Dispersed Presence: Long Kesh/Maze Prison, its Artefacts as Catalysts of Testimony

Aisling O'Beirn, Martin Krenn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Krenn and O'Beirn's contribution to 'Art, Anthropology and Contested Heritages' outlines and contextualises the dialogical methodology they developed to make a collaborative social sculpture, working with a broad range of people who were affected by Long Kesh / Maze prison. The artists, in researching the former prison, focus particularly on archaeologist Laura McAtackney’s 9also a contributor) concept of the "distributed self" from her key text on the prison, An Archaeology of the Troubles (McAtackney, 2014: 244–65).

Bloomsbury outline:
''Art, Anthropology and Contested Heritages book presents innovative ethnographic perspectives on the intersections between art, anthropology, and contested cultural heritage, drawing on research from the interdisciplinary TRACES project (funded by the EU's Horizon 2020 program). The case studies in this volume critically assess how and in which arrangements artistic/aesthetic methods and creative everyday practices contribute to strengthening communities both culturally and economically. They also explore the extent to which these methods emphasize minority voices and ultimately set in motion a process of reflexive Europeanisation from below which unfolds within Europe and beyond its borders.

At the heart of the book is the development of a new way of transmitting contentious cultural heritage, which responds to the present situation in Europe of unstable political conditions and a sense of Europe in crisis. With chapters looking at difficult art exhibitions on colonialism, death masks, Holocaust memorials, and skull collections, the contributors articulate a response to the crisis in current economic-political conditions in Europe and advances brand new theoretical groundwork on the configuration of a renewed European identity.

Table of contents
1. Working with TRACES, Arnd Schneider (University of Oslo, Norway)
2. The Scattered Colonial Body: Serendipity and Neglected Heritage in the Heart of Rome, Arnd Schneider (University of Oslo, Norway)
3. The Palm, the Couscous, the Face, Leone Contini (Independent Researcher, Italy)
4. Research on Research on Research: On Reflexive Relationality, Matei Bellu (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany)
5. Framing Faces: A Conversation Between, Razvan Anton (Art and Design University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania), Julie Dawson (Leo Baeck Institute, UK) and Matei Bellu (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany)
6. An Ethnography of Process: Following the Realization of the Awkward Objects of Genocide Project, Katarzyna Maniak (Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland)
7. Awkward Objects of Genocide Project-Difficult Encounters with Holocaust Folk Art: A Hybrid Record of Research and Exhibition Planning, Roma Sendyka (Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland), Erica Lehrer (Concordia University, Canada), Wojciech Wilczyk (Kraków Photography Academy, Poland), Magdalena Zych Sendyka (Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland)
8. From Something to Nothing: A Peculiar Ethnography of a Peculiar Art Project, Blaž Bajic (University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
9. Casting of Death Domestic Research Society, Domestic Research Society
10. Dead Images: Multivocal Engagements with Human Remains, Aglaja Kempinski (University of Edinburgh, UK)
11. Disposing of Dead Images: Reflections on Contentious Heritage as Toxic Waste, John Harries (University of Edinburgh, UK) with Tal Adler and Aglaja Kempinski (University of Edinburgh, UK)
12. Participatory Approaches to Places of Unresolved Heritage: Working with The Communities of Long Kesh/Maze, Laura McAtackney (Aarhus University, Denmark)
13. Dispersed Presence: Long Kesh/Maze Prison, its Artefacts as Catalysts of Testimony, Martin Krenn (University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria) and Aisling O'Beirn (Ulster University, UK) ''

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArt, Anthropology and Contested Heritages
Subtitle of host publicationEthnographies of TRACES
EditorsArnd Schneider
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)979-1-3500-8811-5, 979-1-3500-8812-2
ISBN (Print)979-1-3500-8810-8
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Oct 2019


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