Over the past few years I’ve celebrated April’s Fools Day by doing a street art prank. This year I want to do something different, so on the 1st of April 2016, I will be hiding 12 works of my art around Dublin city. Every hour I will reveal the location of each piece via a Snapchat story.
Your task is to find them before my other followers do, simply follow me on Snapchat before the 1st of April and check my Snapchat stories each hour from 8am till 8pm on Fools Day.
If you’re quick enough to find a piece of work, take a snapchat story of your prize (tag me in it @willsaint.)
From 8am today I placed my artwork work around various parts of Dublin. It was great fun and wonderful to get tweets from some of the happy hunters that found them. Thank you everyone that got involved!
I’ve never liked January. Even though I celebrate my birthday at the end of the month, January is the time of the year when reality comes crashing down after the festive season and everything seems a bit gloomy.
Which is why the folks behind First Fornight have been doing amazing work over the past few years to highlight mental health in Irish society through a dedicated arts Festival. This year I was invited to produced a street art piece for the festival which runs from Jan 2 – 12. The piece I made was about Facebook and our relationship with our ‘friends’ on social media.
In the early days of the internet we talked about how Web 2.0 was creating a ‘Global Village’. For most people access to information on the world wide web has dramatically changed how we interact. In the past decade I’ve seen the effects of overreliance on social media, I think maybe it’s turning us into, ‘Like’ zombies, ‘Retweet’ robots. More and more the need for cyber vailidation has pushed meaningiful dialogue into the background.
Among the clutered status upates, images of cute kittens and exclaimtions that there are, “x amount of sleeps till…” a single status by someone calling out for help can be lost. Even if seen, do we ‘like’ it and move on without checking in with them?
My piece is about a breakdown of Facebook. The ‘wall’ is broken and refusing to by tied to the generic status update, I’ve written by hand the lyric, “I am human and I need to be loved” taken from How Soon Is Now by The Smiths.
On Wednesday morning I installed a pink spray painted female torso on an empty plinth outside Dublin City Hall. Why? Because when I walk around the streets of Dublin I see dozens of statues, memorials and plaques dedicated to the memory of men but very few of great Irish women.
Lets break down the figures:
Of the 54 statues and monuments listed on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statues_in_Dublin (not an exhaustive list by the way) only a handful are women and even at that, two of the most prominent statues are fictional characters, Molly Malone – Grafton Street and Anna Livia (formerly on O’Connell Street). That leaves us with Constance Markievicz – Statue in Tara Street (Bust in St Stephen’s Green), “Two Women” – Lower Liffey Street, Lady Laura Grattan Font – St Stephen’s Green North, An Cailín Bán – Sandymount Strand and Queen Victoria Fountain – Dún Laoghaire (That’s right, a bust of a British Monarch)
Now let’s look at Plaques:
According to Open Plaques (a project to collect & open up data about plaques and people they commemorate) 64 Dublin plaques are dedicated to men, 5 are to (named) women.
Finally, let’s look at Dublin’s bridges:
As my fellow blogger, Panti has pointed out; “Currently there are seventeen bridges between the East Link and Heuston, and all seventeen are named after men. Not one of them is named after a woman”
Also, I have another question, of all the sculptors and designers of these memorials how many were female artists?
The first piece of true ‘artivism’that I did was on the landmine issue. I had been campaigning on Climate Change, Deforestation and other issues for ages, but landmines were different. In comparison to say, climate change which involves a worldwide effort of cutting our addiction to fossil fuels, land mines are man-made by a small number of weapon companies, so ban them outright! Countries like China, US and Russia have dragged to heels for decades to agree to stop manufacturing, stockpiling and planting landmines.
I wanted to do something to mark the International Landmine Awareness Day on the 4th of April each year. I picked the 1st of April as my planting day because if I got nicked by the cops I would use April Fool’s day as a pathetic excuse for placing dozens of fake bombs around a Irish city.
I bought 100 enamel plates and spray painted them army green, then me, xpir and D$ stenciled a skull & cross bones and the words ‘landmine’ onto them in white. I also put a sticker underneath that gave the finder facts about the landmine issue worldwide.
Sunday morning, 1st April we set off, planting 100 around Dublin’s parks and green spaces. I got a friend to come down and take some pictures. The first place we planted them was Merrion Square, just across the road from the Dáil (Goverment’s Building). We then spilt up and xpir and D$ planted some around Phoneix Park, including (outside the American Ambassador’s house and The President’s Mansion).
At lunchtime we met up again fro lunch and my phone rang, (it was a close friend that knew about this project) She said that Merrion Square was closed off and crawling with cops searching the grass on their hands and knees. I thought it was a April fool trick until I went down there and it looked like a crime scene with Police tape and everything.
So I asked a Garda (Irish Police officer) what was going on and it turns out, an American tourist spotted a ‘landmine’ and called the emergency services, when the cops arrived they told him that they were obviously not real and even said it was a good idea!