chapter  7
22 Pages

Migrancy, Mobility and Memory: Visualising Belonging and Displacement in Jaki Irvine’s The Silver Bridge (2003)

Time-based art from Ireland spanning the last 30 years responds to different aspects of Ireland’s political, economic and social climate. Performance, video, installation and sound art are known as time-based because the work unfolds over a measure of time. This artwork utilises active viewer engagement, as opposed to passive viewing conditions attached to traditional media like paintings or drawings. Subsequently, the making of meaning is reliant on the intersections of time, space and viewer interactions. These practices are well positioned to engage with the issues surrounding migration, and offer a new way to comprehend the complexities of migrant experiences as culturally, temporally and spatially inbetween. It is therefore unsurprising that during the Celtic Tiger era (1995-2007), artworks about migration featured prominently in several high profile national and international exhibitions such as Irish Art Now: From the Poetic to the Political (1999-2002, McMullen Museum, Boston; the Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador, St Johns; Pittsburgh Center for the Arts; the Chicago Cultural Center and the Irish Museum of Modern Art) and 0044: Contemporary Irish Art in Britain (1999-2000, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York; Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York; and Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, Cork). Their inclusion in these exhibitions that interrogated Irishness highlights the significance of conceptualising migration in Irish culture at the end of the twentieth century.