Presence of Absence (2015) 

 

As I walk up the stairs, I meet a white door surrounded by tarpaulin.  I open the door and find a large open plan space with old wooden floors, old sewing machines and rolls of brightly coloured tarpaulin lined up against the walls.  And I meet Jimmy.

 

Presence of Absence explores the physical space of a work environment once populated by many people.  A few years past his retirement,  Jimmy is the only one who remains.  The work examines the traces that people leave behind and the cultural and gendered identity of an environment.  In doing so, it explores an industry, which was so important to Belfast's heritage and studies the men who devoted their whole working lives to their trade.

 

As part of the installation, 'Toke' is a set of overalls made by a worker from the space who passed away over a year ago, a few months after he made them.  The tool belt, which holds his sail-maker's knife, was made by 'Toke' in the early 90's.

Click image to enlarge

Installation; Wooden structure, phone, phonebooks, video projection (colour, 10 minutes 51 seconds), overalls and tool belt

Helouise O'Reilly

© 2019 Helouise O'Reilly