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Nov 15 - Dec 19 Pitstop Ploughshares Hammers Exhibit at Project Gallery, Temple Bar, Dublin
dublin | arts and media | press release Saturday November 15, 2008 13:00 by Ploughshares
Hammers employed in the Pitstop Ploughshares disarmament of a U.S. Navy War Plane in Feb 03 at Shannon Airport www.peaceontrial.com go on display at Project Gallery, Temple Bar/Dublin, from Nov 15-Dec 19. The exhibit by Dublin artist Seamus Nolan is part of a broader exhibition by the Goethe Institute "If you Could Change the Wolrd at Last 1968-2008"
*Retrieving the Pitstop Ploughshares Hammers from Shannon Gardai Station
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I find the whole slavish adoration of the Pitstops to be yawn worthy, it feels like product endorsement politics.
It also detracts from the other anti-war groups, whom, shall we say are not so craven in their self-promotion?
'Group of semi middle-aged yoghurt-weavers display tools'
I find responding to anonymous (by implication cowradly or cop) cynics time wasting but here we go....
My role in Ireland for the past 12 months has been to help archive the Pitstop Ploughshares action.
Thus far this has been accomplished without resources or infrastructure and has involved
-co-operating with, launching and promoting the fim doc "Route Irish"
-personally putting $U.S.2,800 up for the publication of promoting Harry Browne's (heavilly mainstream media censored book) "Hammered by the Irish" www.counterpunch.org
-retrieving the hammers from the cops, they backed down with the court action opposig this
-introducing a film maker to a musician so they could collabarate in a youtube of a song about Shannon its role in the war and the nvda taken in there in 03...stay tuned for this one.
- and here Seamus exhibition
None of the above artworks are my artworks, I've just helped out where I could. I was willing to help with the maintream German tv crew in Ireland this weekend who phned me Friday doing a doc comparing the role of Shannon and Lipzeig (sp?)....I couldn't get down to Shannon on such notice to to do the interview they wanted but suggested other direct actionists to them, gave contacts etc.
It's all about passing the ball of dissident memory (as opposed to nostalgia as a mild form of depression" Abbie Hoffman
The significance of this work is
...."the struggle between people and power is the struggle between remembering and forgetting" Czech dissident Milan Kundera
"I will tell you something about stories, he said
They aren't just entertainment
Don't be fooled,
They are all we have, you see,
all we have to fight off illness and death
You don't have anything
if you don't have stories
Their evil is mighty
but it can't stand up to our stories
So they try to destroy the stories
let the stories be confused or forgotten,
They woould like that
They would be happy
Because we would be defenseless then...."
(Native American Leslie Marmon Silko "Ceremony")
The state, the mainstream media, the U.S. would like it to be forgotten that serious nonviolent resistance took place to the U.S. ongoing militarisation of Shannon Airport.
If you are bored with the war no surprises there, you're not alone ..or resistance to it just don't click your mouse on titles you're bored with!
It's not rocket science dufus!
You seem be suffering from the misaprehension that activists and indymedia are here for your entertainment and amusement...sorry about that, go back to tv trough and feed there...and your suffering will cease.
If you ain't got an agent its all self promotion baby.
I'm nearly done, so just hang in there a little bit longer and you'll be right
Well said above, and congrats on having your trusty hammer displayed as a piece of art. I'm with you too on the responding to anonymous users front: if something's worth saying, it's worth putting your name to.
It's interesting that you quoted Milan Kundera above. Whenever I am teaching the poem 'A Disused Shed in County Wexford' I also use that quote to sum it up. I use Primo Levi's 'Song of Those Who Died in Vain' as an introduction - the anger of it gets the students interested - poetry as it should be.
Here's the two poems in full:
'Song of Those Who Died in Vain'
by Primo Levi
Sit down and bargain
All you like, grizzled old foxes.
We’ll wall you up in a splendid palace
With food, wine, good beds and a good fire
Provided that you discuss, negotiate
For our and your children’s lives.
May all the wisdom of the universe
Converge to bless your minds
And guide you in the maze.
But outside in the cold we will be waiting for you,
The army of those who died in vain,
We of the Marne, of Montecassino,
Treblinka, Dresden and Hiroshima.
