Working from Feeling to Feeling: a public conversation between Renèe Helèna Browne and Emma Wolf-Haugh and launch of Radclyffe Hall–The Lazerbeam Theirstory Projects zine.
Project Arts Centre is delighted to host a public conversation related to our current exhibition, Domestic Optimism Act One: Modernism–A Lesbian Love Story & Act Two: Radclyffe Hall–The Lazerbeam Theirstory Projects. This conversation will depart from the ongoing correspondence between Browne and Haugh that has informed both of their practices. Considering shared concerns around writing and the use of anecdote as a different kind of knowledge production; histories and archives that don’t give you what you want; and messy, queer practices enacted across time and space, this conversation promises to enrich our understanding of both artists’ work as well as of Irish literary and theatrical experimental and avant-garde practice.
The event will also launch the new zine produced for this iteration of the show.
Meeting in a place of queer working class disruption, modernist historical narratives are reformulated towards spaces of critical awareness and potential. The new work enters into speculative exchange with the often misrepresented history of Ballymun, a post-war style high rise social housing estate built on Dublin’s northside in the 1960s.
Developed in response to slum housing conditions in inner city Dublin at the time, Ballymun echoed the hopes of similar projects across Europe and the USA. The estate was the first and last of its kind in Ireland, and was largely demolished in the 2000s, against the wishes of many in the community. Fashioned after Le Corbusier’s ‘Radiant City’, and in consultancy with the English Imperial Town Planner Sir William Henry Holford, Ballymun’s legacy is drenched in high hopes, bad press, shitty management, and shoddy infrastructure. In the face of structural and narrative inequality, Ballymun’s community organising was epic, utopian in its scope and almost completely written out from the popular mythologising of the place as a working-class ghetto.
This new addition to the exhibition, produced for the exhibition at Project Arts Centre, delves into the Ballymun Community Archives and develops a speculative fiction that imagines a surviving tower block, squatted by working-class queers. Radclyffe Hall–The Lazerbeam Theirstory Projects is a utopian proposal for an architecture commonly read as better off gone.
Emma Wolf-Haugh is a visual artist, educator and writer based in Dublin and Berlin and working internationally. Emma’s work is shaped by economic necessity, engaging forms of recycling, thrift and ephemera that result in soft modularity, wild archiving, and performative intervention, posing questions about value, accumulation, and authorship. They sees a cultural centring of thrift as part of a tradition of queer-working class vernacular and ethics, promiscuous and adept at working within limitations. Their pedagogical and publishing work posits the imagination as a political tool with radical potential that can exist and erupt anywhere and at anytime. Their work is often collaborative generating forms of temporary collectivity, intent on the erotic and energetic capacity of brief encounter. Emma’s work occupies many different sites, spaces and relations including exhibition, performance, film-making, publishing, writing, disruptive pedagogy, friendship and solidarity, elements that often get messy together in long term projects.
Renèe Helèna Browne is an artist based between Scotland and Ireland. Browne makes vocal soundscapes, essay films and angsty drawings. They are 2021-2023 Talbot Rice Resident Artist with ECA at the University of Edinburgh and 2021 Sunset Kino Award winner for their film ‘Daddy’s Boy’ with the Salzburger Kunstverein. Browne is currently developing work for presentation with Dublin Digital Radio, Project Arts Centre, Lux Scotland, PAKT with David Dale Gallery, and CCA Glasgow. They are supported by the Arts Council of Ireland Visual Arts Bursary 2021.