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Editorial

Brexit & the Arts

VAI is an all Ireland body, which means that Brexit will have a clear impact on us and on all arts organisations across the island who operate either across the border or ROI collaborations with UK organisations, festivals and events. The unfortunate truth is that the fallout from the vote has already happened. The fall in Sterling has had a direct impact on organisations such as ours that receive funding from Northern Ireland. Around 19% of our funding comes from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and through our membership in Northern Ireland. With the collapse of the Sterling against the Euro this has now been reduced to around 13%.

Imperfect Loops & Screen Memories

The audio-essay I recently produced in collaboration with Justin Barton, On Vanishing Land, was in part a disquisition on the eerie. [1] For us, the eerie was defined by problems of agency. In the deserted spaces which often trigger the feeling of the eerie, we are forced to ask if there is an agent present, unseen but watching us. If an agent is present, what is its nature? Is it hostile, friendly, or merely indifferent? The feeling of the eerie is also likely to be provoked by the contemplation of the relics left behind by agents who have long departed. The statues on Easter Island, the stone circle at Avebury – these

Just Say No

The artist Michael Wilkinson’s show ‘Lions After Slumber’, which was exhibited last May at the Modern Institute in Glasgow, was a repository of artefacts from past militant moments. The show was dominated by images and objects referring to the May ‘68 events in Paris and the punk and post-punk cultural sequences that happened in the UK in the late 70s and early 80s. The largest item in ‘Lions After Slumber’ was a massive photograph of Piccadilly Circus – the same image that had hung, upside down, in Malcolm McLaren’s shop Seditionaries in the 70s. But, tellingly, Wilkinson exhibited the photograph the right way up, a sign of the ways in

Towards a New Mainstream

Thank you for flying with transnational commodification we shall shortly be arriving in mayhem if there is anybody on board who can impersonate a pilot it would be of comfort to the other passengers… Never have these lines from Nick Land’s 1992 theoretical-fiction Circuitries seemed more acute. After 2011, it would be perverse for anyone to talk about the end of history any more. It was as if, after a prolonged period of emaciation, history has been bingeing. The density of world-historic events in 2011 was such that it seemed almost impossible either to keep track of them, or to believe that they had all happened in one year: the

The Proximity of History

We work exceptionally hard in the arts. Whether working day in, day out in studios, travelling the length and breadth of the country, grant-chasing, freelancing or maintaining real jobs at the fringes of day jobs, we move mountains every day. While critical reflection is an inbuilt methodology of what we do, how often do we actually pause to reflect on our progress or marvel at our achievements? As the final Visual Artists’ News Sheet of the year, this issue is positioned to consider recent developments across our sector, while assessing some of the challenges that remain.

The Art of Inclusion

For the September/October issue of the Visual Artists’ News Sheet, I’m focusing on forms of participation and collaboration. This concern stems from a continued insistence in my own practice as a curator in a local authority on interrogating the work of artists working in social, participatory contexts. We are thinking of participation as progressive – as preferable to elitism, exclusion and bureaucracy, for instance – but we need to think of the value of participation as completely dependent upon the value of the project in which one participates. It tells us a lot about how art and artists are being routinely interrogated. And I think this is extremely flawed. In

Arts Funding NI

NORTHERN IRELAND MANAGER ROB HILKEN GIVES AN UPDATE ON RECENT CUTS TO ARTS FUNDING IN NORTHERN IRELAND. In October last year 32 arts organisations in Northern Ireland received word that they would each receive an in-year cut of 7% to their budget. Given that the core costs of an organisation are mostly fixed, and that much of the budget had been spent in the first half of the year, many of the organisations were looking at a cut of almost 20% to their ability to deliver their artistic programme during the second half of their financial year.

The Social, Economic, and Fiscal Status of the Visual Artist in Ireland 2016 [ROI]

The 2016 Social, Economic and Fiscal Status of the Visual Artists in Ireland survey was undertaken in January 2016. The survey results are provided with the comparative data from 2011 and 2013. This year’s report will be the first year that specific attention is placed on gender and also the number of years that respondents have been a professional visual artist.  We have found that this latter area is more meaningful to visual artists than taking an age profile, though it is possible to use that breakdown for other analysis outside the remit of this report.

Situational Erotics

  JAMES MERRIGAN ASKS WHY SEX AND ART DON’T ‘SWING’ IN THE IRISH ART SCENE. I have been thinking a lot about sex recently and its relationship to art. One reason is artist Emma Haugh’s question “How do we imagine a space dedicated to the manifestation of feminine desire?” proposed in her recent solo exhibition ‘The Re-appropriation of Sensuality’ at Dublin’s NCAD Gallery (an edited version of the script performed during the exhibition is included in the March/April VAN).

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