And with us will be
The leprous and the people with trachoma,
The Disappeared Ones of Buenos Aires,
Dead Cambodians and dying Ethiopians,
The Prague negotiators,
The bled-dry of Calcutta
The innocents slaughtered in Bologna.
Heaven help you if you come out disagreeing:
You’ll be clutched tight in our embrace.
We are invincible because we are the conquered,
Invulnerable because already dead;
We laugh at your missiles.
Sit down and bargain
Until your tongues are dry.
If the havoc and the shame continue
We’ll drown you in our putrefaction.
'A Disused Shed in County Wexford'
by Derek Mahon
Let them not forget us, the weak souls among the asphodels
Seferis — 'Mythistorema'
For J.G. Farrell
Even now there are places where a thought might grow —
Peruvian mines, worked out and abandoned
To a slow clock of condensation,
An echo trapped forever, and a flutter
Of wildflowers in the lift-shaft,
Indian compounds where the wind dances
And a door bangs with diminished confidence,
Lime crevices behind rippling rainbarrels,
Dog corners for bone burials;
And a disused shed in Co. Wexford,
Deep in the grounds of a burnt-out hotel,
Among the bathtubs and the washbasins
A thousand mushrooms crowd to a keyhole.
This is the one star in their firmament
Or frames a star within a star.
What should they do there but desire?
So many days beyond the rhododendrons
With the world waltzing in its bowl of cloud,
They have learnt patience and silence
Listening to the rooks querulous in the high wood.
They have been waiting for us in a foetor
Of vegetable sweat since civil war days,
Since the gravel-crunching, interminable departure
of the expropriated mycologist.
He never came back, and light since then
Is a keyhole rusting gently after rain.
Spiders have spun, flies dusted to mildew
And once a day, perhaps, they have heard something —
A trickle of masonry, a shout from the blue
Or a lorry changing gear at the end of the lane.
There have been deaths, the pale flesh flaking
Into the earth that nourished it;
And nightmares, born of these and the grim
Dominion of stale air and rank moisture.
Those nearest the door growing strong —
'Elbow room! Elbow room!'
The rest, dim in a twilight of crumbling
Utensils and broken flower-pots, groaning
For their deliverance, have been so long
Expectant that there is left only the posture.
A half century, without visitors, in the dark —
Poor preparation for the cracking lock
And creak of hinges. Magi, moonmen,
Powdery prisoners of the old regime,
Web-throated, stalked like triffids, racked by drought
And insomnia, only the ghost of a scream
At the flashbulb firing squad we wake them with
Shows there is life yet in their feverish forms.
Grown beyond nature now, soft food for worms,
They lift frail heads in gravity and good faith.
They are begging us, you see, in their wordless way,
To do something, to speak on their behalf
Or at least not to close the door again.
Lost people of Treblinka and Pompeii!
'Save us, save us,' they seem to say,
'Let the god not abandon us
Who have come so far in darkness and in pain.
We too had our lives to live.
You with your light meter and relaxed itinerary,
Let not our naive labours have been in vain!'
Great poems, those! Nothing wrong with showing what good/useful things you can do with a hammer...DIY for peace.
The Movement Displayed in a Museum - is it really all past tense now?
Radio show Liveline got pretty lively yesterday around the controversy of displaying the retrieved Pitstop Ploughshares hammers at the Project Gallery, Temple Bar (they should be there until Dec 10th./ Harry Browne's "Hammered by the Irish" is also available there for sale). Harry got ten minutes to talk about his book on national radio which is a pretty rare occurence in an Irish mainstream media that seems to have a consenus going to suppress all things Shannon and Irish complicity in the U.S. ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
An RTE flying squad were dispatched to the gallery yesterday to do a negative piece on "wasting taxpayers money"...dudes the U.S. paid for the repairs of the plane and the prosecution wasted maybe half a mill pn prosecuting us hen we were obviously not guilty. We told them that in the hangar!
War is the crime! Irish complicity in it is the crime! RTE editors must have decided not to give the issue any more oxygen and it didn't make the cut last night. The Indo did aninterview with the artist and likewise. The Manufacturers of Consent have decided that even bad publisity is oxygen to th e issues surrounding Irish complicity in the war and NVDA as a means of resisitng it...raised by the hammers on display in downtown Dublin. Hey they have ben used exhibits thret imes before, why not again?
