Common or Garden // CCAD Alumni involved with this Catalyst Arts Exhibition

08 December, 2020

CIT Crawford College of Art & Design alumni involved with Common or Garden at Catalyst Arts Gallery, Belfast


An upcoming exhibition & events to open thisFriday 11 December, 12-8pm 

Catalyst Arts Director Leah Corbett,  Bloomers Artistic Director Enid Conway & Bloomers Editor Kim Crowley graduated of Crawford College of Art & Design 2015 and 2016. 

More information about this 

Common or Garden uses the gallery as a space to propose and foster approaches based on the model of the commons in which resources, ideas and knowledge are shared and distributed democratically. By exploring processes of exchange, collaboration and learning, it asks: can we build practices rooted in collectivity?

The exhibition will include works by Chris Alton, Jérôme Bel, Emmet Brown and Aidan Wall. It will also host a zine library, curated by Bloomers, and The Library of Common Knowledge, featuring books donated through an open call which will be open for visitors to use and share throughout.

The associated programme includes contributions from Chris Alton, Bloomers, Victoria Brunetta & Kate O’Shea (Durty Books), Just Books and Fiona Woods and facilitates discussions on topics such as self-publishing, activism, commonist aesthetics and DIY culture.

See for more details of upcoming talks and events.  

More about involved artists:

Bloomers | Chris Alton | Jérôme Bel | Emmet Brown | Victoria Brunetta & Kate O’Shea (Durty Books) | Just Books | Aidan Wall | Fiona WoodsBloomers

Initiated in 2018, Bloomers is an independent multichannel arts organisation that produces a printed publication (Bloomers Magazine), delivers talks, events, screenings, zine library and Bloomers Craft Market. Bloomers mission is to provide a platform for emerging artists in a curated, critical context - online, in print and through events. Issue 06 of Bloomers Magazine titled Hypertext, is a collection of perspectives exploring the interface between the organism and technology, our acceleration toward the digital sphere - emphasising how these ideas concern storytelling and languages we use. Bloomers have collaborated with Crawford Art Gallery, The Guesthouse Project and now Catalyst Arts and with festivals such as Kfest, Quarter Block Party and Culture Night to deliver events, share our zine collection and more.Chris Alton

Chris Alton is an artist and (occasional) curator. Whether deploying disco music in opposition to fascism, proposing art schools be built over golf courses, or discussing the trident as a cypher for colonial intent, his work addresses the interconnected nature of prevailing social, political, economic and environmental conditions. He is a lifelong Quaker, the founder of English Disco Lovers (EDL) (2012-15), and a skateboarder.


Alton was a participant in Syllabus III, an alternative, peer-led, learning programme (2017-18). Exhibitions & commissions include; Throughout the Fragment of Infinity That We Have Come to Know, The NewBridge Project, Gateshead (2020); Link & Shift, Eastside Projects, Birmingham (2019); Survey, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art; Bluecoat, Liverpool; g39, Cardiff; & Jerwood Space, London (2018-19); Bloomberg New Contemporaries, South London Gallery; & Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool Biennial (2018-19); The Billboard, Spit & Sawdust, Cardiff (2018); Adam Speaks, The National Trust, Croome, Worcestershire (2017); You're Surrounded by Me, Turf Projects, Croydon (2017); Under the Shade I Flourish, xero, kline & coma, London (2016); and Outdancing Formations, Edith-Russ-Haus, Oldenburg (2015). 


Jérôme Bel

In his early pieces (name given by the author, Jérôme Bel, Shirtology…), Jérôme Bel applied structuralist operations to dance in order to single out the primary elements from  theatrical spectacle. The neutralization of  formal criteria and the distance he took from choreographic language led him to reduce his pieces to their operative minimum, the better to bring out a critical reading of the economy of the stage, and of the body on it.


His interest subsequently shifted from dance as a stage practice to the issue of the performer as a particular individual. The series of portraits of dancers (Véronique DoisneauCédric AndrieuxIsadora Duncan) broaches dance through the narrative of those who practice it, emphasizes words in a dance spectacle, and stresses the issue of the singularity of the stage. Here, formal and institutional criticism takes the form of a deconstruction through discourse, in a subversive gesture which radicalizes its relation to choreography.

Through his use of biography, Jérôme  Bel politicizes his questions, aware as he is of the crisis involving the subject in contemporary society and the forms its representation takes on stage. In embryonic form in The show must go on, he deals with questions about what the theatre can be in a political sense—questions which come to the fore from Disabled Theater and Gala on. In offering the stage to non-traditional performers (amateurs, people with physical and mental handicaps, children…), he shows a preference for the community of differences over the formatted group, and a desire to dance over choreography, and duly applies the methods of a process of emancipation through art.

He has been invited to contemporary art biennials and museums (Tate Modern, MoMA, Documenta 13, the Louvre…), where he has put on performances and shown films. Two of them, Véronique Doisneau and Shirtology, are in the collections of the Musée National d’Art Moderne-Centre Pompidou. Jérôme Bel  is regularly invited to give lectures at universities (Waseda, UCLA, Stanford…). In 2013, together with the choreographer Boris Charmatz, he co-authored Emails 2009-2010, which was published by Les Presses du Réel.

In 2005, Jérôme Bel received a Bessie Award for the performances of The show must go on given in New York. Three years later, with Pichet Klunchun, he won the Routes Princesse Margriet Award for Cultural Diversity (European Cultural Foundation) for the  performance  Pichet Klunchun and myselfDisabled Theater was chosen in 2013 for the Theatertreffen in Berlin and won the Swiss “present-day dance creation” prize.


Emmet Brown

Emmet Brown is a graphic designer from Derry with a strong interest in typography and all things print. A recent graduate from UAL, Emmet's work often revolves around social and local issues, lending a hand for campaigns such as Decriminalise and Foyle Pride.


