Restaging the Object: A Participatory Exploration of Long Kesh/Maze Prison

Martin Krenn & Aisling O’Beirn (eds.)

2018 marked the twentieth anniversary of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which kick-started the current peace process in Northern Ireland. Twenty years in the wake of this history and amidst the heated discussions about Brexit threatening to reinforce the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, artists Martin Krenn and Aisling O’Beirn and their collaborators explore untold and lesser-known narratives about the recent conflict in Northern Ireland through an artistic engagement with the legacies of the former high security prison Long Kesh/Maze. The artists initiated a collaborative social sculpture by working with a broad range of people who were affected by the prison in different ways. These interlocutors include republican and loyalist ex-prisoners, ex-prison staff, and former visitors, each of whom provides new insights into the human experience of a high-security prison.

 

The fully illustrated volume shows photographs of prison art, smuggled prison artifacts as well as prison issue objects. Many of the featured artifacts and objects have not been seen before as they are in private hands. Each image in the publication is accompanied by a testimony from their maker or custodian. These photographs also document previously unseen, newly made, objects crafted by the 50+ Group, a group of women who regularly visited Long Kesh prisoners and were themselves active in republican politics. The archaeologist Laura McAtackney and art theorist Suzana Milevska contribute texts contextualizing this photo project in the fields of contemporary art and archaeology.

 

While the focus of Restaging the Object: A Participatory Exploration of Long Kesh/Maze Prison is on a legacy issue relating to the conflict in the North of Ireland the book is of particular interest to anyone concerned with questions addressing contentious cultural heritage, as the project reveals how creative methods can be found to work with affected communities to address difficult topics, sites, and materials. The publication is unique in that it brings together a range of disciplines such as contemporary dialogical art, photography, art theory, archaeology, anthropology and cultural heritage studies to address this difficult issue on a human level.

 

Martin Krenn and Aisling O’Beirn are artists working in the field of socially engaged art. O’Beirn is based in Belfast and teaches at Ulster University; Krenn lives in Vienna and teaches at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.

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[DE]   Zwanzig Jahre nach dem Good Friday Agreement, dem wichtigen Friedensabkommen zwischen England und Nordirland, und inmitten der zermürbenden Brexitverhandlungen, die die Grenzabschottung zwischen Irland und Nordirland zu reaktivieren droht, beschäftigen sich Martin Krenn und Aisling O’Beirn mit weniger bekannten Aspekten der Konflikte in der Region. Sie widmen sich einer Archäologie des lokal-kulturellen Vermächtnisses des Hochsicherheitsgefängnisses Long Kesh/Maze, wo einst Gefangene beider Seiten des Bürgerkriegs interniert waren. Zur Konfrontation mit kollektiver Erinnerung und Trauma initiierten Krenn und O’Beirn im Dialog mit Angehörigen der ehemaligen Häftlinge prozesshaft eine „Soziale Skulptur“. Die entstandene Publikation dient der Ausstellung und Aufarbeitung dieser intensiven Zusammenarbeit. Das Herzstück bilden Fotos sogenannter, in Long Kesh/Maze entstandener Prison Art, abgebildet in Kombination mit Zeitzeugen-Erinnerungen.

 

Restaging the Object: A Participatory Exploration of Long Kesh/Maze Prison. With contributions by Martin Krenn & Aisling O’Beirn, Laura McAtackney, Suzana Milevska & Peter Mutschler and the project participants Simon Bridge, Phil Holland, David Stitt, The 50+Group under the umbrella of Tar Anall, the Eileen Hickey Irish Republican History Museum, the Roddy McCorley Society Museum, the Andy Tyrie Interpretative Centre, as well as a number of contributors who prefer to remain anonymous. Design by Keith Connolly, Tonic Design, Belfast

 

Edited by Martin Krenn & Aisling O’Beirn

English

170 x 225 mm
256 pages
Two paper stocks 
Full-color throughout
Sewn in sections

ISBN 978-3-9818635-6-7

 

This publication ensues from the research project TRACES – Transmitting Contentious Cultural Heritages with the Arts. From Intervention to Co-production, which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under grant agreement No 693857. Ulster University is a partner in the TRACES project. The publication also received funding from the Art and Design Research Unit at Ulster University.

 

Published in June 2019

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