Fintan Friel, from 'Reign of a Perpetual Present 1-24', mixed media, 28x35, 2005


Ciara Finnegan, Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, Fintan Friel
Gallery 1
June 18 - July 9

This project was commissioned by Context Galleries as a public artwork for the site Waltons New School of Music in Dublin in April 2005. It is now brought to the Context as a further examination of the relationship between site and artwork (a theme also explored by the concurrent exhibition by Sandra Smith in Gallery 2).


Ciara Finnegan

Artist from Northern Ireland whose projects have included: Le Mons & Track Record, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, 2003; Between Omega, a video project with the students of Yono Senior High School, Saitama City, Japan, 2003; PS1 Residency, New York, 1999; The Ex-Files, New York City, 1999; Zed and Paul, Context Gallery, Derry, 1999; Switch, Arte Television, France/Germany, 1998.

For Rhythm-A-Ning, Ciara Finnegan’s new work “Training” consists of a short silent black and white digital movie, reminiscent of the simplicity of silent-era cinema, and three separate piano accompaniments to the film, commissioned by the artist from three composers from Waltons New School. For the opening of Rhythm-A-Ning at Waltons New School of Music, the composers Greg Lloyd and Jonathan Healy performed their piano accompaniments alongside projections of the film, and the work by composer Mary Barnecutt was performed by pianist Jillian Saunders.
For the remainder of Rhythm-A-Ning at Waltons, Matthew Gidney’s photographic documentation of the event and the accompanying scores remained in the music school.
The event explored how different soundtracks influence our reading of images and how these two elements co-operate in narrative design.
The artist also hopes to have the musical scores published.

"“Training” is a silent black and white digital movie and three original piano scores. In “Training” the goals are ambiguous and may, in fact, be obscured by absorption in the activities themselves. " Ciara Finnegan, March 2005

Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard

Artists from England, who make work together. Their projects have included Everybody else is wrong at Pavilion, Montreal 2004; File under Sacred Music at RCA, London 2004; ICA, London 2003 and NFT, London 2003; I love you to the moon and back, Tate Modern, London 2001. Web site:

For Rhythm-A-Ning, Forsyth and Pollard’s new work, ‘Change My Life’, is a social and ideological experiment, an open-ended collaborative exchange of good ideas. The artists issued an open invitation to encourage cultural evolution by participation in the exchange they established within Waltons New School of Music. The site itself is loaded with potential, an environment populated by creative people each inwardly transmitting their individual influences and ways of thinking - brought together by a common interest to learn and evolve through participation and repetition.

“To participate, please select something to donate to the exchange. This can be anything that has had a positive influence on the way you think, something that’s affected the person you are and has, in some way, changed your life. It might be, for example, a book, a CD, a film, a musical score or a poem. Use one of the leaflets provided to write a little about what the object is and how it has influenced you. This is an opportunity to participate in educating and influencing another person – a chance to perpetuate a good idea. Attach the message to your object before you donate it to the exchange, then select an object donated by someone else to take away with you. Try to be as open as possible to new ideas when you make your selection, try to surprise yourself and challenge your assumptions. Engage with your new object and learn from it. Remember that every item in the exchange is loaded with significance to another person and will act as a host for a self-replicating pattern of information. It has changed someone else’s life, open yourself to the possibility that it could be transposed and also change yours. Influence and be influenced."
Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, March 2005

Fintan Friel

Artist from Ireland whose projects have included: 67% Say They Were Misled, Project, Dublin, 2004; Now More Than Ever, Citylights, Melbourne, 2002; 1935, Printed Matter, New York, 2001; Very, Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin 1998; website

For Rhythm-A-Ning, the artist’s new work Reign of a Perpetual Present 1-24 was presented in the corridors, hallways, and stairwells of Waltons New School. The artist also intervenes further into the public domain, with flyers and posters from the project distributed around Dublin.

