My practice is concerned with exploring the politics of space. Much of my work is derived from a body of ongoing research into various informal accounts of place. The research takes the form of a constantly expanding collection of urban myths, anecdotes, landmarks, place nicknames and hand drawn maps gathered from various locations.
The interest in these unofficial accounts stems from a concern regarding the politics of how place is described at a local level. Recent installations and site specific projects marks an attempt to bring together some of this seemingly disparate information in a non-linear fashion through sculptural and site specific means.
For the project, 'Some Things About Belfast (or so I'm told)', I had the use of a bespoke portacabin, which was a scaled replica of PS2 project space in Donegall Street, Belfast. This multifunctional portacabin, entitled' 'The Space Shuttle' was made available to artists and groups for up to a 3 week period to use as a research base / tool in a public context as part of PS2's Space Shuttle Project. General information on the Space Shuttle project can be found on http://www.spaceshuttle.org.uk
I used the Shuttle for a 3 week period in 2006. I treated it as both a transmitter and receiver of vernacular information about Belfast. It provided an opportunity to share, expand and amend my research into vernacular Belfast. I installed elements from my ongoing collection of Belfast nicknames and hand drawn maps inside the Shuttle. Outside a digi-board relayed a new Belfast urban myth daily, whilst the Shuttle was gradually clad in posters, which told and illustrated these urban myths.
The Shuttle had the appearance of an unofficial tourist office / unorthodox site office. Visitors were served coffee and tea from Belfast story mugs and had the opportunity to peruse my collection and make their own amendments and addition. In the space of 2 weeks I met many people I collected another 60 Belfast place nicknames and many more anecdotes. One of the unexpected outcomes of the project was that my personal knowledge of the city was tested by passers-by who gravitated to the Space Shuttle as a civic information point.
All of the (or so I'm told) series of works take the form of a body of ongoing ever mutating research and dialogue. As the material that I work with is always subject to challenge and review the 'archive' is never complete, and the 'archive' is never accurate.
A book entitled, 'Space Shuttle, Six Projects of Urban Creativity and Social Interaction, Belfast', Ed P. Mushler, R.Morrow, PS2, Belfast 2007, was published to collate aspects of the research and activity carried out in the Shuttle.
Also see my recent book project, Or So I'm Told,' Aisling O' Beirn, The Third Space, Belfast 2007, Online information on my participation in Space Shuttle can be found on http://www.spaceshuttle.org.uk/mission3.htm and http://www.aislingobeirn.com/spaceshuttle.htm
Some other related projects that employ vernacular information include:
http://www.aislingobeirn.com/venice.htm stories for tourists and venetians 2005
http://www.aislingobeirn.com/dublinnick.htm Or so I'm told: (some Dublin nicknames) 2006
http://www.aislingobeirn.com/waterfrontstories.htm waterfront stories 2002
http://www.aislingobeirn.com/ards.htm the ards rough tour 2006
http://www.aislingobeirn.com/otherstories.htm ....and other storys 2006
http://www.aislingobeirn.com/urbaninvent.htm a small urban inventory 2005
Also see the online project 'A Small Urban Inventory' on http://crumb.sunderland.ac.uk/~ele/risk/riskwebsitenov06/Artists/Aisling/enter.htm