This year TULCA is marking its 18th year, inviting three alumni curators Sarah Searson, Gregory McCartney and Helen Carey to examine our challenging and irreplaceable world, working with Irish and European artists in Galway and other locations.
To mark this special occasion Galway based artist Austin Ivers will be presenting a new body of work consisting of ‘The World at War’, a new multi-screen video work, photography and installed objects along with a programme of screenings, readings and a publication to document these events. Ivers is an artist working in a variety of media, including, video, photography and installation.
In these works and through a series of associated events, Ivers considers the psychic effects and the embodied materials of the Cold War on popular culture. As an adolescent on the 1980s and early 1990s the world appeared to be teetering on collapse. Nihilistic popular culture, aided by world events, promised the end of everything. This was facilitated to no small degree by the emergence of domestic VHS technology. Much like contemporary parents are scared stupid by the internet and the access (and understanding) their children have of it, Ivers generation had video, “under the counter” tapes, “video nasties” and the world of cheap-to-license B-movies (as well as art classics) at their disposal.
“We were obviously in a demented frenzy as we had equal access to The Hills Have Eyes, THX 1138, Eraserhead ,The Omega Man, Soylent Green, Zardoz, A Boy and His Dog, Logans Run, Damnation Alley, Dawn of the Dead, Alien, Blasé Runner, Terminator, Brazil etc… and we were still asked to program the video recorder, which was like magic to our parents.”
First was nuclear annihilation, preceded (or succeeded) by social collapse, terrible drawn out deaths, corporate take-over of government, theocracy, zombies, Mad Max apocalyptic aesthetic. Much of the anxiety represented the time was fuelled by rapid changes in cultures. Middle class fear of post-war values being rejected by the next generation, fear of the centre not holding, fear of The Bomb, the Right, the Left, The British Army and the IRA, strikes, of things breaking down, of chaos especially well described in Terry Gillinghams film Time Bandits. Even the pop sensation Wham rejected any work ethic and sense of responsibility: social collapse as an aesthetic.
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.