15th July - 06th August 2006: "Before the Square was Built ..."

Exhibited as a part of the group show entitled "Fused ’06", 15th July-4th August 2006. Curated by Michael Dempsey on behalf of the Art Projects Network.

‘’Chris Reid’s piece, a photo-text recounting the recollections of how Tallaght used to be on the part of a traveller, is also there, though its main incarnation was as a spread in the Tallaght Echo. It exemplifies the way unbounded, anomalous spaces are progressively appropriated and demarcated.’’

Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, page 12, 26th July 2006

Chris Reid placed an image and text piece on the wall in the atrium of the County Hall in Tallaght. He also placed a scaled down version of the wall piece into a half page advertising space in the South County Dublin weekly newspaper ‘The Tallaght Echo’.

The image in the piece was taken in the well-known shopping mall called ‘The Square’ in Tallaght.
Built in 1990 it was the first of four large shopping complexes built in the suburban centres surrounding Dublin city and was for a while the largest shopping centre in Ireland. For Chris Reid, inherent in this large-scale land use change is are questions, ‘Did this change in land use, with its massive retail facility and surrounding suburban urban replace any existing settlement?’

The text in the piece is based upon an interview with a traveller which was recorded in 2001. This person, along with her family and other traveller families lived on the side of a road where the Square was built in 1990. This family and community lived there for periods of time each year over many decades. They did not own any site or property on this road however they considered it a safe place to live at a time when there was no such thing as halting sites. When this safe place became the site of ‘The Square’, town centre at the end of the 1980’s and into 1990 this community of travellers could no longer stay there and were not consulted regarding this change.

This work is concerned with how changing land uses and the policing of public spaces may serve vested interests while further marginalising ways of living that are considered incompatible with those interests. As planning permission is advertised through local and sometimes national newspapers Chris Reid decided to use the form of the half-page advertising space as a means to draw attention to the loss of place experienced by this community.

Exhibited as a part of the group show entitled Fused ’06. Curated by Michael Dempsey on behalf of the Art Projects Network.