Sputnik

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact

Abstract

This work examines events as landmarks. It is an extension and development of research examining the politics of place. Related works include ‘CROW’ (collaboration with Mike Hogg www.crowwalks.blogspot.co.uk and ‘Spike in the Data’ (http://www.aislingobeirn.com/spikedata.htm)Research involved exploring the value of vernacular, second-hand information in the form of collected anecdotes, hand-made maps, nicknames etc. I questioned the reliability of information and the creative potential of differing accounts. This led me to make and butt together landmark objects and events from second hand information in anti-monumental materials such as cardboard. ‘Sputnik’, named after the first man-made satellite put into orbit by the Soviets, is made from second-hand information (a photograph) and card. A photograph of a map-like structure, bearing a startling resemblance to an aerial view of Long Kesh (former prison on Belfast’s outskirts, notable for the 1981 Hunger Strikes), was used for the animated component. This psycho-geographic landscape was assembled by political prisoners from objects they and I made during my residency in the prison (on invitation from Prison Arts Foundation). They arrived at this configuration without my input. One can only speculate about the configuration’s cartographic meaning.The animation included audio signal from Sputnik as recorded in Washington DC in 1957. One can only speculate about the reaction on first hearing that signal.The work investigates the relationship between events and their respective “political spaces” by setting up cartographic and historical tensions. This research was deemed relevant to Northern Irish art history, hence Sputnik’s commissioning by curator (Turner Prize-shortlisted, former IMMA-, ICA, Orchard Gallery-director) Declan McGonagle for ’A Shout in the Street’ in the Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art series. The work’s status was underlined by its selection for the travelling exhibition ’'Archiving Place and Time’, Manchester Metropolitan University, 2009, and Millennium Court Arts Centre Portadown 2009.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBelfast
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008
Event‘A Shout in the Street, Collective Histories of Northern Irish Art’ - Golden Thread Gallery / Belfast
Duration: 20 Sep 20086 Nov 2008

Keywords

  • art science sculpture

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  • Cite this

    O'Beirn, A. (Author). (2008). Sputnik. Artefact, Belfast: . Retrieved from http://www.aislingobeirn.com/sputnik.htm