FADO continues its 12-month duration performance art series, TIME TIME TIME, with EMIT TIME ITEM, a new work by internationally acclaimed Irish artist Alastair MacLennan. Famous for his ‘actuations’, MacLennan’s term for his performance installation works, he is a key practitioner in the field of durational performance.
In EMIT TIME ITEM, MacLennan uses the number 30 as a departure point to explore the past 30 years of political and social turmoil in Northern Ireland, known as ‘The Troubles’. The piece will run for 30 hours, presenting a subtly but ever-changing image of 30 place settings at an expansive white table. Like MacLennan’s previous work, this piece deals with political, social and cultural malfunction. ‘The Troubles’ are an ongoing concern for the Belfast-based artist, who represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1997 with an intermedia work commemorating the names of all those who died as a result of the political trouble in Northern Ireland since 1969.
In keeping with TIME TIME TIME’s curatorial focus on duration and its effects in performance, MacLennan will place an emphasis on marking time as his key role as the performer in the work. He writes, “As well as ecology of natural environment, there is ecology of mind and spirit. Each is a layer of the other, interfused, three in one. The challenge for us today is to live this integration. Already we are late. Time we have is not so vital as time we make.”
During the 1970s and 1980s, MacLennan made long durational performances of up to 144 hours each, non-stop, usually neither eating nor sleeping throughout. Since 1975, he has been based in Belfast, and was a founding member of Belfast’s Art and Research Exchange. He is currently a research professor at the University of Ulster, travelling extensively throughout Europe and North America presenting his actuations. MacLennan is also a member of the European performance group, Black Market International.
MacLennan says of his practice, “A primary function of art is to bridge our spiritual and physical worlds… Art is the demonstrated wish and will to resolve conflict through action, be it spiritual, religious, political, personal, social or cultural.”