6th World Archaeological Congress, June-July 2008, University College Dublin, Ireland

An exhibition of contemporary visual and performing arts exploring the negotiation, mediation and translation of things.

Curated by Ian Russell in consultation with Pat Cooke and Gabriel Cooney




We live - enmeshed as capricious constituent members of a world of things. In the unfinished process of human becoming, both artists and archaeologists, as skilled negotiators, mediators and translators of things, have the opportunity and obligation to steward, provoke and subvert our intra-relationships in the shared ecologies of our world. Today, archaeologists and artists are turning towards each other to exchange experiences and mutually enrich each other’s narratives and revelations. This exhibition celebrates both new and also longstanding relationships between art and archaeology through the practices and processes of contemporary artists.

Continuing the collaborative exhibition of contemporary art and archaeology established by the Rosc exhibitions in Ireland in the 1960s and 70s, Ábhar agus Meon turns towards the rich etymologies of the Irish language to present the challenge of negotiating, mediating and translating the relationships entwining humanity and things. Ábhar carries meanings of not only materials and matters but also subjects and themes, while meon hints at mentality, ethos, spirit and temperament. Rather than merely asserting polarisations of mind and body, the theme Ábhar agus Meon suggests a multiplicity of intra-relationships between mutually indistinguishable conceptions of things and thoughts.

Occurring in spaces throughout the Belfield campus of University College Dublin and resonating with the curatorial programmes of the arts, cultural and heritage institutions of Ireland, Ábhar agus Meon, as a contextualisation of Ireland’s hosting of the 6th World Archaeological Congress in June and July 2008, will provide an opportunity for local and international artists to share work with a global audience as part of a dynamic and unique programme of events in the arts, cultural and heritage calendars in Dublin and Ireland in 2008. Through a curated programme of visual arts exhibits, temporary and permanent installations, performances, demonstrations, workshops, web-based exhibitions and field trips to rural arts projects, Ábhar agus Meon will explore the materials which constitute things, the tempering of materials through artistic and archaeological processes, the shared subjects of artistic and archaeological inquiry, the collaborative spirit of artistic and archaeological endeavours, the ethos of artistic and archaeological mediations and the mentalities represented, constructed and subverted through artistic and archaeological expression. Specific themes will resonate with the overall research programme of University College Dublin, exploring matters of common human concern such as tensions between the local and the global, the negotiation and manifestation of identities during experiences of diaspora, displacement, movement, migration and transience, landscape and development, insider and outsider art and academic practice and the politics of process and change.

For further information regarding submission guidelines or event programming, please contact the curator, Ian Russell (ian.russell(at)amexhibition.com).

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