Video projection with sound
13 minutes 40 seconds
Using the form of a documentary, Around is set in the future, in the mostly regenerated residential landscape of a once deprived and stigmatised housing estate, Ballymun, on the outskirts of Dublin. In the 1980’s and ’90’s the reputation of Ballymun’s estate had become so bad that anybody living beyond its periphery disassociated themselves from it. A boundary wall clearly marked the zone of poverty, drug dependency and criminality within the estate from the neighbourhoods around it.
Chodzko’s narrative shows that, after the demolition of the estate’s last high rise tower block, an archive of documents was found amongst the rubble. Handed to one of the estate’s developers she discovers that it contains the diverse records of an exploration into the affects of an existing wall bounding the estate. Despite the regeneration process (a flattening of high rise blocks) the estate’s boundary had been retained, the developers clearly delineating who was inside and outside its margins. Played with and tested by the interior community’s local teenagers the supernatural powers of this periphery are ambiguous, neither clearly benign nor malevolent. Equally, ambiguous is the developer’s relationship and response to these records.
Around was shown in Dublin as part of his expanded solo exhibition in the city, Then, along with M-path (2006 – ) at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane, Garden (2007) (a photograph of a stolen architectural model of Ballymun and script to be given to Dublin City Council’s Heritage Department and a property developer in order to negotiate the inclusion of the name ‘Ballymun’ in a street name within a new, affluent residential area somewhere away from Ballymun), and Next Meeting: The foyer of the Hagens Hotel, Måløy, Sogn og Fjordane, on the island of Vågsøy… (2007), lithographic print on paper, B2, on a hoarding in Balbutcher Lane, Ballymun Dublin 11. These works were brought together in the catalogue, Then, published 2008, (essays by Jaki Irvine, Andrew Wilson and Caoimhín Mac Giolla Léith. Edited by Rosa Ainley. Designed by Trockenbrot/Claudia Shenck).
Hole, (2007), Around, (2007) and Pyramid, (2008) form a trilogy (with Echo, (2009), as a related work) presented as documentary accounts recalling events that took place in the recent past, yet, according to the present reality the circumstances for the event haven’t arisen yet. Each work seems to be both a critique of the institution and the limitations of art whilst also simultaneously becoming, through the artwork, the creation of a community’s sense of its identity and place through myth. In each work this process is catalysed by the interference of ‘an artist’ (nobody can remember the name) who has passed through, carelessly tried to do the right thing through their temporary intervention into place and community, but remained pretty oblivious to both the positive and negative impact of their actions.