The exhibit is a side exhibit to an exhibition at the Goether gallery up on Merrion Square running into December. I went to the launch which was great other exhibits include 1068 Mexico and a film about where Che died, an interview with a local who helped the wounded Che into a school house where he was executed the next morning.
What's the connection with the Ploughshares hammers and 1968 you ask? Ploughshares came out of the experiences of what the mainstream media labelled the "Catholic Left" and the "ultraresistance"
the mainstream labelled the Berrigans as the "leaders" and slapped them on the front page of Time Magazine. The faith based NVDA movement involved the draft boar raids of the late '60's and early '70's. A development of a more assertive nonviolent direct action against U.S. imperial wars from the previous Conscientious Objection position and draft card burninings by those who had a draft card to burn. Recently David Byrne of "Talking Heads" stated that he didn't get drafted because the
"I can get drafted (luckily, Daniel Berrigan burned my draft board’s records) ....... David Byrne "Talking Heads"
Before the Pitstop action at Shannon, days after the death of Phil Berrigan (early Dec 02) Catholic Workers turned the Shannon Airport fountain blood red, pasted up photos of Iraqi kids already dying under sanctions and sporadic US/UK bombardment and painted "The War Stops Here!" Phil Berrigan R.I.P. on the tailfin scultpture at Shannon Airport.
When Phil Berrigan was underground and listed as one of the 10 most wanted by the FBI he was discovered hiding in aithor Harry Browne's father's closet...so the links are there back to '68 when traditions were being questioned a tradition was started. Who would have thunk?
Yes, the USA Berrigan S.J. brothers and Sr. Liz McAllister and their collaborators started something in the '60s when they destroyed Vietnam draft files at Catonsville. In the mid-60s and on into the 70s there appeared to be a small, incipient "Catholic Left" in Ireland. Austin Flannery O.P. (who died in October aged 83) edited the liberal-to-left monthly magazine, Doctrine and Life. He gathered around him several media individuals whose outlook was similar; a few had Labour Party leanings either in public or private. In the late '60 there was a short-lived radical Catholic mag called The Grille, edited by a young student activist/journalist named John Feeney. Also in the south suburbs of Dublin was a tiny group calling itself Christians for Socialism, with a particular interest in liberation theology and Latin American issues. Most individuals went their several ways, some still involved in single issue causes, whether it be peace, environment, organic farming or Latin America. There have been tiny groups and loose associations of like-minded individuals involved in CND-type actions and third world/immigration matters. Some of these people had missionary and other experience in Africa and Latin America. In general, however, the growth possibilities were limited by the unintellectual folkloric pieties of catholicism in Ireland and the unphilosophical attitude of the society in general, and this catholicism has shrunk under the secularising tendencies of the 1970s onwards. Secularism doesn't lead inevitably to social radicalism; as people progress in their middle class careers they sink themselves quietly in family and working life.
In recent years a few Irish catholic writers have published reflective books and things about Irish Catholicism. Look up Vincent Twomey (a Maynooth professor and former missionary), Mary Kenny (a former feminist activist) and the resilient and unique Desmond Fennell, a freelance social commentator and sort of philosopher. An academic named Peadar Kirby has published books and articles on the liberation theology phenomenon in Latin America and on world poverty issues.
In reaction to the Northern Ireland conflict there were a few radical, republican or liberal clerics who stuck their necks out, but I don't know if they carried many lay followers with them, however useful their activities may have been to disadvantaged social groups affected by poverty and social conflict.
Organised religion here in the republic continues to shrink but it won't go away. There are liberal and conservative religious groups active on single issues in Irish society. They are sometimes looked on with suspicion by the hierarchy, and by secular journalists and mainstream politicians.
I am in agreement with anyone who rejects the anonymity, or quasi-anonymity, of contributions here; but I must say, I am still unsure about the notion that the Pitstop action, which is to be praised, should subsequently be reduced into an (acceptably bourgeois) art-object, complete with frame and concealed behind glass in a chic gallery-space in Dublin's Temple Bar. Certainly artists and poets should come out of their hiding-places somewhat more often than they do and demonstrate at Shannon (for instance); but that is not saying that their very demonstrating is in itself a work of art, or an 'installation,' God helps us. If that were the case, perhaps Damian Hirst could be called upon to 'design' a demonstration at Shannon comprising sections of demonstrators in glass cases! It is vitally important that the work of the GAAW and others who go to Shannon regularly should not be turned into some sort of circus-act - and let's not forget that the Arts Council grant-aids circuses these days. So, the Pitstop action is moving into a strange perceptual-political space by putting the hammers and so on behind glass in an art gallery. A history museum, perhaps - but an art gallery???
