco
http://wikihost.org/wikis/casas_bcn/wiki/el_barco

Stories from the sea

http://wikihost.org/wikis/casas_bcn/wiki/stories_from_t...e_sea

"art" : whatever that is....

critical discussion @ monks garden, venice
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/70090

Muralismo @ Mayfield. Nicaraguans, Colombians, Rebels, rest of worlders;
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/70860

listen to audio feedback session between "art" and "activist" communities-@ 30 mns

http://radio.indymedia.org/uploads/the_red_archive_disc...n.mp3
previous thread
http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=65045&sea...chive

Seomra Spraoi collective invites you to a night of play, art, discussion, film, food, disco : http://www.indymedia.ie/article/71888

author by wageslavepublication date Fri Apr 06, 2007 01:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"buy a load of gear for "anto and paula" and have them shoot up in front of a middle class audience as the blocks fall, or to buy a load of tools so "anto and paula" can rob a load of middle class cars and houses, document the theft and sell the dvd's back to the victim. that would make a more interesting art

That sounds much more gritty and up to date to me....

Can someone tell me why Anto and paula sound so familiar? :)
What do the indymedia crew DO in their spare time :)

I have another suggestion.

Give Anto, paula (and chekov if he's free :) and some previous residents who endured life in the towers, a crate of c4 and loads of demolition gear and let them blow up the last remaining tower with the artists and D4 vultures still inside!! The experience handling explosives and co-ordinating the project should help secure them future employment in the demolition sector which might grow quite a bit in the future the way things are going. Might I also suggest they consider doing the dail with fianna fail still inside as an encore!!

author by The squirrelpublication date Fri Apr 06, 2007 11:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I went to the "Hotel" last night for the Seomra Spraoi workshop/discussion . I have to say I hadn't read this story and discussion until this morning so i was free of all prejudices bar my own before I went.

I really enjoyed having a wander around the tower as I have a few friends who used to live in these towers. They had told me many often funny stories about life in the towers. I was brought up in Tallaght myself and went to school in Ballyfermot so i suppose I couldn't be classed as a poverty tourist but its all relative isn't it. The artists really have done something positive with the space and you do get some sense of the reality of life in the towers. It is true tho that the full extent of the drudgery and squalor has been removed. What hasn't changed is the view from the top of the tower which is a spectacular vista of the city right up to the Dublin Mountains (hills). There was the most amazing sunset I've ever seen (and i've been around)

I was disappointed on a personal note that there didn't seem to be any locals at the discussion on social spaces. I know that those organising the event were doing it with local people in mind. The only local people i talked to in or around the tower (apart from those working there) were two children who were hanging around outside. They were curious to know was I staying there that night and why I was there? The recognised my friend and I as not being from Ballymun.

Taken in isolation this project is definitely worthwhile especially as it gets people to visit Ballymun who never would have. I just hope that when people do go that they take some time to have a walk around the area, have a cupa in the cafe in the shopping centre etc..and really see whats going on. Then they can make there own minds up rather than reading in the paper about problems in certain parts of our city etc..

Having said all that I think the problems that residents are having as mentioned in the article such as fires and flooding etc... should be the priority for funding and only after these have been solved should we be considering art installations.

author by yutpublication date Fri Apr 06, 2007 12:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Were the crowd all people who already knew loads about the social centre scene already, or people who just came from the place in town to have a gawk at the tower - thus stopping any local or new people from coming in because it was probably booked up?

author by Local Resident - Yipee do - next big thing's Ikeapublication date Fri Apr 06, 2007 13:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Is that the balance sheet of this event? "We made great use of the space". Isn't that an exercise in downpaying some of the horror stories the inhabitants of the area had to endure? Whether it be through shit planners, an uncaring national and local government, thoughtless crims etc, etc,
I'm sure given half a chance artists could turn anything into a great space. Sounds so like Roger Waters and the Berlin Wall.

author by nessarghpublication date Mon Apr 09, 2007 13:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dan's comments roughly sum up my impression of the project, and - from what I could see - they also reflect the views expressed by some previous inhabitants of the flats who visited while I was staying at the hotel. They came in to have a look around, got *very* excited, took lots of photographs and treated us with some tales from their lives in the tower. It was an honour to meet them and I did feel like I was intruding in their home, but they didn't see it like that and were visibly pleased with what had been done to the place. Of course they knew I couldn't possibly understand what it was like to live there but they also knew I couldn't help being middle class and naive and awkwardly well-intentioned.

