I am delighted that the artist Alan Phelan’s 2012 short film of my short story ‘Include Me Out’ is being shown as a video installation as part of a new exhibition at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) entitled IMMA Collection: Fragments. Here is the exhibition blurb and Camille Souter’s painting which is being used as the press image for the show:
This exhibition borrows its title from Philosopher Walter Benjamin’s comparison of the work of translation to re-assembling fragments of a broken vase – the individual fragments must come together, but need not be like each other. This could also be taken as an allegory for exhibition making, or collecting. The exhibition includes the first-showing since their acquisition of a number of recent works by Irish artists, including The sky looks down on almost as many things as the ceiling, (2013) a wall based sculpture by Aleana Egan and commissioned works by Ronan McCrea and Alan Phelan. The latter two are lens-based works titled Medium (Corporate Entities) and Include me out of the Partisan Manifesto, which resulted from IMMA’s programme of temporary exhibitions.
My short story ‘Include Me Out’ was originally commissioned by IMMA as a catalogue text for Alan Phelan’s 2009 exhibition Fragile Absolutes. For that project he had taken all of the italicised words from Slavoj Žižek’s book of that name, and used them as random word associations towards a series of new works, which are realised in a variety of materials and processes, from hand-carved marble, through to video and papier-mâché sculptures. In writing about this work, then, I decided to use the same italicised words as a mandated vocabulary for a story which might reflect (upon) and amplify certain aspects of Phelan’s work. For Phelan to then make a film adaptation of the story, for final inclusion in the Fragile Absolutes series, and for that film to be acquired for IMMA’s collection, makes for a wholly apt and a pleasingly (if not vertiginously) circular narrative logic. IMMA have even included a large reproduction of Picasso’s Women Running on the Beach in the installation (within the ‘light lock’), which will make sense to anyone who has read the story. My bibliographical notes for the text are also displayed.
Here is the plot summary from the film’s IMDB entry:
A suburban couple battle through the apparent obliteration of their shared experience as their DVD collection is painstakingly broken up and recycled. The film was based on a short story by Tony White written as a fictional representation of Alan Phelan’s art practice.
If you can catch the exhibition which closes late July, Alan and I would love to hear what you think. In the meantime, or for friends who can’t make it to Dublin, you can watch the film on Vimeo here:
Include Me Out of the Partisans Manifesto, in IMMA Collection: Fragments, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, Ireland — until 26 July 2015.
Tuesday – Friday: 11.30am – 5.30pm
Saturday: 10.00am – 5.30pm
Sunday and Bank Holidays: 12noon – 5.30pm
Last Admission 5.15pm
Admission is Free
Alan Phelan: Fragile Absolutes
Authors, Editor and Contributors: Dušan I. Bjelic´, Seán Kissane, Medb Ruane and Tony White
Price: €35.00 (268 pages, 207 illustrations)
Year of Publication: 2009