The exhibit is temporary until Dec 10th.
The Ploughshares hammers have not been put beyond use. There was an approach to make them a permanent exhibit and that was rejected for this reason. One of the hammers has racked up $7million worth of disarmament in 5 actions. One has been involved in two actions. I'm sure they all have a bright future.
In some ways they are relics made sacred by the communities who came together in a spirit of nonviolence to disarm. The exhibit is the work of the artist. Yesterday after Liveline there was a flood of folks who came to view them and reflect on the war and on resistance. can't be a bad thing hopefully it will lead to further nonviolent resistance.
Arts, religion, football can be safety valves in the culture and can also be the font of radical action and community building.
I am strongly anti-war and I would like to think if I had met the Pitstop Ploughshares in Feb 2003 that I would have joined them in their action. The invasion of Iraq was illegal and immoral and as far as I'm concerned George W. Bush is a war criminal who should be put on trial.
However, time and events move on. US troops should not be in Iraq in the first place , but given that they are there, they need to stay there until they are in a position to hand power over to a stable Iraqi government/ regime (call it what you will). If they were to pull out tomorrow morning there would be mass bloodshed and Civil War to a level that would match/ exceed the horror and death that has been inflicted on the people of Iraq over most of the last 5 years. Since the surge in troops began to have an effect , the presence of U.S. troops has managed to keep down the number of deaths in the country. Of course once they do withdraw , even if handing over to a stable regime, it is likely that the death toll will rise again because there are many factions bidiing their time waiting for a power vacuum to develop after the US withdraw , but given that US occupying forces are in Iraq, to me this is the lesser of 2 evils right now.
The U.S., British, Australian and Irish governments etc. should pay reparations to the people of Iraq as they leave. If you broke it (meaning things that sustain and nourish life...bombed hospitals, sewerage and water works etc not weapons designed to kill) you fix it!
The U.S. needs desperatately to repent from empire and at least get back to being a Republic.
Ireland needs to mature as a nation and quit serving the U.S. war machine. Take a tip from the Kiwis in the '80's when they banned nuclear warship visits (same population, maybe 60 million more sheep!), more economically and politically isolated than Ireland in 03 (even the Australian Labor Govt was pressuring them to follow American orders, French tried to intimidate the after bombing the Greenpeace Rainbow warrior in Auckland Harbour). Kiwis stood up to them and are a more maturer and independent people (than Ireland) for it and probably play better Rugby.
Ciaron, I'm assuming your scattergun reaction is mostly directed at me and I can only respond to your "grow up " jibe with the words "move on". Sometimes when you are truly for peace you have got to do that. If we in this country were still stuck in 1916 or 1921 or at any other stage in the past 800 years we would not have had a peace process and the IRA, UVF, UDA, etc (not to mention the British forces) would still be killing innocent people in Northern Ireland and beyond.
Iraq 2008 is not the same as Iraq 2003. It is not a question of being anaesthizised or feeding from the trough. The Iraqis themselves need to evolve a stable form of government which (however unpromising are the prospects right now) will govern for all the people of Iraq. The alternative is your anarchic solution which would lead to countless more deaths.
Bully for them if the Kiwis are a more maturer and independent people than the Irish (indisputably they do play better rugby). I'm not much exercised by the superior qualities of one nation over another because for the most part nationality is merely a peg upon which to hang one's prejudices.
The British forces ARE still killing "innocent people" in what Frank calls "beyond"...
Is there a point to all of this? And I'm not altogether sure I can go blind to Ciaron's comments on the Irish by comparison with the 'Kiwis,' which seems a rather public school rugby sort of term for New Zealanders. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he is referring to the Irish government and not to the people of Ireland, from among whom a jury was selected that declared the Pitstops not guilty; rightly so, but remember, Ciaron, they comprised Irish people, and it would be wrong of you to tar the Irish people with notions of not being independent and so on. And political protest is not a mine-is-bigger-than-yours contest. 110,000 of us marched in the streets against the war in Iraq and the use of Shannon and have been protesting in our various ways ever since. It's likely now that some of us are having are e-mails intercepted and read for our pains. But this is precisely what I meant by the 'messianic' overtones in parts of the book. There is no 'bible' of protest, no creed, no new Ghandi created out of what happened at Shannon. I am wary of what others have termed the cult of personality, particularly in the realms of public protest. What the Pitstops did was a considerable achievement and highlighted enormously the wrongs being conducted through the use of Shannon airport by the US military. This cannot be taken away from them. Nor should it be undermined by silly comparisons between the Irish and the, eh, 'Kiwis.'
