Fearghus Ó Conchúir Choreographer and Dance Artist
May 08, 2009

Meanwhile in Dublin…’exemplary professionalism’

The Irish Times Digest keeps me in touch with news in Ireland so I was happy to read this feature about Sarah Browne and Gareth Kennedy who are representing Ireland in this year’s Venice Bienale. The feature alludes to the couples ‘exemplary professionalism’ as some kind of counter to the questions that were raised about their youth and profile when their selection was announced. I’m glad they were selected, not because they’re professional, but because they are good and because they engage with ideas and experiences that are meaningful to a wide range of people.

Gareth is bringing a group of Dublin buskers to Venice

AS PART OF Kennedy’s individual project, the buskers have already been in action in Dublin’s Docklands. Architectural photographer Ros Kavanagh has photographed them against contemporary buildings there – incongruously, as Kennedy notes.

“Docklands was supposed to be this new, thriving urban quarter,” he says. “You have the utopian language of the architecture, but it’s unfinished, it’s aspirational, and now its future is unclear, and the buskers look out of place against these empty glass facades. They’re part of the informal, human economy, as opposed to the official economy.”

The photographs will be on display in Venice, where the buskers will perform and, all going well, accumulate quantities of coins which will be displayed in a vitrine in a corner of the Irish space.

“There is always a public dimension to what I do,” Kennedy says of his work. “I like taking the notion of the vernacular, of the way people take what is given and somehow manage to make it their own.”

Taking what’s given and somehow making it our own – a motto I’m always keen to promote.

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