The Impossible Conversation

A series of public conversations will explore questions raised by the exhibition 'When I Leave These Landings' by Jonathan Cummins.

Tuesday, 12th March - Friday, 31st May 2013

There can be difficulty in encountering extreme points of view. A defensive response of simplifying and thereby discounting the ‘other’ is common and understandable. Yet, if we want to move away from conflict within a society, it is crucial that we find ways to sustain an encounter with the complexity of other points of view. These events will address the following questions: ‘Who has the right to speak and be heard in our culture and our society?’, ‘How might we become more open to entering into difficult conversations?’

Conversation 1: Art, Institutions and Society
Tues March 12th, 6.30pm, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane  - Link

Anticipating the challenge that the exhibition poses to us as a society and the response that might therefore be asked of our representatives, the first conversation is particularly addressed to the Dublin City's politicians and will try to: set out the challenges in showing such work from the perspective of the College (an educational institution) and the Hugh Lane (a city cultural institution), and explore why meeting this challenge is important from an 'art' perspective and why it is socially important for it to be shown.
Speakers: Prof. Declan McGonagle Director, NCAD / Dr. Ann Louise Gilligan, Centre for Progressive Change / Michael Dempsey, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane / Jonathan Cummins, Artist/filmmaker.

Conversation 2: To whom should we listen? Tues March 26th, 6.30pm, NCAD

A socially and politically difficult conversation is easier to close down than to open up and sustain. This conversation will try to convey why encountering difference, including within conversation is important, and that the challenge is to bear with and stay in conversation rather than to reduce any possibility of conversation by simplifying 'the other' - a challenge that is as ordinary (as everyday) as it is extraordinary.
Speakers: Susan McKay, Author and Journalist / Brian Maguire, Artist / Dr. Siún Hanrahan, Artist and Writer, Former Head of Research NCAD

Conversation 3: Difficult Conversations Tues April 9th, 6.30pm, NCAD

In considering the exhibition, one of the questions that we would like to explore is the apparent impossibility of simultaneously understanding and absolutely disagreeing with another’s position. The keynote underpinning this conversation will examine the complexity of the social challenge of facing humanity.
Speaker: Prof. Sharon Todd, Philosopher, Stockholm University.

Conversation 4: Symposium: The Impossible Conversation
Sat May 11th, 10am – 5.30pm, Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane

Building upon, and pulling together strands from, the earlier conversations, the Symposium seeks to: (1) put the spotlight onto the audience in terms of how difficult it is for us, as a society (and as individuals), to frame institutions that continue to face humanity rather than being designed so as to minimize our encounter with the messy complexity of humanity; (2) enable the audience to gain a greater understanding of imprisonment and the complex mesh of relationships that those who are imprisoned hold and must negotiate.

Speaker: Dr. Siún Hanrahan, Artist, Writer and former Head of Research NCAD

Session 1
Speaker: Prof. Rudi Visker, Philosopher, Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven

Session 2
Speakers: Dr. Aislinn O’Donnell, Philosopher, Mary Immaculate College / Shane Cullen, Artist / Jonathan Cummins, Artist/filmmaker

Session 3
Chair: Prof. Declan McGonagle, Director NCAD
Speakers: Liam Herrick, Executive Director, Irish Penal Reform Trust / John Lonergan Irish Penal Reform Trust and former Governor of Mountjoy Prison / Fr. Peter McVerry SJ, Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice / Jennifer Hannon, Probation and Linkage in Limerick Scheme (PALLS) / Gerard Roche, PALLS

Session 4
Speakers: Prof. Lisa Guenther, Philosopher, Vanderbilt University / Sunny Jacobs, Author and Campaigner

Conversations programme and symposium convened by Dr. Siún Hanrahan (formerly NCAD) and Dr Aislinn O’Donnell, Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

When I Leave These Landings

When I Leave These Landings
by Jonathan Cummins
Exhibtion dates NCAD Gallery 18th April to 31st May 2013,  Dublin City Gallery Hugh Lane 18th April to 2nd June 2013

Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane is collaborating with the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) to exhibit three film-based installations by Jonathan Cummins. Go Home (2010–2013) and Out The Road (2012– ) will be exhibited at The Hugh Lane while When I Leave These Landings (2004–2009) will be shown concurrently at NCAD Gallery, Thomas Street, Dublin 8. The exhibition will also be exhibited in collaboration with VOID, Derry, as part of the City of Culture 2013 Programme. Rooted in a simple act of sustained conversation, these inter-connecting works address the impact of extreme ideological conviction on self, family and society. Evolving from an art project in prison, the work engages with four anti-agreement political prisoners during their time in prison and for a period of time after their release and when they go home. The conversation eventually extends to the families of the men. Produced over several years, these intimate artworks trace lives lived and in so doing reflect on difficult subject matter. The Impossible Conversation, a series of public conversations and a symposium, will take place alongside exhibition and explore questions raised by the work.

Exhibition curated by NCAD Gallery and Dublin City Gallery Hugh Lane

For more information please contact  +353 (0) 1 6364390 or
Open Mon – Fri 1pm- 5pm, NCAD Gallery, 100 Thomas Street, Dublin 8, Ireland.