Opening reception: 6–8pm Thursday 5th OctoberRegister here
Exhibition continues: Friday 6th– Saturday 21st October
Pallas Projects/Studios are pleased to present Inter_site–Error: /undefined, the seventh exhibition of our 2023 Artist-Initiated Projects programme.
Text by Pádraig Spillane in response to inter_site’s previous exhibition Oscillation: An altering rhythm featuring works on display for Error: /undefined
I’m writing about inter_site’s takeover of the Counting House from their invitation via Kate. Kate found out I was reading Berardi again. It is a book I had not read before, 2018’s Breathing: Chaos and Poetry. This text was significant for activating their collective occupation of this recently restored and transformed site. As a piece of writing, it allowed them through ways to think about their use of location in preparation for installation and the ripples that come after staging their works. For me, it allowed vantage points to look back on experiencing their works with the push and pull of contemporary currents.
In Breathing, Berardi explores the possibilities of what he calls excess, something extra that comes through poetic and semiotic play. In this shared divided time of scarcity and overabundance, this surplus for Berardi is something not easily overwhelmed by financial speculation. It is and can be turned toward opening up affective moments and events that can offer glimpses (and hopeful ways) for alternative futures. For Berardi, this excess can allow a moving away from conventionally determined implications, procedures, and programmes for life. It is intangible, maybe an affect, a feeling or an attitude, maybe the finding of something in the previously unnoticed. This residual overflow offers release from the circles of commercial influences and their aftereffects. From within such a poetic surplus something else may come to be experienced.
The Counting House on South Main Street lies on the “historic spine” of Cork city. This spine is a line of merging streets from Barrack Street to Shandon Street. It comes from the medieval settling of Cork, linking north to south, from one side of the river to the other. It is historically collaged by its own reconstructions and its location within the city. It is a place of melding legacies including settlement, alcohol brewing, trade, offices, and colonialism. The building’s contemporary architecture is adjacent to heritage conservation with the addition of Miesian clean lines touching a preserved mock Tudor façade of rural nostalgia. It is currently in a latent phase of a hulk-like overhaul ready to be occupied by 21st century office fixtures. Its new fit out of stairways, lifts, and metal alloy floor tiles are waiting to be covered with administrative furnishings, to be inhabited by forces of capital and conversion. It is to be joined by a deferred concert and convention centre, another blocklike extension to the now standing glass cube. Delayed though politics and capital manoeuvres, this place offers its vast interior as a way of negotiating this present time.
inter_site’s installation creates a rupturing and dissolving of this space and its temporalities. The presence of these works cleave out excess by working with the material remnants of consumer culture and the infrastructure of late capitalism (or whatever this is now) in this space not yet taken by contactless credit card transactions, office politics, and monetised crowds. Before all this happens, their temporary annexation asks for focus and attention, looking for new meanings to emerge.
The sound of their capture takes you first. The soundscape by Aoife holds elements of breathing broken up. To these ears, it also holds the presence of an indecipherable voice, one that seems to have spoken and not spoken, an arrested sense of announcement. This not-quite inhaling/exhaling/vocalising makes the interior feel alive, filling the space with a dark ecology . It holds a bodily sense of haunting and alteration. Mixed with the murkiness of dry ice that floats and surrounds as you walk through, there is a sense of unease. The soundscape interacts with the CO2 fog, a lungful of wannabe hazard, adding a touch of horror atmospherics, mixing cinematic and ravespace aesthetics. It is a teasing of menace.
For Aoife’s Tough Front work, broken yet still whole windscreens slide to each other to be gazed upon in vertical suspension. They have been stacked out from the car frames that housed them giving impressions of both safety and dread. It holds a totemic presence of both warning and shielding (is a shield always a warning?). The work’s scale and upright balancing act extenuates them as surfaces. The formality of their design amplifies their weighty transparency with black curved edges. This structure is lit through with a projection probing like a laser from the back of the space. This offers views of post-industrial sites with concrete, voids and land use legacies all merging on the shattered glass. Tough Front is an assemblage of mass production components and associations, of known yet shifted material qualities. Its stance creates a new situation to think about atomised mobile units of transport infrastructure, the body, and how we care. Its height and size allows a filmic sense of looking in three dimensions. It plays with the dynamics of the viewer’s relation to it in this temporarily accessible social space.
Images of financial skyscrapers appear in collaged sequences of angles in Kate’s work Cascading, high. These high key image arrangements are suspended on paper light material, standing opaquely, taking their position with newly constructed city vistas seen through the renovated windows of the building. This mix of light and confrontation - of what urban space has become – blends with the new red brick and plastic clad façades of expensive student accommodation buildings just outside. This housing mingles with the tilts and inclines of the work’s ashen appearance of financial centres from different European cities. As an installation, it tends to the recognisable homogenisation and extractive forces on landsites, where money is both accrued and digitally transferred through. This site responsiveness highlights the ways capital has intruded and infiltrated shared common spaces. How the tethering of techno capital-operations to locations has created spaces for its own machinations, its own physical points for increasements where prosperousness is to be pulled out of sight behind encoded city frontages. However, within the semi darkness there is a remove to interiority though this work’s positioning. These commercial clean lines are brought in to relief and yet kept at a distance; a strategy of observing and of thinking through a next move against the continuing financialization of the world.
