AS YOU walk around Galway city this month, you might notice some strange and slightly surreal images have been erected around the bus and bicycle shelters at Eyre Square and the Spanish Arch.
The images are of naked or partially clothed people with animal heads, standing in woodlands or barren environments, holding up signs. This is Common? by Fiona Woods, an exhibition made specially for the 2010 TULCA visual arts festival.
Common? can be seen at the bike shelter (three images ) and bus shelter (single image ) in Eyre Square and at the Spanish Arch bike shelter (three images ) and bus shelter (single image ).
The work responds to the TULCA 2010 theme of ‘Living on the Edge’ by considering and making work at an edge between humans and the rest of the world; at the edge between art images and other kinds of images; and playing with possibilities of how images are read outside the comfort of a gallery context.
“Common? considers the way that humans set themselves apart from everything else - both the material world and the animal world,” says Fiona. “Dividing the world into subjects and objects - human ‘subjects’ with everything else reduced to mere ‘objects’ - has led us to relate to the world primarily as consumers of the world and everything it contains.”
As a result images will be holding signs bearing legends like ‘Do we have this in common?’ and Fiona says that in Common?, she is suggesting we reconsider the human ‘subjects’/everything else ‘objects’ relationship, and instead see ourselves as part of a “continuum that includes all forms of matter and energy, including other life-forms”.
“The question ‘Do we have this in common?’ also proposes we shift the focus from ideas of property and private rights towards ideas of what we hold in common as humans and in relation to the broader world,” says Fiona.
The images in Common? are unusual and have a number of layers of meaning and they do not lend themselves to being absorbed in a single glance. Take the time to explore them in Eyre Square and the Spanish Arch throughout TULCA which runs until November 21.