Splendid Isolation - Wood, bolts and screws 2008

Splendid Isolation was produced while on the Artist Residency Program at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in early 2008 in direct response to the function and space of the Museum. Since then it has been exhibited in a number of shows including City of Ideas, EV+A (where it was awarded a Prize by the Internationally renowned curator and critic Hou Hanru) and the Dictatorship of the Majority - Sculpture Quadrennial in Riga.

Morals reformed - health preserved - industry invigorated - instruction diffused - public burdens lightened - all by a simple idea in Architecture! Jeremy Bentham.    "

The 18th century utopian philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, had a concept of design called a Panopticon, which would allow an observer to view all prisoners without the prisoners being able to tell if they are being observed or not, thus conveying a sentiment of an invisible omniscience. In his own words, Bentham described the Panopticon as "a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example". In the 1930's, in an effort to define the borders of a modern Israel the Jewish settlers devised The "Homa Umigdal or Wall and Tower settlements. It was the first expression of the Jewish native architectural tradition known as Adrikhalut. This architectural phenomenon was initiated and conducted almost without architects, in the service of political objectives. The system was based on a hasty construction of a wall made of prefabricated wooden moulds filled with gravel and surrounded by a barbed wire fence. All in all, the enclosed space formed a 35x35 meter yard. In the centre a 12-meter high, prefabricated wooden tower commanded the view of the surrounding area. 

 

 

Splendid Isolation consists of a tower replicating the ones used by the Jewish Settlers and is approximately 8 meters tall. The Tower works on many different levels. While at the same time it functions as an architectural structure it also examines the role of monumental sculpture as a form of celebration utilized throughout cities. It is rooted in the history of Imperialism and Colonisation throughout the world. It relates not only to the process in which cities are initiated but also to the modern phenomenon of 24-hour surveillance within modern society and our acceptance for such a need. While the tower itself has an obvious use/value it also incorporates a symbolism relating to historical representation in both social and artistic associations, which can be seen to be reflective of many different cultures and civilizations.