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Photo Story from Hotel Ballymun

category dublin | arts and media | news report author Wednesday April 04, 2007 19:51author by Paula Geraghtyauthor email mspgeraghty at yahoo dot ie Report this post to the editors

Art has no natural home.

Ballymun is undergoing a process of regeneration, like so many marginalised communities in Ireland.
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Last Saturday a poetry slam reading was taking place in the Hotel Ballymun, I managed to get in. As a venue and a cultural space it's been booked out, so successful I was asked by an artist involved to hold off posting on Indymedia. I respected that wish.

I spoke to some of the residents, two were teachers, recognising each other from a training conference and both wanted to participate in the experience that was Hotel Ballymun. One woman knew the place quite well and wanted to say goodbye to a place with many memories. This was a part ritual and something which she never thought she would see in her lifetime. Clarke Tower's last cultural moment.

The 'hotel' was an incredible space. It begged the question why can't there be spaces of cultural imaginings and possibilities in every community. These spaces have been created as a result of regeneration have been fought for and won. Hotel Ballymun has been the product of at least 12 months collaboration with many different aspects of the local community.

Fergus Byrne led the show with a film showing of wrestling and danceopening up and inviting a conversation on physicality ,gender voyuerism and dance. The audience was invited to discuss, be part of the the creative process, rather than being excluded from it.
Beat poetry by Raven, humour by Theresa Lally, Clonakilty's Poet Dave Lordan , Noel Sweeney and Fintan O Higgins all gave their all, but an outstanding performance by Lisamarie Johnson, left one shook up. As the music of Q pop stayed behind in the room we headed back to the infamous lift to feel the descending rattle and hum. (c)

Related Link: http://www.hotelballymun.com/home.php

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Rock Garden
Rock Garden

author by Paula Geraghtypublication date Wed Apr 04, 2007 19:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

(c)

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author by pat cpublication date Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Paula, you always take great pics, but some of these go beyond that. Especially the first lot, the sun, the red-lit room, the cat (?), the rock garden.

The debate will continue as to whether or not this was an appropriate venue for this artistic experiment but obviously some residents think it was.

Art & Culture is for the many, not the few.

Don't be a cynic and disconsolate preacher. Don't bewail and moan. Omit the negative propositions. Challenge us with incessant affirmatives. Don't waste yourself in rejection, or bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

author by krossie - wsm personal capacitypublication date Thu Apr 05, 2007 10:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great pictures and great Emerson quote!

kp

author by dunkpublication date Thu Apr 05, 2007 17:05author email fuspey at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address el barco, barcelona, el mundoauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Agree with the krossie fellow, nice quote:

Being for stuff, as simply being opposed to stuff and getting on with doing it, as opposed to talking about it...
a little of that talking and action was discussed earlier here: (Whatever Happened to Anti-Capitalism? : http://indymedia.ie/article/80676 )

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 )

By the way, now we are on this point where art meets space meets political systems meets healthier used spaces, how are seomra spraoi doing, the dublin social centre, how is the city arts centre, are there any more new art/radical/used spaces opening up....
(Seomra Spraoi collective invites you to a night of play, art, discussion, film, food, disco : http://www.indymedia.ie/article/71888 )

Ive been living in Barcelona for the last while where there is new occupations nearly every week, along with a load of evictions. its a continous game of reclaiming and recycling space to make more vibrant and used, as opposed to unused and dangerous. These spaces dont normally seek permission to be, instead the spaces are taken and created for as long as possible. In many cases this can be years, and in this time some "art" projects happen, if thats what some choose to call them. Anyway stuff on that: ( IMC-BCN, speculation and squatting section: http://barcelona.indymedia.org/?category=especulacio ) and our own part in that story, CSOAm El barco ( website: http://wikihost.org/wikis/casas_bcn/wiki/el_barco + IMC-IE coverage: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/79776 )

So from that...
there could be a lot more though:

if more of the different groups peeked out of their ghettos and hooked up with others from their ghettos, which i suppose is whats happening now in ballymun...
dialogue is happening, new ways and ideas are being seen, more dialogue and stuff can happen...no matter who it is that participates.

From that there might actually be a more participative architectural, planning, social system: ie: people dictate what goes on: bottom up, not top down. I think we are getting there though..

Slan from a durty day in Barcelona

Pallas heights: a precedent for the hotel ballymun, could be a lot more though
Pallas heights: a precedent for the hotel ballymun, could be a lot more though

author by terrypublication date Wed Feb 06, 2008 21:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

this is the greatest load of crap ive ever looked at. class voyerisim at it s worst. wheres the heads shooting up ? ? where s the drunks, burnt cars and the REAL ballymun i know??
shitbags..

author by pollytixpublication date Wed Feb 06, 2008 23:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There's lots of different experiences of living in Ballymun, much of it negative due to local government's neglect and the national Government's complicity. Yep there's burnt out cars, poverty, hurt, despair, unemployment and drugs to name but a few. But there's also hope, community fighting for change and their demand for equality, respect and dignity. Art has a role to play in all of this. Art in the community is different to art in an exclusive Art gallery that's a high Church of good taste and refined middle class notions. Take it out of that space and all the rules melt away. Here art is turned upside down how it's created who's involved and all the possibilities which could never be explored in the old days.

Money spent on art is a good thing. We want bread and roses, music, poetry, love, laughter, joy. Art can offer glimpses of what we could be and what our world could be depending on how it is engaged with.

Is it a good thing that the Hotel Ballymun happened? I would argue an emphatic yes. It exposed that the reality that was Ballymun for many never had to be like that. The never should have been a wholescale community wide marginalisation. Government policy determined the fate, very tragically in Ballymun. A fraction of the money spent on the regeneration of Ballymun was put into art. |If peoples expectations are raised, their hopes and aspirations for a better life are articulated, validated and legitimised, then it is worth it for that alone.

There is no one Ballymun, but there is one Government policy and a media bias. Hotel Ballymun turned our living spaces into something far greater. Our places of abode could be places where we just don't eat sleep shit and watch TV. Hotel Ballymun offered hope and optimism.

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