Public messages to beam across Limerick’s skyline

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

The old Cleeves factory, where multi-media artist Andrew Kearney is bringing his new installation, Tell Me Something, to life this week. Below, a cherry picker hoists the installation
WORK is ongoing to hoist a space-age installation above the skyline, where it will soon beam messages to the public from the old Cleeve’s factory.

WORK is ongoing to hoist a space-age installation above the skyline, where it will soon beam messages to the public from the old Cleeve’s factory.

Under the latest City of Culture project, award-winning sculptor and multi-media artist Andrew Kearney is bringing his new installation, Tell Me Something, to Limerick this week, giving an historic and largely unused factory on the banks of the river a new lease of life.

Originally from Limerick but living in London, Kearney has been commissioned as part of Limerick City of Culture to make a new temporary public art work, the like of which has never been seen in the city before.

The work takes the form of a large, white luminescent ring positioned two thirds up the height of the 52-metre chimney stack at the old Cleeve’s Condensed Milk Factory on O’Callaghan Strand.

It is intended to be visible from throughout the city centre, and is rigged with rounded LED displays that allow the public to activate the work by means of their mobile phone or other internet device.

Kearney said he selected the chimney stack to “create a dialogue between the skyline and the people of the city”.

During the day it passively reflects its surroundings by means of two way mirrors, but at night the LED display is brought to life. The public is invited to interact with the installation through the use of applications such as Twitter (tellmesomething@CleeveFactory), Facebook, QR codes, and www.tellmesomthing.today.

This way each person will have the opportunity to input their own words or sentence into the custom built software, but there will be filters in place to check the input before it gets displayed.

It is also intended, he said, to urge the viewer to look on the progression of Limerick from economic and industrial stagnation to being a hub of technological research & development.

“The enticing name itself comes from my intention to create an alternative art piece that encourages metaphorically and literally the dialogue between the people and the city of Limerick, while asking us all to reassess our understanding of the city by introducing a new element into its otherwise familiar skyline,” he explained.

He continued: “Like many times in my work the ownership of the work is transferred to the participating audience, whose interaction commands and develops the final experience of the work, transforming it into an event of communal venture.”

Born in Limerick in 1961, he studied Fine Art at the Limerick College of Art and Design, and then went on to Chelsea College of Art and Design where he obtained an MA in sculpture.

Tell me Something is a continuation of his ongoing research into finding ways to connect the human experience with the built and social environment. His recent project, Spaces Building Make, at Middlesex University, London, looks at the dynamic between the everyday users and the architectural environment of one phase of the university, built in the 1970s.

The Limerick exhibition will be launched this Monday night at 7pm in the Brimstone restaurant, Riverpoint building, by the Cathaoirleach of Limerick, Cllr Kevin Sheahan, and it is set to come alive on Thursday.