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02 Nov 2011

ArtTrail Festival 2011: National Interest

National Interest? 2011, Photo Pamela Condell, model Emma McElroy, Costume Lisa Barrett, produced by ArtTrail 2011

ArtTrail Festival 2011: National Interest


Programme Launch:
4th November - The Irish Examiner
Festival Opening:
18th November 2011, 18:00-21:00
Elysian, Eglington St, Cork City,
Projects open:
19th November - 4th December
Opening Times:
12:00 - 18:00 daily

Kevin Tuohy

Various Locations including The Elysian
Cork City

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ArtTrail Festival 2011: National Interest

Including projects by: Goran Galic & Gian-Reto Gredig (Swz); Niall Butler (Irl); Kent Gustafsson (Swe); Catherine Harty (Irl); Alessandro Saviotti & Marianna Liosi (It); Aideen Doran (NI); Nina Tanis (Irl/USA); Carolyn Collier (Irl); The Truncated Adjunct Collective; David Upton (Irl), Denise Kehoe (Irl)

With economic and political issues to the fore, this year's ArtTrail Festival turns its attention to National Interest.Having posed this theme to the artistic community, the festival will present selected projects in various venues across Cork City centre from Friday Nov 18th to Sunday Dec 4th .The responses reflect concerns of the art world itself as well as considering wider cultural interpretations, uses, and misuses of these words.

Questions of cultural identity arise as being of interest or under threat. Many artists are concerned with emblems of nationhood. The Declaration of Independence and Ireland's online identity are broken down and re-presented in the work of Neil Butler (Irl), while Kent Gustaffson (Swe) interrogates the symbolism, individuality, and similarity of national anthems. Others such as Swiss photographer duo Goran Galic & Gian-Reto Gredig, Catherine Harty(Irl), and Aideen Dolan(Irl) challenge the authority of news media and self-representation. Through the prism of the tourist industry in Bosnia, MA BICE BOLJE / It'll Get Better by Galic & Gredig examines the conflict of national interests that leads to war. While some of these projects touch on the self-reflective nature of art, others address this area more specifically. Italian curators Marianna Liosi and Alessandra Saviotti will chair a panel discussion considering the current political and economic difficulties, and responses by artists to this situation.

In seeking to address the interests of the nation the importance of reaching a wider audience was apparent. This year's festival programme doubles as a magazine titled National Interest, with profiles of all the festival projects and parrallel events, and featuring articles concerning the issues raised. Writer Rosie Meade and artist Elaine Garde will consider the position of art as a cultural commodity within 'Brand Ireland' and alternative models of social economy respectively. The magazine will go on national distribution on the 4th of November.

This year marks a new departure in how art practitioners and organizations in the Cork City area are represented. For the first time the festival will adopt an art fair model entitled Art Work Embassy. Based on the ground floor of the Elysian building, Eglington Street, the 'Embassy' will function as the hub of the festival and showcase the work of both individuals and studio groups. An ongoing series of presentations, artist talks, short workshops, and guided tours will give an introduction and insight into the research and motivations of a broad range of artists. Participants include Outlaw Studios, Backwater Artists Group, Cork Printmakers, Sample Studios, Golden Section Studios, Artists on the Hill, Glebe Artists Studios, National Sculpture Factory, Basement Project Space, MutantSpace's Trash Culture Revue, Scissors Cuts Paper, Sean Hanrahan, Toma McCullim, Sarah Iremonger, Sharon McCarthy, and many more. The venue will also host the Festival Opening on 18th November, and the launch of the JustListen Showcase CD on 3rd December.

ArtTrail Festival 2011 is funded by the Arts Council, with additional support from Cork City Council, Media Partners the Irish Examiner, and other programme partners.