I had been meaning to visit the flats for years, out of curiosity about a historical phenomenon, and this was the perfect way to do it. The transformation of the upper flats and the concierge at the door doesn't gloss over the all-too-recent truth - the terrible conditions and insecurity. On the contrary, it highlights it extremely effectively. But it would do nobody any good if every visitor left with a feeling of doom and depression about some of our government's disastrous decisions, and the project is also very successful at highlighting the progress that *is* being made. Having friends in Romania who live in conditions as bad as, if not worse than, the Ballymun flats used to be, it was extremely uplifting to see what *can* be done.

To complain that the hotel got security guards which the flats never had is silly - Seamus and his team only had control over how the art funds were used - he's not a county councillor. He also has little control over how many of the Ballymun residents are affected by the project - obviously those who make the effort to get involved will be more so, and the hotel provides an intriguing, open atmosphere likely to encourage many. There's no need to nit-pick such a positive and dedicated effort (and success!)

I see only two problems with Hotel Ballymun - it's not open for long enough and not enough people know about it!

author by Until Jerusalempublication date Tue Apr 10, 2007 13:37author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"I was disappointed on a personal note that there didn't seem to be any locals at the discussion on social spaces."

That pretty much say it all really, doesn't it?

author by galway water drinker - and proud of itpublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 00:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It doesnt say everything - but it certainly raises some questions.
Did anyone from Seomra Spraoi ask any Ballymun residents groups to come?
Or was it really all people who know everything about "social spaces" already?
Answers please - you are reading this.

author by dunkpublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 12:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

yes,
be great to hear from the seomra spraoi collective, they have been very silent on this. why is this

for whom to these collectives work, themselves in their ghettos, or are they attempting to open up and broaden out...?

how much diffusion of their ideas are done?
how much photos are online of past events, how much has been celebrated of all they have done,

looks like stuck in a ghetto, and not looking like getting out...?
is this fair?

i suppose they did head up to ballymun, thats a start, but a lot lot lot more could be done, and despite requests for this, little has happened...

previouus attempts at pushing out of the ghetto :
(Seomra Spraoi collective invites you to a night of play, art, discussion, film, food, disco : http://www.indymedia.ie/article/71888 )
where some homeless lads participated in a theatre of the opressed workshop... that was a great night..

on a different note, a similar project happened to this hotel, i refered to it here ( http://www.indymedia.ie/article/81816 )

"Anyway, this Ballymun project makes me remember the pallas heights project in dublin 1, the aul monto. Whatever came of that? still up or pulled down? their studio was on foley st, and the gallery was in the top flats of sean tracey house. (art systems occupying derelict space in dublin city : http://www.indymedia.ie/article/72077 ) "

see photo of pallas heights:
http://www.indymedia.ie/attachments/apr2007/pallas_heig...2.jpg

and about that fella seamus, he is a very nice fellow, and the quite gentle work he has been doing for a long time now is great, more of it

earlier post on that:
UBE-urban bicycle exchange- COMMUNISM exhibition- project
urban bicycle exchange

Temporary bike workshop where old or abandoned bikes can be brought and fixed by whoever wants to keep them. Bring along an old bike, or come along and bring home a new one.
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/68500

hope sparks catch for yez..

author by krossie - in seomra but not necessarily repesenting itpublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 15:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes it was one of our main objectives in having the meeting and we put a bit of work into i it and all aspects of the meeting..We don't do these things for our own personal entertainment or because we have no lives...

We both snail-mailed and E- mailed any address we could get for local community groups and got details passed on to all the relevent community fora on the new we could find via Michael R - who works as an artist and photographer and does courses with local kids

It was also put up on all the usual fora including indymedia - which, by this thread, appears to be practically bursting at the seems with Ballymun residents :-)
- so we expected some response.

So it was somewhat dissappointing for us (as expressed by "the squirrel" above) that we didn't get at least one or two locals (there was one cos I was chatting with him for a while) either activists or just heads to exchange views with - maybe our info was out of date or maybe they saw our efforts as irrelevent - I don't know.