''silly comparisons between the Irish and the, eh, 'Kiwis.' ''
You obviously missed Ciaron's point Fred.
Ireland's elites and those that follow them are still trying to kiss the arses of two masters - both 'berlin and boston'.
Ireland can stand on its own two feet - if it tries.
Maybe then, ireland will stop participating in American Wars and stop following Euro harmonised dictates.
rejection of Lisbon was just the beginning
other blogishness here: http://LMV.hu/redjade
That Ireland can stand on her own two feet is precisely my point, and I rather reject Ciaron suggesting that in some way we cannot and were supine in the face of our government's ko-towing to the US and others. Like Bertie Ahern, he seems to conflate the people of Ireland with the government of Ireland, as if they were the same thing. We marched and proved they are not.
YOUTUBE (4mins) Recent Catholic Worker/Plowshares nonvolent direct action on B52 Bomber at Oceana 2008 airshow where childrend are instructed to handle weapons of war.....
Fred, a minor point but I think it illustrates the ill judged and rather petulant tone of your recent posts regarding the exhibition of the hammers. You refer to the term "Kiwi's" as being a public school - rugby playing colloquialism, It's beyond me how it registered with you in this way but it is in fact a near universal and indeed self -referential term for New Zealand people, check wikipedia for the derivation and level of usage of the term or indeed a dictionary.
Noted. Now let's get back to the main thread of the topic, lads - have you opinions on the exhibition of the hammers et al at Temple Bar? It was, by the way, only a matter of time before the anonymous 'Martin' from Galway started sniping: one can be certain that 'Martin' wasn't at the launch of Harry Browne's book and couldn't find Shannon with a map. That right, 'Martin'?
These hammers are just ordinary hammers - there's nothing special about them. What the hell are these hammers doing in an Art Gallery? No effort has been made to display them in a thought provoking artistic way, or to create some interesting background artwork that would convey the symbolic meaning or story behind these plain ordinary hammers - why didn't they put Ciarán in the display instead, at least he would be more interesting and extraordinary to look at. There are artistic people in the Catholic Worker Movement who could easily have created something of artistic merit and captivated the general public.
The hammers on display here have just about the same artistic merit as the hammers displayed in my Dad's shed!
I'm inclined to agree, as my comments above will bear out. I am more concerned that serious political themes may be diluted into sort of 'acceptable' form of curiosity. Or even made into a sort of social cartoon - I cite the recent appalling case of The Irish Times, who virtuously had a number of prominent Irish writers contribute essays commemorating the 60th anniversary of the declaration of Human Rights: and included the fictional character, 'Ross O'Carroll-Kelly,' whose essay was accompanied by a cartoon of the character. Worse, last Saturday's Weekend Review section of the paper carried a long ad for a forthcoming Trinity College debate by the essayists, and the cartoon of 'Ross O'Carroll Kelly' featured between a photo of Seamus Heaney and Roddy Doyle, advertising the fictional creation as a speaker!!!! This is deplorable and I have written to Amnesty aboput it and The Irish Times, but it is unlikely they will publish the letter. This is a serious political issue rendered harmless by being featured as little more than a cartoon response. The hammers in an art gallery are much the same thing.
You should really drop into this exhibition before passing judgement.
Most of it is up at the Giethe Institute where I saw a very fine film on the Red Army Faction (made in '77) this evening. The Ploughshares hammers are exhibited at the Project Gallery until Dec 10th. There exhibition has attracted the vitrol of some Joe Duffy listeners and appreciation of those who have dropped by (many alerted by the Duffy show). The artist has done a fine job in presenting the articles and giving text background and a rollainfo gizmo (located back at Merrion Square) on the media's treatment of their use.
"These hammers are just ordinary hammers - there's nothing special about them."
What is special is that they have been used by communities of people to disable the war machine.
