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Personal Effects: a history of possession

Date posted: 28 May 2014

Personal Effects by Alan Counihan

PERSONAL EFFECTS is a multi-media installation by artist and writer Alan Counihan.  It is based on the personal effects of dead or discharged patients of Grangegorman Mental Hospital, which were discovered in an attic of that institution in 2010.  The installation will be exhibited at Culture Box, 12 East Essex Street, Temple Bar, Dublin from Thursday 5 June to Saturday 14 June; 11am-4pm daily (closed on Sunday).
Following two years of research and development, this installation is created in response not only to the possessions discovered within the hospital complex, but also to their possessors who were in turn possessed by the institution for the duration of their care. The work also responds to the official archival records of the Richmond Asylum, latterly St Brendan’s Hospital, and to the history of institutional care for the mentally ill in Ireland as a whole. The goal of the work is to imagine life, both within and outside of the institutions, as others might have experienced it.  A great and stark cultural richness is to be found within this material that tells us much about ourselves and about our society.
Following on from its installation at Culture Box the work will next be shown within the theatre space at Axis, Ballymun, Dublin from 5-15 August 2014.
A radio documentary tracking the work’s development and responses to it is currently in process for RTE’s Documentary on One series.   For more information, please go to: http://www.templebar.ie/culture/article/culture-box.

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