Artist and the State conference at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

November 2016
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National commemorations operate within a framework of national identity and defined statehood – frameworks that are increasingly contested and problematic within global discourses on the shifting relationship between civil society, the state and the land. This international symposium at IMMA took a timely look at the potential of contemporary arts practice to critically address the challenges now facing our ever-changing global society and systems of governance. Speakers featured in this recording include; Sarah Glennie, Annie Fletcher, Vivian Ziherl, Kate Strain & Barry Fitzpatrick, Mick Wilson, Jaki Irvine, Duncan Campbell, Lisa Godson, Colin Graham, Tina Kinsella, Jesse Jones, Sarah Browne and Ailbhe Murphy.

The days programme comprised of research presentations, discussions and an artists’ performance that drew on the commemorative projects of artists whose practices advances historical and interdisciplinary research, taking into account the unstable relationship between identity, territory, and borders in the so called age of shared ‘global territories’, ‘new Institutionalism’ and Ireland’s ‘decade of centenaries’.

PART ONE / Chaired by Annie Fletcher, Chief Curator, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.
1.Welcome & Introductions: Sarah Glennie, Director, IMMA.
2.Opening Address & Presentation: Annie Fletcher, How can we be more?
3.Presentation: Vivian Ziherl, Curator, Frontier Imaginaries, Amsterdam, Frontier Imaginaries: Sovereignty Against the State.
4. Love Letters to Mars, adapted by Kate Strain & Barry Fitzpatrick.

PART TWO / Chaired by Mick Wilson, Artist and Head of Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg.
5.Opening Address & Presentation: Mick Wilson, Re-visiting the state as a work of art: Political imaginaries, art institutions and the current disjuncture relations and frameworks.
6.Artists’ Discussion: IMMA 2016 Commissions, Duncan Campbell, Jaki Irvine Lisa Godson, Historian of Design and Material Culture, NCAD.
7.Presentation: Colin Graham, Professor of English, Maynooth University, Repetitive Remembering.
8.Presentation & Artists’ Response: Tina Kinsella, Jesse Jones, Sarah Browne, The body as a shared site of historical resonance and affect.
9.Concluding Round Up Comments: Annie Fletcher, Sarah Glennie, Ailbhe Murphy, Mick Wilson.

In response to the centenary of the 1916 Rising and the evolution of society over the past 100 years, IMMA, The Hugh Lane and Create’s 2016 programmes reflected on the role artists and creativity plays in society and the identity of the nation state.

This symposium brought leading local and international art practitioners together to interrogate how artists are helping us to conceive new formations of the state and looked at the legacies of how we have been governed. Inspired by the radical thinkers and activists who paved the way for courageous social change, the symposium considered the role of creativity in re imagining a new social and cultural order and asks what artists can bring to re imagining our future. Speakers were asked to reflected on the broader global effects of mass mobility of both people and goods, the digitising of communication and knowledge, migration, climate change and the increasing global economy have all radically changed perceptions of territories, borders and an individual’s identity in relation to the land or a community. While colonial legacies of emigration, displacement and ongoing indigenous struggles extends an even deeper crisis of social, cultural and political agency, that prompted many discussions and comments on the day.

The Artist & The State Symposium was organised by the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin City Gallery – Hugh Lane and Create-National Development Agency for Collaborative Arts, Ireland. Convened by Annie Fletcher and Sarah Glennie, The Artist & The State Symposium took place on 26.11.2016 and was part of the official Ireland 2016 Programme.

The symposium was recorded and can be listened to on Soundcloud here.