"What the hell are these hammers doing in an Art Gallery?"
There there until Dec 10th....what were they doing in the possession of the Gardai for the last 5 years maybe a more pertinent question.
"No effort has been made to display them in a thought provoking artistic way, or to create some interesting background artwork that would convey the symbolic meaning or story behind these plain ordinary hammers"
You're wrong there - they have been presented in such a way by the artist
"The hammers on display here have just about the same artistic merit as the hammers displayed in my Dad's shed!"
Damien Moran's Pitstop hammer came form his Dad's shed! Jesus was born in a manger!
"I'm inclined to agree, as my comments above will bear out. I am more concerned that serious political themes may be diluted into sort of 'acceptable' form of curiosity."
Oh for people to be curious. I'm afraind they've turned on to consumerism, tuned into their ipods and dropped out of reality - entranced by hyperreality, the superhuman and the subhuman.
"The hammers in an art gallery"
It will all be over by Dec 10th.
There are now only 50 copies of Harry Browne's books in reserve in Ireland. If you want one they are presently available from
-the Project Gallery Bookstore
-Tower Records until Christmas
-James McB/WSM in Cork
-Chartlie Byrnes Bookshop Galway
I suppose if art can be political, then the political can be turned into art. Picasso's Guernica is a magnificent example of this.
Best of luck Ciaron and its great to have you here to help people see through the web of denial they've been taught by right wing nationalists for so many years. I wish you well.
"Noted. Now let's get back to the main thread of the topic, lads have you opinions on the exhibition of the hammers et al at Temple Bar?
Glad you accepted your mistake 'Fred'! (the snide remarks which created the diversion were your own not that of the respondents by the way). Clearly I have opinions on the exhibition of the hammers, which i'll lay out, however it's important to note that many of your arguments thus far have been couched in hyperbole (eg. 'Like displaying in Brown thomas' and your Damien Hirst references) snide asides such as the one i pulled you up on and rather laboured declarations of your own commitment to the struggle, hence I find it difficult to believe that your problems with the exhibition are purely political and your hysterical personal attack in response to my single sentence correction has pretty much cemented this impression.
Regarding the exhibition: Firstly, those who are condemning it don't appear to have seen it.
Secondly they have made no reference to the artist's motivation for the display, particularly his positions regarding the war and the Ploughshares action itself.
Thirdly: The exhibition is in a public art gallery, accessible to all. References to the sanitising of political protest for the consumption of the middle classes are hardly supported by the spluttering outrage which ensued on Joe Duffy's show. If anything this exhibition goes some way towards dispelling the air of cosy, indulgent affluence which surrounds art galleries. Musing on the symbolism of the inscribed hammers, is surely infinitely preferable to musing on the symbolism of a sheep in formaldehyde -to use one of Fred's references - and is far more likely to attract a diverse audience, indeed , i gather from ciaron's posts that this has been the case.
I don't think anyone is arguing with the fact that the establishment, whether it be the media, the advertising industry or the state attempts to sanitise and defuse dissent by packaging it and reselling it to the public thus removing it of all meaning but targetting this exhibition as an example of this process is very wide of the mark.
'Fred' , Regarding your rather ludicrous personal remarks i'm inclined to advise you to lay off the sauce! However...
RE: "It was, by the way, only a matter of time before the anonymous 'Martin' from Galway started sniping: "
What are you on about?! I must have missed my previous "sniping" (in which case perhaps I should lay off the sauce).
RE: "one can be certain that 'Martin' wasn't at the launch of Harry Browne's book and couldn't find Shannon with a map. That right, 'Martin' ?"
'Fred' , your powers of deduction are astonishing! Apart from the fact that myself and one other arranged, publicised and were even present at the book launch your certainty is absolutely justified. Furthermore I have looked and indeed i cannot find Shannon on a map, however I have been there several times to protest, luckily the bus and car drivers I travelled with were better versed in the arts of map reading than I.
Were every indymedia commentor to provide you with their full name, address and date of birth (god forbid) this would still impart no information as to their personal activities and circumstances so perhaps you should forego the wild accusations and idiotic assumptions and follow your own advise of sticking to the topic?
It's a little bit sad to see sniping between activists about the appropriateness of displaying an antiwar hammer in an art gallery and thus presenting it as Art. I'm aware that 'conceptual art', Britart and other art trends have been coming in for public questioning in recent years.