As to seomraspraoi (and so far as I can speak for them!) we're a hard working collective working on many, many things both in the seomra and other political stuff and few us live on indymedia 247 (sorry Dunk!)

Krossie

(btw we hold meetings OPEN TO ALL at the seomra 5 ormand Quay Dublin 7.30 pm every Thursday - so if ANYONE (of what ever class, creed or colour) can tear themselves away from being always right on the intenet to do doing some practical stuff they would be very, very welcome...)

cryptosporidium fan observes from a safe position of ignorance:
> It doesnt say everything - but it certainly raises some questions.
>Did anyone from Seomra Spraoi ask any Ballymun residents groups to come?
>Or was it really all people who know everything about "social spaces" already?
>Answers please - you are reading this.

Related Link: http://www.myspace.com/seomraspraoi
author by m. - seomrapublication date Wed Apr 11, 2007 20:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's 6 (not 5) lower ormonde quay : )

What's the story with everyone jumping to criticise before they even know what we're up to?
Some of the seomra spraoi-ers work out in ballymun so we had some contacts already, we aimed the workshop to be as open as possible (given restrictions in numbers allowed), we made every attempt to ensure as much communication with local groups before the workshop.
Why jump to assuming we didn't?
you people are weird.

author by Dunkwatchpublication date Thu Apr 12, 2007 00:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In fairness Dunk given how you recently compared the eviction of some troupe of fucking clown acrobats from a space in Barcelona with the Spanish Civil War one would really have to question who it is has this "ghetto mentality."

author by HW - Seomra Spraoipublication date Thu Apr 12, 2007 15:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For the Hotel Ballymun event, Seomra Spraoi emailed an invite to all the community groups in Ballymun (with the help of the Axis centre). We also phoned about 30 of the community groups. It wasn't the case (as suggested by "yut" above) that it was booked out by outsiders which prevented locals from coming. The invites went out about ten days in advance. It got booked out just a few hours before the event.

We spent hours planning the event and we were really looking forward to a discussion with local people, activists or otherwise; learning from them etc. It was a bit disappointing that none came, but it was a great evening anyway. More than half the people at it seemed to be new to the whole concept.

I think the comment by "galway water drinker - and proud of it", where s/he says: "Answers please - you are reading this." is pretty funny and reveals a mentality that assumes that everyone spends most of their time online reading comments posted by people like him/her. As Krossie pointed out, the people involved in Seomra Spraoi are very busy and so don't bother too much with online discussions.

author by Me07publication date Thu Apr 19, 2007 01:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Open the hotel, partially refurbished and put Bertie and the lads in it for one night, then he might realise how useless he has been to his neighbouring constituency since 1997. On the other side of things, atleast he isnt demanding as much money as the consultants... would they ever realise that they aren't that smart, anybody can take out body parts and sow it all back up again, for their wages I could invisage a total overhaul of the cabinet

(entirely joking of course) - but Hotel Ballymun may be a good idea?

author by reprintpublication date Fri Apr 27, 2007 00:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

From 23 March to 27 April 2007, the 15th floor of Clarke Tower, one of the last remaining tower blocks in Ballymun, was transformed into a short stay hotel.

The furniture, designed and made by people from Ballymun in collaboration with designers: Sticks and Jonathan Legge, was created specially for the Hotel. Due to the levels of interest in the individual pieces which furnish each room, all of which were crafted from abandoned furniture left behind in the flats, an auction of the pieces will be held.

Funds generated by the auction along with the donations made by Hotel guests, will fund arts bursaries and scholarships for people in Ballymun.

The furniture auction will take place on at 7pm on Thursday 3rd May in the Civic Offices, Ballymun.

Wine, soft drinks and finger food will be provided.

Car parking is available at the underground Car Park at the Civic Centre Ballymun.

Hotel Ballymun is a Breaking Ground commission by the young, award-winning artist, Seamus Nolan. "The interest in Hotel Ballymun, the collective accomplishment of an immense collaborative effort throughout the local community and beyond, surpassed all of our expectations. All nine bedrooms were booked out every night for the four weeks it was open, local community groups availed of the free conference room to hold meetings and thousands of people visited during the day time." Aisling Prior, Artistic Director, Breaking Ground.Visit www.hotelballymun.com and also www.breakingground.ie

For further information or images please call Breaking Ground on 018832112

hotel_ballymun.jpg

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