The Question of Ireland

26 Oct 13

The centenary of the Dublin Lockout has prompted CCA to consider conditions of labour and the role of representation in shaping work and workers’ rights between three moments: 1913, 2013, and 2113. Through an exhibition, public forums, screenings, and a publication, Momentous Times examines the past, explores the present, and speculates about the future of labour. As part of Momentous Times, we are hosting a series of three screenings, Shake Out Your Banners. The third and last screening is the Northern Irish premiere of Tom Flanagan and Megs Morley’s The Question of Ireland (three channel HD film, 2013).

The Question of Ireland is a cross-disciplinary work that attempts to provoke the relationship between the language of politics, performance and cinema. Taking a document prepared by Karl Marx in 1867, “Notes for an Undelivered Speech on Ireland”, the artists began an enquiry into the continued relevance of Marx’s analysis and ideas on Ireland today, attempting to tap into the political imagination and latent unfulfilled dream of this undelivered “revolutionary thunderbolt”, at a time where the ideas of Marx are being closely reexamined with renewed rigor in light of the current crisis of capitalism. Wishing to extend ‘the question’ to other disciplines, the artists invited Kieran Allen (sociologist) Bernadette Devlin (political activist) and Grace Dyas (playwright) to respond and re-imagine the notes into revolutionary speeches for contemporary Ireland. The resulting speeches, each taking an distinctively individual approach, were filmed in the historic Taibhearc theatre, performed by actors, John Olohan, Bríd Ní Neachtain and Lauren Larkin.

Megs Morley and Tom Flanagan are visual artists who collaborate on visual art, film and public art projects, that have been exhibited widely in both gallery and film festival contexts. Their work is concerned with exploring cultural and political contexts and sites through the expanded use of artists’ cinema, cinematic space, documentary, fiction and experimental film, attempting to create criticality on the relationship between image, history and memory.

The Question of Ireland is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland Visual Art Projects Awards 2013.