Just Books

‘We care about books because we care about working class self-education, we care about radical ideas, we care about revolutionary change. We believe all of these things are absolutely necessary if humanity is to have a future.’ 

Just Books Peoples’ Library includes titles covering anarchism, communism, current affairs, environmentalism, feminism, gender, Irish history and politics, history, journals, labour history, pamphlets, philosophy, queer theory, resources for activists, sexuality, social sciences, socialism, sociology, transgender and transsexual literature, fiction, prose, poetry and literature and a multi-lingual section. Significant donations have been made from Jason Brannigan, Ann Zell’s daughter, John Lynch, Organise!, Sean Matthews, Mateo Loco and Mark Hewitt.

The first Just Books premises in Winetavern Street, Belfast ran a short-lived library along with running a bookshop, café and numerous other events. By the beginning of the 90s a small anarcho-syndicalist group called Organise! had started to build up a pamphlet library a pamphlet library in Belfast, transferred from members in Ballymena to Belfast, which formed the start of a collection. The volume and breadth of the library grew with numerous donations over the years, supplemented by stock left after the closure of Just Books Winetavern Street premises and by the rescue of a number of books consigned to skips by Queens University. By the time the Berry Street premises opened, there were hundreds of titles. While there, and subsequently in Berry Street they operated a publicly accessible library and reading room - a quiet space to study and carry out research with free internet access. The library quickly outgrew the space we had for it. Starting with hundreds of books and pamphlets and there are now over 4000 titles, which need a new, bigger home. A small selection of these titles is included in The Library of Common Knowledge as part of Common or Garden at Catalyst Arts.

Victoria Brunetta & Kate O’Shea (Durty Books)

Durty Books is an independent publishing house by graphic designer Victoria Brunetta and artist Kate O’ Shea. It provides a critical space for voices who challenge and build alternatives to capitalist hegemony.


The first release is entitled Durty Words:

Durty Words is an invitation to make a space for dialogue, solidarity, resistance and creation through the medium of print. In 2016, we began  the journey of making this book by asking people to respond to the  relevance of Anarchist thought today. The title alludes to the fact that  anarchism, along with other theories and practices that seek  alternatives to capitalism, are often misunderstood. There are fractures  within how we organise for a better world; it is important to recognise  these, and therefore we set out to create a space for debate that is  built on respect. By bringing together 134 contributors from different  backgrounds from all over the world, we aim to begin to map the  resonances and dissonances across diverse social movements. In this time  of great social injustice, protest is necessary, but there is more to  resistance than protest. We are interested in the space that opens up  when we create a platform for building alternatives to that which we  protest.”


The second release of Durty Books is Direct Democracy, Context, Society, Individuality by Yavor Tarinski, edited by Eve Olney:

 “If social activism is to realistically take on ‘the question of power’  it must be carried out from a knowing ‘holistic’ assault on all social  spheres of society. This is the challenging premise that Yavor Tarinski  proposes in this very timely ‘provocation to action’, Direct Democracy:  Context, Society, Individuality. Tarinski traces the philosophical and  political reasoning of works from Cornelius Castoriadis, Murray  Bookchin, and others, in an almost pragmatically presented case for a  radical direct democratic ‘organizational basis of our society’. He  applies a considered focus on the ‘contextuality’ of historical as well  as existing examples of direct democracy as ‘tests’ to his argument that  explicitly recognizes the complex interrelationship between the  individual and society. The book concludes with an open-ended sense of  persistence in realizing the kinds of institutions we need to  reinstitute and collectively claim power over.” Eve Olney.


Aidan Wall

Aidan Wall is an artist, writer, musician, and game designer from Dublin who lives in Amsterdam. They finished a Master's Degree in Critical Studies at the Sandberg Instituut, Amsterdam in 2019, where they were a research fellow. Aidan runs the small press Rotted Cavern, which focuses on odd tales, essayistic glimpses, and thoughtful tabletop experiences. Their most recent publication Their Boolean Drift is a work of fiction about humanity's relationship to two para-human entities: artificial intelligences and landlords.


Fiona Woods

Fiona Woods works with aesthetics and critical spatial practice, often in a co-productive capacity with others. She employs social, public and institutional circuits to explore ideas of what we have 'in common'. Her work The Laboratory of Common Interest (2019) took the form of a 13-day event-space organised to coincide with the 12 day centenary of the Limerick soviet. The work featured collaborative actions and performances, including a temporary ‘currency’ project operating across the city to explore ideas of commons and commoning with a wide group of people from across the city. Her public art project, Walking Silvermines (2011), is part of the Arte Util archive initiated by the Cuban-American artist Tania Bruguera. 


Woods is currently a Fiosraigh scholarship PhD researcher at TU Dublin, exploring resistance to the politics of enclosure through a commonist aesthetics. She is a consulting artist on the project We Only Want the Earth, (2019 - 2020), produced by A4 Sounds in Dublin. She has carried out commissions and research residencies in Ireland, the UK, Sweden, Lithuania, Australia, Canada and the US. She devised, curated and produced the Ground Up programme of rural public art for Clare County Council and co-curated Yak Yak, rural/art dialogues for the Swan Hill Regional Art programme in Victoria (AUS, 2013).


Woods lectures at Limerick School of Art & Design, at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, working across theory and practice. She is a contributing lecturer on the MA Ert and Environment, TU Dublin at Sherkin Island (2020); MA in Socially Engaged Art at NCAD (2017); MA in Social Practice, LSAD (2013 – 15) and has been a visiting lecturer at BAVA Sherkin, (DIT); the University of Newcastle (AUS) and the University of Flensburg (DE).

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