Body as site of liminality.

Above Left to right: Tim Wainwright, John Wynne, Ciara McMahon. Photo Marie Soffe.

Last nights screening of ITU by John Wynne and Tim Wainwright provided impetus for a engaging and stimulating discussion. Facilitated by Francis Halsall, topics included, amongst other things, whether a ‘medicalised’ subject is able to choose freely to participate within participatory art projects, audioscapes – with associated sound levels – within an ITU and the success or failure of visual imaging (still/moving) in recording/communicating an individuals life experience to a third party. Thought provoking , complex stuff as always.

Body as a site of Liminality photo : Marie Soffe

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Todays Irish Times Editorial

Have a look at today The Irish Times - Saturday, February 5, 2011 editorial.

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2011/0205/1224289071205.html

“LAST YEAR saw the worst decline in organ donation on record. A 35 per cent drop meant there were just 58 deceased donors who provided organs for some 243 transplant operations, a significant reduction compared with 2009.

For those waiting for much-needed kidneys, hearts, liver and lungs, the figures represent a severe setback to their hopes of avoiding premature death. It means the Republic has dropped back to transplant activity levels not seen since 1989…

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Friday 11th Feb: Dead Public Seminar

Dead Public Seminar, in the context of Liminality (Ciara Mc Mahon)
Fri, 11 February 2011

NCAD Gallery 11.00 – 13.00 h
Free to the Public


‘I was made “other” there in that space with them.
In that space in the margins, that lived-in segregated world of my past and present, I was not “other”.
They did not meet me there in that space. [...]
They say that the discourse on marginality, on difference has moved beyond a discussion of us and them.
They do not speak of how this movement has taken space.
This is a response from the radical space of my marginality.
It is a space of resistance.
It is a space I choose.’

hooks, bell (1990) ‘marginality as a site of resistance’ in Ferguson, Gever, Min-ha, West (eds.) Out There. Marginalisation and Contemporary Cultures, New York: The Museum of Contemporary Art & Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 341 – 343.

In connection with Ciara McMahon’s project in NCAD Gallery, and in co-operation with Mick Wilson and Edia Connole from the Dead Public GradCAM seminar group, I would like to discuss the concept of liminal space as transformative space. One option to look at in-between space is to perceive it as hybrid, where the borders of home and the world become confused and result in displacement – a space often associated with victimhood. In order to shift that perception and to look at the space of the limen or threshold as a site of intense emotional value, bell hooks’ attached text ‘marginality as a site of resistance’ has been chosen for discussion. To enter a space of resistance can make you understand; and to understand both, margin and centre, makes you powerful.

Silvia Loeffler

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Seminars begin

Infinite distraction: the erosion of attention in everyday life

Today saw the first seminar of the project. A gentle start to a full week.

Aislinn O’Donnell opened a dialogue on the thought of Bernard Steigler and Simone Weil in relation to differing forms of attention…. relevant stuff to experiences of education but also to how confinement is potentially experienced. Deep vs Hyper attention. Which is it to be? There’s nothing like withdrawing internet access, limiting the technology of a book to raise the relevance of such questions.

Catherine Barrgary followed with a magic realism performative story gently questioning what it means to be human or rather what we imply by calling ourselves human. As a proud dog owner (is it possible to own another species?) I’m aware my dog can urinate in public broad daylight without fear of incrimination …. Humans don’t (usually) …. but humans are animals aren’t they?

Is it possible to escape a narrow definition defined by genetics, history and culture?

Photo by Susan Walsh

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Project starts

by Susan Walsh

Liminality participation by Susan Walsh

And so the project has started. It’s strange spending so much time in bed and in the gallery window. Time definitely starts to be experienced in a different way. Not quite sure how to phrase it, but different. What’s inside and what’s outside are starting to slip. Strange.

And I go home at the end of the day.

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Resource text for Tina Kinsella seminar on Feb 8th 10.30 am now available

Tina Kinsella in this seminar will review the ethico-aesthetic writings of Nancy and the art practice and theorectical writings of Ettinger in order to explore the notion that the “body” and the “artwork” are potentially ethico-aesthetic sites at which the conundrum of personal identity can be investigated.

If you are thinking of coming along to this seminar be sure to get in contact regarding the prompt text. Having access to this text in advance will undoubtedly make for a fascinating, lively discussion. This is definitely one for your diary.

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Screenings during Liminality Wednesday 9th at 5pm

Wednesday 9th Screenings of Transplant (2008), 35min, by John Wynne and Tim Wainwright, and I used to say it was gold, but really it’s a platinum one, Platinum (2011), 21 min,  by Ciara McMahon and the Living Gift Transplant Support Group will take place at 5pm in the NCAD gallery.

No bookings required, but come early as places are limited.


