The Possibility of an Archive, 2015

Outdoor video projection, 7 minutes duration, looped
18 September 2015 from dusk to 21:30
Commission for ‘…the lives we live’, Grangegorman Public Art

A site specific projection for Culture Night 2015, this video projection onto an exterior stairwell of animated text that references the rich historical context of the site using records of the former mental health institutions that were in the Grangegorman area are now mostly held in the National Archives. With the strict accessibility conditions to this material, the work presents streams of institutional and bureaucratic words and phrases that reveal the changing sensitivities in language that have described the people occupying the site then and now into the future.

Sources stem from column headings of historical registers as well as keywords from the professions of mental health, education, and archive administration. Together the animated texts present possibilities, or rather the difficulty in the representation and use of such material.

There is a contradiction in an archive without records which this site and work now presents but this incredible history is embedded in this part of the city and is not forgotten. With the development of the new university campus there are just too many connections between education and mental health to explore for artists. The potential of a long term engagement through careful negotiation, consideration and sensitivity should provide for a rich outcome in future projects around this site.