Signatures

To see all the work from the signatures project go to 'www.dlrcoco.ie/signatures'

The project investigates ideas of national identity by collecting the stories and experiences of a number of people from varying cultural backgrounds, some of whom were born in Ireland and others who have recently come to live here. The stories have been presented using commercial advertising poster sites and national commercial radio.

During the project we (Artists Brian Maguire, Dominic Thorpe and Brian O'Connor) have worked with six people who live in the Dundrum area. We see this area as a mirror of the growing diversity of nationalities in all our cities and towns. The people we worked with come from a variety countries: Spain, Sri Lanka, Latvia, the Congo, America and an Irish man born in Ireland to Chinese parents.

Each of us has an interest in developing work which researches and acknowledges the growing numbers of people from different nationalities who have come to live in Ireland today. In the Signatures project we are concerned with making artwork that is grounded in trying to identify the individual against a backdrop of cultural assumptions and representations.

We are working with six people and acknowledging six individual stories. We are pooling our methodologies and skills to gather research and present information through the making of a diverse range of artworks. We are interested in the potential of a non-traditional context for presenting this work.”

There were a number of stages of engagement in the project:

Each of the participants has had their portrait painted by Brian Maguire. Portraiture, which traditionally has been something reserved for the rich, is something Brian uses to acknowledge the value of the individual, a value often unseen or lost in the context they find themselves in. He has spent many years working in this way in state institutions, particularly hospitals and prisons.

Dominic Thorpe made audio recordings of the individuals telling their own stories. Through audio and video recordings he also worked with traditional Irish emigration songs, making connections between stories of Irish emigration and the stories of people who immigrate to Ireland. The audio recordings were played in 40-second advertising slots on Newstalk and Lyric FM during the week of the 12 January 2009.

Brian O'Connor also utilized the medium of mass communications by placing
artwork in the context of advertising spaces in the Dundrum area. He used imagery from the participant's country of origin, with words from their own life stories. The imagery consisted of photographs hinting at the origin of the individual through the use of visual clichés.

The work below is a selection of work made by Dominic Thorpe. To see all the work from the project go to Signatures website.

Signatures was commissioned by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council as part of its Place and Identity Per Cent for Art commissions funded through the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Click Play to listen to each thirty second recording
1.alt : http://dominicthorpe.net/files/1.mp3
2.alt : http://dominicthorpe.net/files/2.mp3
3.alt : http://dominicthorpe.net/files/3.mp3
4.alt : http://dominicthorpe.net/files/4.mp3
5.alt : http://dominicthorpe.net/files/5.mp3
6.alt : http://dominicthorpe.net/files/6.mp3

Click images to enlarge