Portraying an imagininary business during the period of the world banking crises. A visual narrative that acts as a metaphor for any business in troubled economic times.
Before the emergence of Savia, and their call for the current Northern Ireland Child abuse enquiry. This project was instigated in 2009, in response to a newspaper interview with one of the Northern Ireland victims of ‘Institutional Abuse’, who on experiencing a further sense of personal abandonment on the release of the Ryan Report, was compelled to speak out about his intimate experience.This report covered abuses carried out by nuns, of the Sisters of Nazareth, and clergy, from the De La Salle orders, in the Republic of Ireland.
John was placed in institutional care with the Sister’s of Nazareth at the age of one day. He left the care system seventeen years later. This photographic narrative of his childhood and teenage life, was created over a two year period, when we worked together to create a visualisation of the significant places and objects, who’s memory still trigger deep feelings of physical and mental pain. Whilst I created all of the images based on John’s memory, it must be clearly understood that within the publication of this work, the final edit and text belong to John.
Evolved Habitat (Cause)
Look at any great city and you can parallel map the financial status of its inhabitants with its geographical contour's, top down. Putting it another way, when you cant afford to move you adopt or die. The same is true with peoples who hold a passionate attachment for historical or deep anthropological reasons to the location that they choose to inhabit. They evolve solutions to accommodate their need. Even if these accommodations appear illogical due to their accompanying high risk. In the case of New Orleans in 2005 it was not the hurricane Katrina that devastated the city. As it actually did not hit the city full on, but swung to the east at the last moment and devastated Biloxi . It was the backwash of water from the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain that (almost twenty four hours after the storm had passed) caused the protective levee walls to fail. New Orleans is on average 9 feet below sea level. The rest is history.
Evolved Habitat (Cause) 2011 Book Dummy
Evolved Habitat (effect)
My prime objective here was to explore the key signifiers of the re-birth of the city via its emergent architecture in parallel with its structures of defence such as the Levee’s and levee walls. These I believe will give me a visual narrative of a juxtaposed position of how people endeavour to re-establish themselves in the full knowledge that (meteorological) history will repeat its self.
Evolved Habitat 2011 Book Dummy
That said it would be entirely inappropriate to re-work someone else's post Katrina photographic essay. So here I simply want to use New Orleans as a metaphor for a global response to people’s need for a space in which their family are sheltered and secure. Therefore crucially this narrative speaks of establishing ‘home’, defending territory, boundaries and neighbourhoods. More importantly it must speak about the people and their spirit, their aspirations, and their determination. All of this in the case of New Orleans hinges on their faith or in reality their lack of it, in a wall.
Evolved Habitat (Effect) 2011 Book Dummy
Other peoples homes
I am continually struck by the ‘truisms’ contained within Abraham Maslow's ‘Hierarchy of Needs’, in which he presents a pyramid that illustrates not only what man needs to exist, but the order in which these needs must be met before others are addressed.
The first, clearly defined layer is ‘Physiological Needs’ – man’s requirement for air, food, water, warmth and shelter, etc.
The second being ‘Safety Needs’ – protection, security, order, law, limits, and stability, etc. Combined, these two layers form the fundamental structure that we collectively define as ‘home’, which is of course the bedrock for all mankind in his struggle for self-realisation.
This struggle knows no economic, social or geographic boundaries.
This phase of my work concentrates on economic migrants in India and their journey from the visibility and vulnerability of the street to the anonymity and perceived security of the slum.
For those who have been denied their traditional shelter under the bridges of the overpass’s and can not yet afford to pay the ‘slum master’, we are now witnessing the evolution on the pavements around Mumbai’s Expressway, of four-foot wide linear villages, whose architecture is testament to Maslow’s theory.
It is the Catholic Church’s doctrine that, all new born babies enter the world guilty of the original sin of Adam and Eve, and without baptism into 'the one true faith', their soul can never experience redemption. In other words, the Catholic Church has traditionally taught, that in the case of unbaptised babies, their soul's goes into a state of limbo. Insisting that in this state, the baby's soul enjoys happiness and contentment for eternity, but lacks the perfect joy of ever being in Gods presence.
They historically have attempted to balance that position, by adding that whilst this doctrine denies them access to heaven, they at least do not suffer the ravages of Hell or Purgatory.
