at The Land of Zero:
Thurs 27 November – Wed 17 December
Curated by Pluck Projects
17 heads 14 handles
MA in Art & Process studios
3rd Floor, CIT CCAD Sullivan’s Quay Campus
The Land of Zero/ MA:AP perspective, Ailbhe Ní Bhriain
I meet Maud Cotter for a coffee and she tells me she’s making a cake. She’s in fact carrying it with her, in a black refuse sack. It turns out it’s not an edible cake, but a tiered, iced sculpture in the process of being gently separated by a spoon. This is apparently a ‘Crawford cake’ and represents the institution; the spoon is Maud’s interpretation of her role as adjunct faculty within this institution, namely the role of subtly prising things open.
In real terms Maud’s role of adjunct faculty within the Crawford College of Art & Design has manifested itself in The Land of Zero, a fortnight of discussion, evolving installation and exhibition in the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork. The students of the MA in Art & Process have been closely involved in the evolution of this hybrid event, which is timed to coincide with their final MA exhibition. The Land of Zero aligns with the philosophy of MA:AP, in treating art practice as something multifaceted, in valuing process over product and in opening a space of investigation where the research, making, exhibition and mediation of artwork overlap. MA:AP achieves this over a 12 month period; The Land of Zero will test and enact it over 2 weeks.
‘The Land of Zero’ as a title also captures the position in which this group of students will likely find themselves on exiting the institute. They have finished an intensive year of MA study and are now set to enter the wilderness familiar to any new graduate; the beginning-again, without the studio space, critical debate, deliverables, measurables, supports and stresses that make up the ‘crawford cake’. It’s a tricky transition and one which The Land of Zero acknowledges and works with. It does this by providing a significant public exhibition for this emerging group of artists and acting as a threshold space between the students, other practitioners and the public, central to which is the idea that as artists we are always beginning again and building from nothing.
The Land of Zero is a model of exhibition and education not easily named and is a deliberate anomaly within MA:AP. For me it operates as an image (much like Maud’s inedible confectionary) and conjures an optimistic wilderness to challenge the confines of the academic.