"‘Reign of a Perpetual Present 1-24’ establishes a framework for a playful and seemingly endless variety of references to mapping, graffiti, personal ideology, architecture and subjective interventions into the urban environment.

An Arabesque (a complex, ornate design of intertwined floral, foliate, and geometric figures) made my Jean de Tournes in Lyon (1556) is ‘sampled’ and compromised by techniques and strategies more usually employed within the realm of graffiti, pop-art, and punk.

The work reflects the multiplicity of musical practice and formal variation and aims to activate the social space of Waltons with specific references to historical and contemporary artistic practice."
Fintan Friel, March 2005


Waltons New School of Music at South Great George's Street is Dublin’s comprehensive music centre, combining music tuition of the highest standard with innovative approaches to music education. The New School offers tuition in the broadest range of instruments and styles of any music school in Ireland. Whether it is classical music, Irish traditional music, jazz, world music, popular music or innovative technology, there are many different paths by which students may enter the New School. Inside, rooms are filled with people of all ages, skill levels, economic circumstances and cultural backgrounds who come together to explore the universal language of music. Students – over a thousand each term – range in age from five to over eighty. For those who study music purely for enjoyment (a variety of instrumental, theory and music appreciation courses for beginners), and training for those who want to make a career of music. Tuition in most instruments and theory to teaching diploma level and beyond, as well as training in such specialised styles and techniques as flamenco guitar and jazz piano.


Declan Sheehan is curator at Context Galleries, Derry; on Editorial Advisory Board of Circa; and has published in Circa, Film West, Frieze, and Art&Text.

"It’s that strain of “music thinking” that I’m interested in – practise, repetition, a unique and distinct mode of thinking. Waltons New School of Music is a site dedicated to enabling and developing this new way of thinking, a site where people study music in evening and weekend classes and part-time day classes. And the part-time element of the school seems essential as it somehow grounds the aesthetic practice of the school into everyday lives: it’s not an exclusive site like a music conservatoire, it’s a space where all types of people encounter the process of learning new aesthetic activities, and in particular they encounter the peculiarities of learning an aesthetic activity which interest me: processes of practice – demonstration, mimicry, repetition. It fascinates me that these learning processes of demonstration, mimicry, and repetition have the end result of individuals being capable of instances of independent aesthetic self-expression or expression. Yet that is what happens in music teaching, in art teaching and in language, and that fascination is in many ways at the foundation of Rhythm-A-Ning."
Declan Sheehan, March 2005

Rhythm-A-Ning, composed by Theolonius Monk, is a modern jazz classic, featuring an interior conversation between instruments as its major element, foregrounding mimicry, repetition, variation and communication between different instruments: it is an ideal reference point for this art project.

Rhythm-A-Ning is supported by Waltons New School of Music & Arts Council of Ireland

Sandra Smith, still from 'Gallery 2', 2005, Context Galleries

Sandra Smith, Gallery 2

Sandra Smith : Gallery 2
June 18 - July 9

Previous lives of rooms in the Playhouse (the arts centre in which Context Galleries is sited) range from them acting as dormitories to laboratories. Many rooms in the building have original features still visible. In contrast, Gallery 2 of the Context Gallery has evolved into being a blank canvas. Most of the old features blend into the surroundings and go unnoticed, due to the changing role of the space over time.

I intend to work with the exhibition space as a material. I have worked on this theme previously, where the space in which I am exhibiting has become the focal point of the piece produced.

Since late 2004, I have been documenting Gallery 2, recording the Context’s Gallery 2 exhibition space during different exhibitions, recording the various arrangements of the room while it has been installed with different projects. This material allows the viewer to see the features of the space in different contexts. Fittings of the room, power sockets, all may generally go unnoticed. But among them are the energy supplies of the space. Even these, in different lighting effects, occasionally appear to be giving light.

Sandra Smith is the winner, with her proposal for this project, of the Context Galleries & NWIFHE Commissioned Artwork Award 2004.