Dream Idea Machine

Read Dimitris Lempesis's feature on EVA International on DreamIdeaMachine.com

One of the pivotal events in modern history of Ireland took place on 24/4/1916 and lasted 6 days, members of the Irish Volunteers led by t Patrick Pearse, joined by the smaller Irish Citizen Army of James Connolly and 200 women of Cumann na mBan, seized key locations in Dublin and proclaimed the Irish Republic.  At the end of the Easter Uprising,  500 people were killed and 15 men identified as leaders were executed at Kilmainham Jail. 2016 is a meaningful year for Ireland as it marks the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising, a moment of great significance in the struggle for liberation from British colonial rule. Responding to the context of the centenary, EVA International 2016 is entitled “Still (the) Barbarians” and investigates the post-colonial condition of Ireland as a point of departure from where artistic reflections, critical redefinitions and political transformations are articulated. The convecting discourses on racism as a foundational and enduring system for exclusion and exploitation appear throughout the biennial as the framework on which to build contemporary fictions and future utopias of togetherness. “Still (the) Barbarians” further examine the relationships between the various forms of mental, physical and institutional decolonization across the world in comparison to Ireland as the primary testing territory of Western colonization systems before their expansion to the global map. Informed by the longstanding and persistent unease with forms of subjugation, alienation, humiliation and dispossession and their inevitable result in war and terror, the curatorial project wishes to engage with practices displaying aesthetics of subversion, transcendence and reappropriation. “Murder Machine” is presented at Ormston House in partnership with EVA International and Making Histories Visible as part the Federation of arts organisations and institutions responding to the curatorial concept of Ireland’s Biennial 2016. “Murder Machine” revisits thoughts and writings by Irish linguist and activist Pádraig Pearse, one of the leading figures of the Easter Rising, who voiced criticism against the English educational system imposed on Ireland. In his eponymous pamphlet The Murder Machine (January 1916), compiling articles and notes dated between 1912 and 1914, Pearse spoke of a system devised “for the debasement of Ireland”. He described it as a system doing “violence to the elementary human rights of Irish children” and compared it to slave education.

By Dimitris Lempesis
Published on 16 April 2016
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