March 26, 2019

Garrett Phelan
FREE THOUGHT FM, The Artist's Eye: Sé Merry Doyle

The Douglas Hyde Gallery

Garrett Phelan, FREE THOUGHT FM, production image. Courtesy of the artist, 2019.

The Douglas Hyde Gallery is proud to present a radical new project entitled FREE THOUGHT FM by artist Garrett Phelan. FREE THOUGHT FM inter­rogates the notion of "free thought" in one of Ireland’s major cultural and educational settings, The Douglas Hyde Gallery in Trinity College Dublin. It uses the gallery as a public space, a bastion of free expression, conversation, thought and communication, but will also spread far beyond its walls.

At the heart of FREE THOUGHT FM is a 30-day live broadcast of conversations in the gallery between the artist Garrett Phelan, invited free thinkers and members of the public. These conversations will open up the critical and often hidden issues of class inequality and inequality of access to education in the Dublin region.

FREE THOUGHT FM is inspired by local and societal issues of class, race and gender. This project specifically looks at access to education, exploring class inequality. A recurrent theme of this structural inequality is a systematic lack of access to institutional resources and platforms for expression.

FREE THOUGHT FM is broadcasting live from the DHG from Monday March 25 until Tuesday April 23, 2019 on 105.2FM (Greater Dublin area only), and nationally/internationally online at FREE THOUGHT FM, the exhibition, runs until Saturday May 25, 2019.

Engage with FREE THOUGHT FM by: visiting The Douglas Hyde Gallery, listening via or tuning in to FM105.2, or engaging on Facebook and Instagram at FreeThoughtFM.

FREE THOUGHT FM is supported through the Arts Council’s Making Great Art Work - Open Call (2018), an initiative which funds ambitious, one-off artistic projects by some of Ireland’s best artists and arts organisations.

Garrett Phelan is one of Ireland’s leading visual artists who continues to break barriers of form and engagement. Over the past twenty five years, Phelan has realised incredibly ambitious and deeply engaging projects in diverse contexts, ranging from a sprawling installation in a deserted council flat in the north inner city (NOW:HERE, 2003) to the co-ordinated ringing of the bells of Christchurch and St Patrick’s Cathedrals across the city as part of New Faith Love Song (2012). HEED FM (2016), a 28-day anonymous sound broadcast portrait of 18–25 year olds from all backgrounds, presented recordings made over an eight-month period with a generation whose opinions and beliefs are rarely heard in the public domain. Most recently, Phelan realised THE HIDE PROJECT as a continuous permanent commission by Fingal County Council. These groundbreaking site-specific projects across locations, form and audiences have been combined with key institutional projects nationally and internationally at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the 11th Lyons Biennial and Manifesta 5 (2004).

The Artist's Eye: Sé Merry Doyle
Alongside FREE THOUGHT FM, the DHG is pleased to continue its series of invited solo exhibitions in Gallery 2, titled The Artist’s Eye. In the sixth instalment in this series, Phelan has invited film and documentary maker Sé Merry Doyle to show material from his 1983 observational documentary Looking On, which tracks a small Dublin community's efforts to negotiate issues of housing and urban development with Dublin Corporation, through the vehicle of an arts festival.

Sé Merry Doyle is a documentary filmmaker, with much of his work focusing on Dublin and its inhabitants. Merry Doyle’s most personal film, Alive Alive O – A Requiem for Dublin (2001) follows the plight of Dublin’s street traders as the scourge of heroin and an onslaught of commercialism destroy their fragile culture. Merry Doyle’s feature documentary John Ford – Dreaming the Quiet Man (2010) screened in festivals worldwide and was awarded Best European Documentary for the AFI Best of Europe season. Other works by Merry Doyle include: Lament for Patrick Ireland (2010); Jimmy Murakami – Non-Alien (2010); Patrick Kavanagh – No Man’s Fool (2004); and James Gandon – A Life (1996).

With special thanks to IFI Irish Film Archive/Cartlann Scannán na hÉireann.

For further information and images, contact Rachel Donnelly at the DHG at rachel.donnelly [​at​]

The Douglas Hyde Gallery is jointly supported by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and Trinity College Dublin.

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