Drone footage (airborne machine vision) of a person running plays on a nearly vintage cathode ray tube TV in Pádraic’s work Running Man and also on a large overhead projection screen, Machination. While being tracked from above, this exposed figure runs in zig-zags across stark terrain. There is an avatar quality of role playing games and sci-fi situations. In ways, it is a giving of the body over to being a digital object and to its visibilities. The running body seems complicit in both being watched, and in running away from or for the drone. Their darting patterns of movement are amplified and dramatized through the work’s vision construction, the moving figure repositioning from side-to-side within the recording frame. This work by Pádraic trades in digitally influenced renderings of his own body, in a way a stand-in for how surveillance looks upon the actions of daily life. It is a performing for observing technologies; for wanting to be looked at and looked after yet also resenting this infraction of personal space. On the large projection, a rotating 3D scan of Pádraic’s body also shows a ready-for-play appearance like a respawning game character. It is a game skin to slip into, heightening the interactivity between IRL and virtual space through computer graphics.
Pádraic also takes on this role of machine vision for a live performance work in Panopticism. Lurking within the fabric of the building but separated by glass, he is watching, scanning, imaging with twists of his head. There is also a remnant here in Automatism, an innocuous repurposed washing machine. This push button domestic appliance is altered here to be a prop of cycles and spewing. It plays with the ambiguity of effluent and with what cleans. Through its open door, spinning black liquid mixes with glossy voluminous detergent bubbles drawing on the 20th century’s mission of hygiene and fascinations with cleanliness. There is a psychic speculative quality exploring what is done in these processes. In this sense, Padraic’s mediations explore the permeable visualisations of the body between consumer culture and science-fiction. His work is a remixing through performance and commandeering cultural imagery, offering agitations in the twisting of the familiar.
In their collective approaches to site and their ways of working individually on related matters, inter_site work with conceptual leanings in how to understand this contemporary time. Their works are permeated with a resistance and energy to think through and share with those who come to experience their installations. The considered use of cultural and consumer remainders with moments of spectacle heightens the viewer’s experience through site responsive strategies. Such events are looking for the dissonant through a performativity of spaces, exploring what it means to live in both an ending and a beginning that cannot be evaded and must be faced.
In this way, the shadowy atmosphere of the Counting House installation takes notice of new orientations and vectors within the world, ones of a letting go or even an overcoming of this world. As Andrew Culp states in his Dark Deleuze, perhaps by destroying this world of connected capital power that ravages imaginaries and the planetary, there might come a new world with better ways and descriptions to deal with current issues. inter_site’s work allows such imaginative interference for a renewal of looking to futures. Through conjuring remainders, poetic works, and contrivances with vision technologies, they allow a further way of recognising the structures that hold influence, with potential for untangling their hold. These workings chime with Berardi’s idea of excess as “the condition of revelation, of emancipation from established meaning and of the disclosure of an unseen horizon of signification: the possible.” The given of this contemporary world made of signs, symbols, products, and the networks of financial structures was once created. It is not to be seen at the only or mandatory. Its construction shows that things can be done differently. In this sense, inter_site at the Counting House was a claiming of territory through excess with spectacle and material play. In this suspended space, this installation’s compulsion was an exploration of objects and signals of the contemporary, where new cracks were allowed to come through.
Pádraig Spillane is an artist, lecturer and freelance curator based in Cork city, Ireland.
Inter_site is a Cork based artist collective established by Pádraic Barrett, Deirdre Breen, Aoife Claffey and Kate McElroy. They graduated together from the MA in Art and Process,
Crawford College of Art and Design, MTU, 2021. Since then they have created six site-responsive exhibitions in Cork.
Inter_site create interventions and exhibitions, utilising unique venues and display mechanisms responding to the precarious and ever shifting nature of our current reality. Their work responds to the current environmental, political and social climate. Each artist employs a multi-disciplinary approach responding to the specific sites they encounter, enhancing the viewer's experience of place with an emphasis on spatial and sensory effects. The work speculates on alternative and imaginative spaces that present to the viewer embodied encounters and altered viewpoints. They aim to embed art into the fabric of the everyday, using art as a tool to probe and question current societal systems and structures of power. They are interested in peripheral and non-traditional art spaces which can open up new ways of considering the surrounding environment and re-imagine our present moment.
Artist-Initiated Projects at Pallas Projects/Studios is an open-submission, annual gallery programme of 8 x 3-week exhibitions taking place from March-November 2023. This unique programme of funded, artist-initiated projects selected via open call is highly accessible to artists, with a focus on early career, emerging artists and recent graduates. Projects are supplemented with artists' talks, texts, workshops or performances, and gallery visits by colleges and local schools.
Pallas Projects/Studios is funded by The Arts Council
Image description: inter_site x Marina Warehouse, 2021, Video projection, sculpture, sound, lighting. Photograph of a wearhouse filled with blue light, a small group of people are seen to the distance while projectons cover the walls. In the forefront blue text reads 'Artist-Initiated Projects. Inter_site Collective.'