Signatures

Artist Name(s) Brian Maguire, Brian O'Connor & Dominic Thorpe
Artwork title Signatures
Context/Background Signatures was a collaborative public art project in the Dundrum/Ballinteer area by The Public Communications Group. It was commissioned by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in 2008 through the Place and Identity programme of the Per Cent for Art Scheme. The Public Communications Group includes Brian Maguire, Brian O'Connor and Dominic Thorpe. 

Description

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

"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 and each of the participants has had their portrait painted by Brian Maguire. Portraiture, which traditionally has been something reserved for the rich, is something Maguire 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.

Mediation

Culture File, Lyric FM, 12 January, 2009

Sunday Tribune, Arts listings, 11 January, 2009

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council
Commissioning process Open submission competition
Project commission dates May 1, 2008 - May 1, 2009
Public Presentation dates February 1, 2009 - January 1, 1970
Artform Visual Arts
Art Practice Arts Participation
Funded By Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co. Council
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 70000 - 150000 euro
Project commission start date 01/05/2008
Project commission end date 01/05/2009
Location Signatures could be seen at various locations in the Dundrum/Ballinteer area including: Ballinteer Shopping Centre, Dundrum Main Street, and in Luas Stations during January and February 2009.
County Dublin
Town Dun Laoghaire
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Website www.dlrcoco.ie/arts
Content contributor(s) Brian O'Connor
Relationship to project Participant / Artist
Public engagement

Various social/ethnic minority groups and members of the general public

Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Sound Engineer

 Musician 

Media Buyer

 Singer

 Graphic Designer

 Printer

Ciara King, Public Art Programme Administrator, DLR County Council

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Traces

Greystones Educate Together National School appointed a voluntary committee with relevant expertise to oversee the per cent for art commissioning process. An external curator, Máire Davey, was appointed specifically for her expertise in working in a highly collaborative way as meaningful involvement from the students and school was viewed as central to the process. The procurement route chosen was limited invited competition.

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