Irina Gheorghe: Betraying the Senses, or How to Speak of What Is Not There

Dates: 30 Jan - 31 Jan

Show Time: 6pm - 6.45pm (Doors 5:30pm)

Tickets: €0 - Free: First Come, First Served

Thursday 30  January 6pm

Performance of Preliminary Remarks on the Study of What Is Not There (ongoing since 2017) and installation All the Things Which Are Not There (ongoing since 2018)

Doors open 5.30pm. Opening remarks by Dr Ronan McCrea (Lecturer in Fine Art, Dublin School of Creative Arts, TU Dublin.) Duration: 45 min

Friday 31 January 6pm

Performance of Foreign Language for Beginners (ongoing since 2015) and installation Scores for First Contact (ongoing since 2018)

Doors open 5.30pm. Duration: 45 min


This event presents two performances over two days, each using the gallery space of Project Arts Centre in a different way, each introducing elements of site-specific installation. Both works are long-term explorations of the idea of the unobservable in scientific research, and have deployed methods of estrangement across several iterations.

Preliminary Remarks on the Study of What Is Not There (ongoing since 2017) will be performed on the opening night, together with a new version of the installation All the Things Which Are Not There (ongoing since 2018), devised specifically for the occasion. The performance takes the form of a guided tour amongst all the things not present in the gallery of Project Arts Centre: from things which are to things which are not; from things which could be to things which could not be. Previous locations where the performance has taken place are also part of this mapping, introduced as tape drawings spread throughout the space. The series of photographs Methods for the Study of What Is Not There (2019) introduces a sequence of gestures and body movements in which actions of measuring, classifying, dividing and belonging to the process of scientific methodology, are faced with an absence. Between the ephemeral event and its material traces no perfect equivalence is possible, alluding to the impossibility to perfectly trace that which escapes observation.

On the second night, Foreign Language for Beginners (ongoing since 2015) will be performed. The work starts with the figure of the alien as the ultimate unobservable, hypothetical, and absent entity. It explores the dynamics and history of a potential first contact through speech, sound, ­­­­and movement, as a conversation with the world outside the word inside a room. The performance starts with messages that were composed and sent into outer space as part of the active SETI program. As the performance progresses, the mode of address, the language, and the situation become increasingly uncanny. In the installation Scores for First Contact (ongoing since 2018), the question of a universal cosmic language is explored through collage and wall interventions, drawing on the visual vocabularies of geometric abstraction and concrete poetry as tools for interstellar communication.

The event is part of Irina Gheorghe’s PhD research: ‘Treason of the Senses: Practices of Estrangement or How Art Speaks of What Is Not There’ at GradCAM/Technological University Dublin. It is the first comprehensive presentation of the project in Dublin, in conjunction with the formal completion of the research project, scheduled for June 2020.


The installations All the Things Which Are Not There and Scores for First Contact will be on view on 1 February 11–7 pm.

These performance events are free of charge. Spaces are limited and will be granted on a first-come-first-served basis. No late admittance.

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Image: Irina Gheorghe: Methods for the Study of What Is Not There (2019), series of 10 photographs, inkjet print from medium format negative, 50×50 cm. Courtesy the artist.


This event is supported by GradCAM/TU Dublin.

The artist would like to thank: Anne Clarke, Declan Clarke, Elena, Ștefan and Adrian Gheorghe, Noel Fitzpatrick, Jamie Lemoine, Ronan McCrea and Lívia Páldi.

The project is dedicated to Alina Popa (1 Feb 1982 – 1 Feb 2019).

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