Only a handful of antiwar activists have continued in Ireland to work towards opposing this country's craven passivity in face of warplanes regularly refuelling at Shannon. Fred, Ciaron and associates have maintained a constant profile despite public indifference and widespread silence by public figures and arts-linked personages who sometimes let their names be added to public letters, manifestos and fundraising publications for assorted worthy causes.
The social and cultural atmosphere of art galleries and arts venues might be an interesting topic for discussion, but not on this activist thread. So too might a deep discussion about the nature of contemporary art, its aesthetic and hermeneutic dimensions and its relationship to the human situation and life's worrying problems. Goya and Picasso were two illustrious painters whose art cried out passionately and aesthetically against man's inhumanity to man during war. Some of the visitors to indymedia threads might like to read the thoughts of known sounders-off like Fintan O'Toole and members of the art community/industry on these and other matters; but not here, as indymedia is in the public domain primarily for the sake of improving activity.
I think what I was concerned with was the dumbing down of a political action, which was not of itself artistic nor meant to be, into a pseudo-artistic component where its political dimension is literally stuck into a glass-case. 'Martin', for one who writes of his involvement, sadly - from any point of view - has dragged this into a sniping match, very Galway, that sort of thing, and for one who says he is involved in organising this and that, he seems content to hide behind a pseudonym when airing his views. VERY Galway! Very 'please mammy-let-me-be-a-lefty.' Seen it all before. I think political statement or action - as demonstrated by the Irish Times case cited above - always runs the danger in this present society of being rendered harmless by someone deciding to cartoonise it in some way, either in print or behind a glass case. Yes, we should write to further our cause, I agree; but we must also debate about how that cause is represented.
yet no fire.
To Fred and others who question 'the art of it.' - if you actually go to the exhibit you will see that there is writing, poems and designs written on the hammers themselves.
Hopefully now you all can rest assured that there is actually ART in an art gallery!
this is a very sad thread to read - because most of the dumbing down is provided by he who complains the most about the dumbing down!
If one hangs around the CWs you will see a constant creative interplay between art and the political and the spiritual, all in a free jazz sort of way. Some have a problem with this for reasons that they simply philosophically disagree with it, that's fine. Others fear it because it disturbs the little box that their worldview resides in - the borderlessness and principled freespiritedness is just too much of an amorphous round peg for their rigidly square hole.
My only criticism of it being the gallery is that once something is placed in a museum setting it becomes past tense - but perhaps that is an accurate portrayal of the irish anti war movement (lower-case) in general. But you will notice on this website that Ciaron and his friends just keep going and going and going. Good for them! :-)
Art & Politics & Spirituality = One
Catholic Worker - Dublin 2003
The notion that an amorphous term called 'the people;' determines what is art and what isn't has produced some of the worst attempts at art and a great deal of down-right fakery in visual and written art, simply because without rules and definitions and standards in art you have nothing. The same can often apply in politics. Above, someone actually goes so far as to suggest that because there are bits of this and that scrawled on the hammers and other utensils on exhibit, then they are art!!! This is debating society nonsense.
great to see more discussion about the war, irelands role in it and the wider discussion which seems to be underway.
If "art" is the cause of this discussion in the wider public realm, great. Well done to seamus and project arts centre, and whomever else played a part, and again, well done to the ploughshares who did what they did
heres the audio link to that show, and you can click and listen below, audio 1
from Joe Duffys "liveline" show on RTE
Previous examples of Project offering a space for artistic/political dialogue
Project arts centre was previously home for an earlier "art" exhibition entitled "communism", which seamus nolan set up a bike workshop:
UBE-urban bicycle exchange- COMMUNISM exhibition- project
and after Seamus went on to be involved with another "art" event or exhibtion (however one labels it) in Ballymun:
Hotel Ballymun - Uplifting Art or Poverty Tourism?
By the way, here in Barcelona, it seems, there is less of a defined line between where politics ends and art starts, most of the time, they are the same thing. A good example of this was space in Caixa forum being given over for discussion film etc about the community in poble nou and Can ricart. Also, from what i have seen and heard, in latin america there seems to be also a stronger connection between art and politics. related post to that: Muralismo @ the Peoples Republic of Cork, Boy!: http://itsafunnyoldworld.wordpress.com/2008/10/11/mural...ismo/
The Red archive art/activist dialoge post Mayday 2004
Regarding the discussion here on this thread, as to what is art, where it happens etc a few points...
