A Colonial Subject in Washington DC // 2010

Solus Nua // 1209 First St NE // Washington DC



A Colonial Subject in Washington DC


The work was the result of a month long residency in Washington DC , organised by the Irish/American Arts Organisation, Soluas Nua.The exhibition took place in the unfurnished ground floor a new 12 story office building in the recently gentrified rebranded NOMA region of Washington DC. The area was historically known as Swamp Poodle, which housed the impoverished Irish migrant community before they were moved on to Baltimore and Springfield. The frequent references to Family Values in the work, is the result of my signing a legal contract with the building’s Proprietor. The contract stipulated that the art work I would exhibit would be in accordance with Family Values and would avoid any political references.

The Landlord was cautious of offending the buildings major tenants; the IRS and Homeland Security.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was across the road. There was a sign forbidding the smoking of tobacco within 50 ft of the building. This meant I was skirting the law when going on a cigarette break.

I used the space as a studio to make the work on site. It was predominately made from scrapes of building material left over by the builders. There was a big conference table in the large unfurnished bare concrete space. This was used by the contract cleaners to organize their rosters, take breaks and fall asleep. There was also considerable traffic from the IRS / Homeland Security Civil Servants on their way to and from the car park.

A sectionof the legal contract stipulated that only 2 people could view the show at a time for insurance purposes. Viewers also had to be accompanied by members of Solus Nua to enter the space. I definitely got more traffic from the cleaners and car parkers, than actual bona fide viewer.

The work was made over a 10 day burst of what can be best described as a free style jazz riff, and was good fast fun to do.