why foxes don't get drunk

Artist Name(s) Catherine Barragry
Artwork title why foxes don't get drunk
Context/Background I began describing to different people a desire I had to play music at dusk in a certain site in the Phoenix Park. For me the site and the time of day chosen was about creating an environment for the work that had an edge of threat, with dusk as a liminal time betweeen daylight and nightfall. At night this immense city park is swallowed by darkness and becomes, until daylight, a dark unimaginable hole in the city. This site then met with a desire for agency and for beginning something new. This nascent desire had a kind of charm to it that was contested by the liminal site of the work. The event and associated work was called why foxes don't get drunk.

In our everyday we act within invisible boundaries. Many of these boundaries are in relation to 'the other' in psychological as well as socio-political terms. I sometimes think of the space outside of that boundary as a kind of negative space of agency, a kind of realm of unexplored possibilities.


A soundstation structure was made in response to the desire to occupy and activate an odd little valley enclave in the park. The sound station was a wooden construction with rainbow lights, corrugated plastic roofing, L.E.D. strip lighting, sound equipment (speaker, ampifier, record player, laptop) powered by a generator.

The sound station was removed from an exhibition where it lay unused (though always powered up with the record turnstile rotating). It was strapped to the roof of a car and taken to a valley enclave beside the magazine fort in the park. People brought records, CDs etc. The soundstation acted as a kind of outpost where people could come and play their records outdoors at dusk.


The artist was interviewed by Phantom fm about the project leading up to the event.


Catherine Barragry is a Dublin based artist. She generates intense, intimate gestures through performance, video, image and sculpture. More recently there has been a shift in her practice toward embedded events, where the gesture becomes about creating contingent cultural possibilities. The works are fragile; on the edge of existing. They can seem both ancient and nascent. They fall between insular inner worlds of human and animal, and expansive territories of politics, evolution, becoming and consensus public.

Catherine had been part of the Red Stables Studios in Dublin which she left in 2008 to pursue a practice based research masters at NCAD. She graduates 2010 with an MFA.

Catherine’s most recent solo and group shows include: Radical Love Concentration Camp (2010), Wicklow; The Potential of Vacancy (2010), Dun Laoghaire; Everything is Up (2010), The Loft, Dublin; No Soul for Sale (2010), Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London; an urban encampment (2010), site specific, Dublin, Open Door Policy (2009), Galway; No Soul For Sale (2009), Xinitiative, New York; why foxes don’t get drunk (2009), site specific, Dublin, Cent (2008), Defrost Gallery, Paris. Catherine has also shown with Thisisnotashop, Dublin, in various contexts since 2008.

In June 2011 she will take up a residential studio with the Firestation Studios in Dublin. Catherine is currently working toward an exhibition at Kilmainham Gaol (November 2010), curated by Amanda Coogan, Dominic Thorpe and Niamh Murphy; and CAKE Contemporary, Kildare, curated by Michael Kynaston.

Commission Type The Arts Council
Commissioning process Self initiated
Public Presentation dates April 2, 2009 - April 2, 2009
Artform Visual Arts
Art Practice Arts Participation
Funded By Other
Budget Range 0 - 10000 euro
Location Phoenix Park (valley beside magazine fort)
County Dublin
Street Address Thomas Hill, Islandbridge gate, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8
Content contributor(s) Catherine Barragry
Relationship to project Artist 
Public engagement

A bus was provided at a secondary site in the city centre, while an unmediated audience came across the work while out in the park jogging and walking. Those who came across the invitation were asked to bring vinyl/MP3/CD music to play at dusk in the park.

Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Augustine O Donoghue: photography & logistics
David Fagan: logistics
Carol Anne Connolly: logistics
Damien McGlynn: technician
Mick O Kelly: transport
OPW: permission for site use



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