2004: We Replace.
A project undertaken while on a residency at the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

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This work began as a series of written quotations and textual fragments that originated from many sources that included personal diaries, books, and essays on art, self-help books and even a self-hypnosis tape. I customised each fragment to suit my own personal experiences and then typographically designed each to resemble a typical government health warning that may appear on some commodities and in public spaces carrying information deemed of public importance.

Each of the texts was given a uniform typographical treatment and were laser printed onto A4 sticky label paper and cropped to size. These were further displaced and disembodied by placing each onto public surfaces and spaces around Dublin City. I intended the texts to function as a sort of self-projection on to the city. I wanted this distribution of texts to yield unexpected readings ranging from the trivial, the angry, the ambivalent, the happy, the sad, the complacent and the political, the paranoid etc. I wanted the synergy of site and form and text to produce unexpected figures of speech, narrative and interpretation.

One text fragment appeared to sum up many of the emerging concerns running through the work. I had this particular text silk screened into two advertising formats (four sheet and six sheet respectively). This summarising text was printed in the forms of conventional public advertising formats and was placed into various advertising spaces around the Dublin City. Usually the poster would appear alone however sometimes two posters would be sited in proximity to each other. I found that this amplified text appropriated the meanings of other advertisements around it and ‘coloured’ the space in which it was located. These posters have a voice, a direct voice, an anonymous voice which was originally the artist’s voice, but through a process of displacement and disembodiment became an ambivalent voice, maybe the voice of a marketing department or a board of public works or the voice of advertising, or of the state. It was a voice with some power and a voice of intention.

Sites were carefully chosen. Three six sheet posters were installed in light box panels at Tara Street station, this site was chosen as the station was small enough for the posters to be noticed and was also a busy place that people move through once or twice a day to go somewhere else i.e. the suburbs or to work. It is a place of no community and little contact between users. It is a place of surveillance where users desire to be somewhere else. They move through, wait and and depart only to arrive again. Through this routine they are for a few minutes each day viewers of this work.

Most of the material placed into public spaces was photographed. I have selected a series of these photographs to be displayed alongside the actual texts and one of the advertising posters. The white space of the gallery becomes a place where these diverse texts and spaces are collated into legibility. I see this process of working as being flexible, open-ended and potentially ongoing. I see this work as being both personal and public, a visual and textual montage and narrative about voice, embodiment, site, disembodiment and negotiating this city.


Chris Reid, 16th September 2004 (edited 3rd October 2019)
Exhibiting from the 21st September – 3rd October.


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