Ballads of Rhinestones & Newcomers
The Centre for Contemporary Art is delighted to present our summer exhibition with Bojana Janković and a collaboration between Tom O’Dea and Frank Sweeney. Ballads of Rhinestones & Newcomers brings together two counterpointing experiences of the border between the UK and Republic of Ireland at a time when the realities of Brexit are playing out.
2 Channel Land by Frank Sweeney and Tom O’Dea looks at the history of analogue radio and television signals spilling across the borders of these islands. Reflecting the complex spatial territories that were produced by transmitters and their environment, the work takes the form of a radio sculpture that permeates the gallery. Moving through the space using handheld radios, the sculpture presents an archive of audience memories, border pirate radio stations and TV deflector systems built by communities to capture and retransmit signals from across the border.
Bojana Janković is an Eastern European artist based in NI. She explores complex relationships between migration, displaced identities, migrant labour and discrimination. Bojana’s socially engaged performances and installation in the exhibition centre the migrant experience of the invisible border in stark contrast to the free-ranging radio signals. Her new work The Uncommon (Travel Area) follows public buses as they make their way across the island of Ireland. The buses - run by Translink and Bus Éireann - are everyday evidence of the CTA in action, connecting people across an invisible, frictionless border. That is, as the artist writes, “Unless you are an immigrant. Then you might need a visa. You might need to notify the Gardaí or the Home Office. You might need to do this four times in ten minutes.” The Uncommon charts the hard border experienced by migrants as it is performed and conjured up daily: every time a bus crosses the border, an immigration stamp is added to the wall in a performance piece by the artist taking place during the launch and final week of the exhibition. During the exhibition’s run, the stamps will be made available to immigrants to allow further crossings to be recorded.
A series of events will accompany the exhibition including oral-history collections with Frank Sweeney and Tom O’Dea and performances of The Uncommon (Travel Area) by Bojana Janković at the launch of the exhibition on 19 June 2022, 7–8pm and again on 20 September 2022, from noon.
Image: Boyneside Radio North AM mast just on the border (pirate.ie, courtesy of Eddie Caffrey).
Frank Sweeney is an artist with a research-based practice, using found material to approach questions of collective memory, experience and identity through film and sound. Recent work includes People enjoy my company (‘no_matter_here’ at Brightening Air June 2021, Transmediale Berlin Aug 2021, IMMA Sept 2021, Cork International Film Fest Nov 2021, BFI Southbank 2022); Palace of Purification (A4 Sounds 2021) film with Claudine Chen, Michelle Doyle, Kerry Guinan, Megan Scott; Cornaleena, film at Musictown Festival with Coilín O'Connell, Kevin Barry, David Kitt, Jennifer Walshe (April 2021). Recent awards include the EVA International Platform Commission, the Arts Council's Next Generation Award, Film Bursary and Project Award, a Project Studio at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, Brightening Air funding 2021, Sligo Artist Panel for 2020-2025, Science Gallery Rapid Residency and a nomination for Best Sound Design at the Irish Theatre Awards.
Tom O’Dea is an artist who works with mixed-media sculpture and social practice to interrogate the political implications of practices and cultures of technology in contemporary society. His work explores ways to understand how different forms of knowledge impact upon our ways of acting and being the world. He is a member of the Orthogonal Methods Group, an art-research group at Trinity College Dublin and a lecturer in the Department of Sculpture and Expanded Practice at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin. Ongoing projects include - the Department of Embedded Knowledge (Kunstverein Rosa-Luxemburg Plaz, Berlin 2022, The Lab Gallery 2020) and Free Zone Transmissions (2022) with Frank Sweeny.
Bojana Janković is an artist, PhD researcher and Visiting Lecturer in Performance Arts at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and part of Migrants in Culture, a network organising for a culture sector without borders. Her performances, texts, installations and non-denominational works have appeared in physical and digital spaces across Europe, including at Tate Modern (London), Center for Art on Migration Politics (Copenhagen) and Tranzit (Bucharest). She is a CCA Research Associate.