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To Care (Act I)

No title (To care) Act 1
Wood, silk, wool, scaffolding mesh, thread, paint, varnish, ink, graphite, tea, milk, winter heliotrope, oak bark, oak gall, iron, copper.
Installed at VISUAL, Carlow, for Speech Sounds curated by Iarlaith Ní Fheorais. Images Ros Kavanagh courtesy of VISUAL and courtesy of the artist.

No Title (To Care): Act 1 was commissioned by Workhouse Union and VISUAL as part of To Care. Using processes associated with the private and public labour of care – collecting, sorting, washing, rinsing, pressing, stitching – silk and embroidered scaffolding mesh drew its palette from Winter Heliotrope to articulate durational and responsive aspects of collaborative arts practice, and milk and tea for the place-making rituals widely used to enable meaningful exchange. These dye pots were adjusted with copper and iron – metals found in both construction and the body. Recurring motifs of the shapes of a compass and the shadows cast by architectural ornamentation were used to suggest the ephemeral, relational and environmental aspects of social practice. When repeated, these shapes are reminiscent of speech patterns and, when isolated, like punctuation marking the beginning or end of dialogue.

The To Care programme explored diverse ideas of care from the position of health, land, body and built environment and included an extended dialogue between Workhouse Union, VISUAL, Dr. Alastair Roy and MacLeman on how to strengthen approaches to care and collaboration in community engagement and collaborative work, opening this up to wider discussion at an active seminar at VISUAL in July 2022.