Mark Curran: The Breathing Factory

  October –
November 2006

Image by Mark Curran from the exhibition The Breathing Factory at Gallery of Photography Ireland, October 26 – November 22 2006.

Mark Curran’s new body of work, The Breathing Factory, presents a timely analysis of contemporary Ireland, the most globalized economy in the world. It focuses on the working environment of the multinational corporation Hewlett-Packard, which employs over 2,500 people in Ireland.

The exhibition looks beyond the smooth images of corporate working life that emanate from centralised branding systems. The installation evokes the homogeneous and globally proliferated spaces of new, ‘high tech’ labour practices. Amidst the ambient low hiss from the factory floor, Curran presents an audio-visual projection alongside a series of portraits and interior studies. The photographs are presented in a suspended and fragile state, unframed and unmounted. Excerpts from interviews conducted with workers at the complex are also made available.

Image by Mark Curran from the exhibition The Breathing Room at Gallery of Photography Ireland October 26 - November 22 2006.

Image by Mark Curran from the exhibition The Breathing Room at Gallery of Photography Ireland October 26 – November 22 2006.

Mark Curran spent 9 months negotiating access to the Hewlett-Packard Technology Campus just outside Dublin. The project was produced over a 20-month period, with each visit pre-scheduled and cleared by security. The artist was accompanied on site at all times, and all material was vetted. Curran made this ‘policing process’ visible in the work, referencing the way that global capital investment is a highly managed and protected process.

The title ‘The Breathing Factory’ derives from recent theories of management that conceive of the workplace as taking-in and expelling a highly mobile and totally flexible labour force. These and other issues will be raised at a public seminar on Representing Globalised Ireland on Wednesday 8th Nov at 1.15pm. Speakers: Prof. Sean O Riain (NUI Maynooth, author of The Politics of High Tech Growth: Developmental States in the Global Economy), Martin McCabe, (lecturer and Programme Chair of the BA Photography in DIT) and Mark Curran. Admission is free.

Image by Mark Curran from the exhibition The Breathing Factory in Gallery of Photography Ireland, October 26 - November 22 2006.

Image by Mark Curran from the exhibition The Breathing Factory in Gallery of Photography Ireland, October 26 – November 22 2006.

About the artist: Mark Curran lives and works in Berlin and Dublin. He holds a practice-led MPhil Media from the Centre for Transcultural Research and Media Practice, DIT, where he is also currently a Visiting Lecturer in Photography. He also lectures at the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design & Technology, where he received his Diploma in Photography. Curran was the recipient of the first development bursary from the Gallery of Photography where the award-winning Southern Cross (2002) was presented as an exhibition and publication. The Breathing Factory has toured extensively: to Nuova Icona, Venice, Dazibao, Montreal; the Butler Gallery, Kilkenny and to Belfast Exposed. It will be presented in Spring 2007 at the Van der Grinten Galerie, Cologne, who also represent his work.