A few days after Mayday 04, when a water cannon was used on protestors, a strange thing happened, also in the project arts centre. an exhibition followed by an attempt to create an open forum, a feedback session for the end of the exhibition, in which we tried to open a space (we didnt have social centres in dublin back then) for people in the "artistic" and the "activist" communities to come together and talk about their ideas etc
and ill end with a piece about what that space offered: Here is a piece written for an upcoming book for the Project Arts Centre in Dublin. It was requested by Sarah Pierce, creator of The Metropolitan Complex. Our collaboration for the Red Archive, resulted in documentation on Indymedia Ireland as well as the half hour audio recording of
The Red Archive Feedback Session: http://radio.indymedia.org/uploads/the_red_archive_disc...n.mp3 (the second audio at bottom of this post)
more info and links from and about that: Art spaces as weapons of war
Anyway thats just something to add.
more of this, more talk on joe duffy, and maybe more people might start to critically question how ireland works and from that action for change...
By the way, any more links to pix of the exhibtion?
Embedded audio: http://www.rte.ie/podcasts/2008/pc/pod-v-251108-28m17s-liveline.mp3
Embedded audio: http://radio.indymedia.org/uploads/the_red_archive_discussion.mp3
Caption: Video Id: xvaA4kfrcJI Type: Youtube Video
Embedded video Youtube Video
quick google image search found a nice short gathering of the hammers on FLICKR, heres one below from Pitstop Ploughshares hammers
photo of Hammered by the Irish from damiens blog, nice name.
With Ireland´s blessing seemed to annoy many of Joes listeners
Hammered by the Irish: the hammers
Hammered by the Irish: the book
Meanwhile, earlier in the week, Joe Duffy hosted his own heated discussion on Liveline, one that also had elements of patriotism at its core. Duffy took a call from "Colm" who asked if it was appropriate that a publicly funded arts centre should house an exhibition of the hammers used in the damage of American planes in Shannon in 2003.
Colm was of the opinion that it such an exhibition was "distasteful", while Duffy couldn't help himself - "will they break glass in case of emergency?" and muttered under his breath that they would "probably get off again", presumably in reference to the so-called Pitstop Ploughshares - the group who caused the €2 million worth of damage to the American plane, but convinced a Dublin jury that they had not committed a crime.
John, a caller from Limerick, noted that the hammers were "symbols of resistance" and that the group had been attempting to "stop the machinery of war". A right old knees up of an argument ensued involving these two original callers, plus the artist hosting the exhibition, the former Irish Times journalist who wrote the book about the case, and another caller who suggested he might in turn go down and smash up the exhibition, as was his "democratic right".
Not surprisingly, Duffy was more than happy to sit back and allow the row to develop, merely interjecting at times to offer such pearls of wisdom as "why don't you go out and wreck Garda cars?" and, inexplicably drawing links to gangland problems in Limerick, asking if the defence used in the criminal damage case would allow "you to go down to Limerick and try to shoot one of the alleged perpetrators of crime down there?".
Joe continued, seemingly unaware that criminal damage defence and shooting human beings is not quite the same thing: "You could argue you were not guilty because you were saving lives by shooting well-known gangsters."
While Duffy continues to do his best to draw attention to the negative side of life in Limerick, at least he is demonstrating his own interpretation of Lenihan's "call to patriotic action". Now that really is patriotism for you.
This how easier it would have been to shut down Shannon Airport with nonviolent direct action
See Plane Stupid closes airport (yesterday)
One wonders what the response of the U.S. military would have been following the condensensed series of events and security compromises at Shannon in early 03 by Mary Kelly, Catholic Worker direct actions, the huge mobilisation on Feb 15th, if it had been followed by an occupation of the Shannon runway in early March 03 as promoted by the libertarians.
Instead the Irish left mobilised to oppose nonviolent direct action calling a press conference to denounce it etc.....once again snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
The U.S. military did not have to confront the realities of an insecure airport. Five years later we have over a million troops movements through Shannon and ongoing Irish complicity in a million Iraqi deaths and 4 million displaced Iraqis. The predictable disengagement of the Irish left once the war lost its media sex appeal and bloody business as usual at Shannon.
How to shut an airport down with NVDA.....