GLOBUS art installation: On the edge of my sky, part 1

Get a glimpse into the process of building and designing the GLOBUS art installation, which was on display at University College Dublin in the Spring of 2019. 


Narrated by Ben Tonra, University College Dublin. 

I think that even as we conceived the project, we had the idea that there would be some artistic element to the dissemination of the research output. This was something that we though about partly as a way to reimagine what research could look like in terms of being disseminated to a wider general public, but we also thought about how we could bring the artwork within the research parameters of the project itself. When we began to talk with Marie Brett as our collaborator, we began to realise that we have been thinking in very two-dimensional terms. Marie brought an entirely different perspective, obviously a visual perspective, but also a much more three dimensional perspective to the way in which we conceived of bringing art into the project and representing the project to the rest of the world.

I think a striking innovation was the engagement of our students into this project by trying to crowdsource images of global justice across the spectrum of trade, development, security, migration. We fed those images into the project and through various social media platforms, Marie Began to gather these images and to think about how she would create something that would truly represent the project to the wider world. That collaboration I think was really important. The collaboration between researchers, students, and Marie as the artist. Marie’s determination to bring in this notion of repurposing and recycling, and using the things that had been thrown away to try and construct something that represented what global justice looks like and what global injustice looks like. And again, pulling together the various themes of the project was really important to that overall conception I think.

I think what’s very striking to me is the way in which it encapsulates so many of the different things that we have been looking at. We have been looking at the things that motivates people to flee their own countries and come to Europe. We look at the way in which European policies, particularly in the area of development and in the area of trade impact on local economies and the way in which that can contribute either to poverty or prosperity and act as an incentive and disincentive for people who want to escape difficult local conditions and come to Europe, and then how Europe responds to those challenges.

It was really important to us to give the members of the public who would experience the installation the sense of, I suppose, hope and fear, the sense of possibility, the sense of enclosure, the sense of what you’re coming from and where you’re going to I think was really important. And relating that to contemporary European experiences was important to us. I think the reaction from those who have looked at and experience the installation has been really interesting. They’ve seen it sometimes as being very claustrophobic, sometimes even slightly threatening, but also something that really provokes thought and their engagement in some of the deeper ideas and themes that the project is trying to encapsulate. That for us has been a really important part of the collaboration with Marie as a visual artist, and again in that engagement between the researchers and our students and that wider public.

When Marie began to come up with ideas for the project, it was really striking how she had re-imagined what it was we were thinking of doing. It was a much bigger project than we had originally conceived, it was a much more dynamic idea that we had originally conceived, and it was quite challenging in its execution because of its very physicality and its very size. Marie has provided us with something that is not just engaging with the rest of the community, but has also engaged us as researchers in thinking a little bit differently, a little bit more creatively, and perhaps even a little bit more deeply about the research conclusions that we are drawing from this project, looking a the European Union and its pursuit of global justice.

The installation was commissioned by the GLOBUS project and was on display at the University College Dublin campus in the spring of 2019. 

Full info

Artist: Marie Brett

Design/fabrication: Ben Thomas

Film: Linda Curtin

Published June 24, 2019 11:10 AM - Last modified July 24, 2019 2:14 PM