TULCA Festival of Visual Arts and Galway 2020 present UnSelfing

Nothing to Look Forward to But the Past

Curated by Gregory Mccartney in partnership with Abridged
DATE Launching 1 December 2020 continuing until 31 March 2021
Stuart Cairns
Nadege Meriau
Essays by
Prof. Lorna Piatti-Farnell
Dr Dara Downey
Anna Walsh
Gail McConnell
Sharon Young

WEBSITE www.abridged.zone

This year 2020,  TULCA  marks its 18th-year inviting three alumni curators Sarah Searson (The Dock, Leitrim), Gregory McCartney (Abridged, Derry) and Helen Carey (Fire Station Artists Studios) to examine our challenging and irreplaceable world, working with Irish and European artists in Galway and other locations.

Nadege Meriau, He Who Eateth My Flesh II, 2019

The original Nothing to Look Forward to But The Past was written before the Covid-19 Pandemic, but it somewhat eerily articulates the sudden change in everyday life and behaviour which the virus has caused to reassess. It was in a sense the sequel to (the also prophetic in light of recent events) ‘What Became of the People We used to Be?’ the title of TULCA 2012 and is a continuation of the Abridged obsession with actual and metaphorical viruses with recent issues have the titles Contagion and Relapse.

This re-imagining of the project sees the exhibition and publication element move online to the www.abridged.zone website. New work commissions include artist Belfast based artist Stuart Cairns and Nadege Meriau, a French, London based artist





As part of the programme, a series of essays have been commissioned exploring the situation we find ourselves in. The current pandemic will have a major effect on how we move forward in the future if we are to move forward at all. Curator Gregory Mccartney invites academics, poets and writers to explore various parts of the concept of personal and societal collapse:

Given that the virus supposedly jumped species resulting from someone eating wild animals Professor Lorna Piatti-Farnell will discuss the morals and taboos of food in relation to body/horror and repulsion. Professor Piatti-Farnell Director of the Popular Culture Research Centre in Aukland and President of the Gothic Society of Australia and New Zealand.
As we are fed numerous ‘alternative’ virus origin and cure theories Professor Peter Knight from Manchester University will discuss the phenomena of conspiracy theories and the need for people to believe in something no matter how improbable that something is.

Dr Dara Downey from Trinity College explores environmental collapse with reference to societal structural decay in particular that of the Golden Gate Bridge. Her article focuses on the depiction of the ruined Golden Gate Bridge as a symbol of an equally ruined futurity, ruination that has already taken place. While William R. Gibson’s “The Gernsback Continuum” (1986) laments the loss of the ability to imagine a radically different future within postmodern culture, The Shannara Chronicles and Z Nation use this image to position twenty-first-century America as having no access to the future itself. While destroying the Statue of Liberty or the White House stands in for a lost revolutionary past on the East Coast, destroying the Golden Gate Bridge quite literally depicts an end to the westerly movement upon which the (environmentally damaging) doctrine of manifest destiny and expansionist projects in the Pacific depended.

Poet Anna Walsh examines the current moment as one of isolation, multiple poverties, and terror, exploring how we engage with one another through art, community, and nature.
Gail McConnell writer and academic from Queens’s University Belfast, explores the work of Stuart Cairns and Sharon Young, London based artist, will analyse the practice of Nadege Meriau.

There is also be a publication, with a print run of 200 featuring the commissioned essays and artworks from the exhibition.


TULCA Festival of Visual Arts UnSelfing; is a programme of exhibitions, performances and encounters with visual art taking place in Galway and across Ireland throughout 2020 and into 2021.

The programme takes as its theme Irish-born writer and philosopher Iris Murdoch’s concept of ‘UnSelfing’; the idea that in order to find truth, it is necessary to seek outside of one’s self; to be attentive to the world, to be curious about the people, places and ideas that surround us.


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