2007 swords to plowshares | Dublin

swords to plowshares and other objects of transition

This project will explore in poetic form the shifting of public consciousness as a society moves out of an era of conflict, through a period of resolution and into a condition of peaceful coexistence. It is the fluid paradigm of reconciliation that interests me for this project—a re-forming that is dependent on process, on invention, on the will to imagine what is not pre-determined. The space of resolution, of reconciliation is a space of agency, a transitional space, a bridge space that carries upon it the audacity of hope.

I have completed on a series of projects borne out of a personal resistance to the pervasive narrative of aggression and the centrality of justified conflict and violence within the contemporary psyche. As an artist of conscience I experience the dominant narrative of aggression as a frontal assault. I have in my work searched for a different model with which to proceed. Not a fantasy model—but rather one articulated out of an awareness and distillation of fact and a desire for a more just co-existence. My proposal to you, to the Irish Museum, comes out of this search.

I came upon the following text:

The notion of a peace process is hardly 15 years old and emerged as a political concept after the fall of the Berlin Wall when peacemaking took off in South Africa, the Middle East and Northern Ireland. This course will compare how the sequential and incremental processes of conflict management, conflict resolution and conflict transformation have worked themselves out in these three trouble spots among others.

This is excerpted from a course description from the Irish Peace and Conflict Studies IES Dublin Syllabus.  I consider the inquiry into such transformation and resolution to be at the heart of this proposal.  It is my perception that a global mutual hurting stalemate is now in place that will only ensure continued trauma, humiliation and a rise in rigid fundamentalisms. The need for a process of reconciliation is urgent.

I conceive of this project as an investigation, a gathering of evidence, resulting in an image based textual narrative on the subject of the conflict resolution. The site of this gathering will be the commons—the commons defined as a place that represents all, a public sphere of engagement.  The project will be dependent on historical text, personal account and a physical investigation of place. It will develop organically, emerging as a tangible result from the investigation, and as such a visual indexing of process.

In concrete terms, I am imagining a series of temporary transitional object /artifacts, or spatial configurations, negotiated within the public domain—a temporary sited project. A visual recording of the process in its entirety will serve as the final result of the residency.

What I hope to accomplish is some recognition of the challenge upon us to imagine creatively a process of mutual reconciliation, of peace making. This process can take place openly only within the commons—in fact it calls for a re-imagining of the commons. If this process is careful to contain an open even handed truth it holds within it a precious and tenuous hope.