After lengthy doctrinal re-evaluation within the Vatican, the current modified ecclesiastical position states "We can confidently state, that we have many reasons to hope that there is salvation for these babies", implying (but with out stating a change of their doctrine) that perhaps these babies do go to heaven.
However, ‘hope’ is the important word to note here, as The Church is not saying that they will positively go to heaven, but that there is a possibility that they might enjoy eternal salvation after all. In other words, they are not sure, and therefore the only real guarantee, is to make sure the infant is baptised into ‘the one true church’ at birth.
Here in Ireland the Catholic Church took this one step further, in that by refusing these infants any burial service, and any access to consecrated ground, they in effect denied their very existence. This denial, created out of necessity, the need for secret burial locations, such as small remote islands, or common bog land, and the stonewalls at country crossroads, where these lost soles could be laid to rest hidden, with their guilt away from plain view.
This current work seeks to confront the historical renunciation by the Catholic Church of the existence of these mass graves within the un-consecrated ground of their cemeteries. What were once the un-mark margins and hedgerows of mainstream burial plots are now being sought out as places of quiet prayer, and painful re-connection with these lost infants.
At any given time of the day or night, in every country around the globe, there are thousands of anonymous sales people, frantically journeying from place to place, each pursuing that all-important deal closing sales meeting.
Lost in the flow of everyday traffic, these voyages remain both primarily invisible and largely unacknowledged, yet they are an inextricable aspect of the smooth functioning of the global economic system.
All successful sales people know that the old sales maxim, 'people buy from people' is as valid today as it ever was, for they are patently aware that even in this high-speed digital age of web-based sales and marketing, the truly major sales decisions only get taken when you are face to face with the customer.
Conversely, any other work based activity that does not involve physical face time, no matter how critical it is to the final outcome, is simply known as ‘dead time’, which is estimated at 80% of sales peoples’ working day.
Through shadowing the daily journeys of a number of sales people, this body of work seeks to explore this dead time, largely spent in transitory spaces en route to meetings.
Like a parody of the American road trip, which promises freedom through discovery, here we see sales people travelling theses routes in pursuit of very different objectives. Where this constantly shifting population momentarily inhabit real, and pop-up virtual offices, feeding off the free Wi-Fi in motorway coffee shops and burger joints in their attempt to conduct commerce, and at the same time, keep in contact with Head Office, whilst endeavouring to ascend the precarious career ladder of this extremely isolating and at times desolate occupation.
Hold the Line
The office chair primarily fulfils the role of providing a seating platform for its user, however not all workers are equal, and as a result the same is true of the humble chair. If we were to catalogue the styles, and quality of finish of these chairs in any given work environment, we would find a great disparity between lets say the ordinary worker, and the owner of the company. Its clearly a case of 'the chair make'th the man'.
Likewise the internationally ubiquitous plastic chair, whilst saying patio furniture to most of us, speaks clearly of the specific roles of its occupiers when placed beyond the domestic environment. For example the roadside plastic chair in Africa, Spain or Italy, clearly signals prostitution, to those who regularly travel these routes. Were as in India, and Asia the same plastic chair placed at a point of entrance or intersection clearly suggests security.
In this later case these chairs are the seats of empowerment, bringing with them rank and importance, for the minor (and at times) malevolent functionaries entrusted with the role of controlling who shall enter their designated domain. At times, one would suspect, they might see their chairs as throne like, and themselves in the role of demi-gods.
To those with pre-clearance, or quite simply by their own assessment, those clearly ordained above them, they will bow and scrape whilst welcoming in, and giving direction. But for those, that they are clearly instructed to exclude, or those who by their own judgment have no right of entry, they will obstruct and at times rain down terror on these hapless wonderers, cutting short their odyssey for succour and betterment.
This then ties us back to my previous work 'dead time' which examines the invisible journeys of sales reps, whose first major task on arrival at their targeted company, is to ingratiate themselves with the security / receptionist (demi-god), who will in turn, hopefully ease the next section of the quest. Which is to get an audience with a decision maker (god), but who on turning out to have only limited powers (minor god), must be made willing enough, with out any sense of loss of status, to guide you to the higher decision maker (god), and so on and so fourth. The age old practice of power and tribute.