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Friday 11th Feb, morning seminar in the NCAD gallery

This Undead: alternatives and alterity seminar is a new addition to GradCam. It’s embodied presence within the Liminality should provide an interesting nuance to the subject matter to hand. Heres is some information to contextualize the seminar.

the Undead: alternatives and alterity

The following, is an excerpt from ‘To learn how to die is to philosophize‘; an exercise in the creative writing of alternate history – a type of speculative fiction, variably referred to as Uchrony, and set in a world where one or more historical events unfolded differently from this one. The extended text will be presented by Edia Connole for the ‘Undead: alternatives and alterity’ seminar to take place on Friday, Feb 11th, 11 – 13.00, in the context of Ciara Mac Mahon’s exhibition, Liminality, at the NCAD Gallery:

‘ I am afraid that other people do not realize that the one aim of those who practice philosophy in the proper manner, practice for dying and death,’  Socrates says, as he sits up suddenly on the couch. Then, bending his leg, and rubbing it with his hand, he adds, ‘ if this is true, it would be strange indeed if those who were eager for this all their lives should then resent it when the very thing they have wanted, and practiced for a long time comes upon them.’ Simmias laughs at this, ‘by Zeus, Socrates, you make me laugh and I’m in no laughing mood just now. I think the majority, on hearing this, will think that it describes the philosophers very well!’ I’m sure our people in Thebes would thoroughly agree that philosophers are nearly dead, and that the majority of people are well aware that they deserve to be.’ Cebes, lapsing into his own dialect, laughs quietly and adds: ‘Zeus knows it.’ ‘And they would be telling the truth, Simmias and Cebes, except for their being aware’, pipes Socrates, ‘they are not aware of the way true philosophers are nearly dead, nor of the way they deserve to be, nor of the sort of death they deserve.’ ‘ But, what if..’ I interject, all of a sudden uncomfortably conscious of my host’s body, ‘well, what if, what if what you say is true, and by Heraclitus we know it as the same thing that there exists in us living and dead and the waking and the sleeping and young and old, and if for these things having changed round are those, and those are these, is practicing for dying or death in the proper manner, practice of philosophy?’

Recommended Reading:

Plato, Phaedo, in The Last Days of Socrates, translated by Hugh Tredennick and Harold Tarrant, (2003), London and New York: Penguin Books, pp. 97 – 206. (available at http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/phaedo.html )

Montaigne, Michel de. (1993) To philosophize is to learn how to die, in Michel De Montaigne: The Essays: A Selection, translated and edited by M.A Screech, London and New York: Penguin Classics, pp. 19 – 36. (available at http://scholarsbank.uoregon.edu.xmlui/bitstream/handle/1794/766/montaigne.pdf/sequence=1)

This New! seminar series, and film club usually takes place as part of  GradCAM 2011, on  Wednesdays, bi-weekly, 14.00 – 17.00 pm

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Liminality at NCAD opens on Thurs 3rd

Opening reception : 6-8pm Thursday 3rd February 2011

Project continues daily 10am -5pm,  4th- 12th February 2011.

Viewers are invited to participate in the project by engaging in discursvie seminars in the gallery or by stepping into the artist’s place as part of the installaiton.

No appointments are required to take part, though prompt texts for the seminars are available on request.

Keep an eye out here for further information.

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Seminar schedule for Liminality, NCAD Gallery, 100 Thomas Street, Dublin 8.


NCAD Gallery Opening hours 10am – 5pm.

During the times listed below viewers are invited to participate in the project by engaging in the projects discursive seminars or by stepping into the artist shoes as part of the installation. No appointments are required to take part.  Further schedule information for seminars during Liminality can be found at http://gallery.ncad.ie

The conversation between John Wynne, Tim Wainwright and Dr. Francis Halsall on Monday 7th at 6pm will take place in the Harry Clarke lecture theatre, NCAD. Seating for this event is limited so it is advisable to come early.

All other seminars will take place in the NCAD gallery, Thomas Street, Dublin 8. Seating for seminars is limited to 15. There is no prior booking. Places allocated on first come first served basis.

Saturday 5th : 2pm – 3pm. Infinite distraction: the erosion of attention in everyday life. Dr. Aislinn O’Donnell: will open a dialogue about the role of attention. Is attention to something or to someone becoming increasingly difficult to sustain? Rather than offer a neuroscientific account, I look to the work of Bernard Stiegler and Simone Weil to examine the relation between attention and education. I then ask what, if any, is the relation between phenomenological experiences of paying attention and of waiting.

Monday 7th: 6pm – 7.30pm The body as a Liminal site: Screening of ITU (2007) followed by a discussion between artists John Wynne and Tim Wainwright and Francis Halsall. Photographer Tim Wainwright and sound artist John Wynne spent a year as artists-in-residence at the Royal Brompton & Harefield.  ITU (2007) shot in the intensive treatment unit of the hospitals heart/lung transplant unit resulted from that residency and collaboration.   Infinite d

Tuesday 8th, 10.30 – 12.30 ‘… the truth of the subject is its estrangement and its excessiveness.’ Tina Kinsella in this seminar will review the ethico-aesthetic writings of Nancy and the art practice and theorectical writings of Ettinger in order to explore the notion that the “body” and the “artwork” are potentially ethico-aesthetic sites at which the conundrum of personal identity can be investigated. Prompt text for this seminar available on request.

Wednesday 9th, 5- 6pm Screenings: Transplant (2008), John Wynne and Tim Wainwright, and I used to say it was gold, but really, it’s a platinum one, Platinum (2011), Ciara McMahon and Living Gift Transplant Support Group.

Friday 11th, 11am –  1pm: Joint seminar by GradCam seminar groups Dead Public and Undead: alternatives and alterity. Resourced by Dr. Mick Wilson, Dr. Silivia Loeffler and Edia Connole.

Saturday 12th, 2pm – 3.30pm: Artist in conversation with Fiona Loughnane / Tina Kinsella/ Dr. Silivia Loeffler.


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