Tuesday, June 20, 2006

NCAD and The Liberties: Categorise Under Philistine

Living within five minutes walk of NCAD opens up a world of potential for browsing through its regular showcasings of student output, but I've never been bothered. NCAD strikes me as a closed, self-contained world with only morning and evening strings of boho dressed students filtering in and out of it, back down to the city centre and onto Georges St. Occasionally a mob of them standing outside its gates, provide the only hint that there may even be a bar in there that could provide the same boozing potential as Trinity's pav during those lolling summer evenings. Concerns that NCAD may be moved to UCD have always struck me as an impulsive wish from students there to slide into an expected leftist reaction against the college authorities there. I've seen little evidence to suggest the presence of NCAD adds anything to the area, other than a nice little gloss over major socio-economic problems in the area with the occasional bill board art display on its front or the randomness of a hopeless Karl Marx stencil on its gate. Anyone who turns around and starts telling me that by keeping some arts and supplies store open you are putting something back into the area must be making better use of their glue than for bonding card board model walls together.

The Liberties is undergoing a dramatic level of gentrification at the moment. Many of the old industrial Corrie style streets are already well in the hands of the market through private ownership, attracting ridiculous prices that make ridicule of their original purpose as housing for factory workers. New gated appartment buildings spring up like mushrooms in October, devoid of both character and community with court yards designed to give the impression of soical space but absence of the substance of such spaces like a playground or benches. This gentrifaction really just matches the pattern of what has been happening throughout the city, with an old manufacturing working class, that was the very backbone of the city being pushed out and replaced with a new cognative class that is more reliant on the digital hub/IFSC than the traditional employment provided by something like Guinesess.

The presence of an art college in that area strikes me as something that will be used a peg upon which to hang a vast change in the area starting with Francis St renovation around new cafes and galleries that will deplace the more traditional pubs and greasy spoon cafes in the area. Cafe's like the Pale Space specialise in over priced breakfasts consisting of eggs on over sized bread. The recent opening of a Lidl threatens the traditional fruit market there and habits of selling household essentials on the street. That means the price of some where like St Nicholas of Myra is going to hop through the roof and whatever protestant church owns it could well be tempted to sell it, depriving the libertarian political movement of one of its key social and organising spaces. Thats even ignorning the more important issue of depriving long term residents of a community centre that provides hot meals for the elderly, a creche, night classes and more.

I wonder if NCAD students have any sort of awareness of this process? For a sector of the city that has spouted those obnoxious Defastenist muppets, with a website that confirms my own mantra of never trusting those of an artistic bent that can't pull together the basics of online design. . I'd hope at least that some of them would have paid some attention to the critiques of the city as a machine advanced by the situationists. Instead of lazily chopping them up and feeding them back through the post first world war avant garde and passing them off as the teenage flight of fancy that mostly comes out of the NCAD art world. If the Defastenists were the best the press said NCAD had to offer, it truly was a horrendus moment. Having stumbled across one of their exhibitions over two years ago and immediately being struck by the idea that a child drunk on Buckfast, armed with several crayons and a po-mo gibberish generator could quickly find themselves on a par with these tools. Hopefully Defastenism was a fleeting moment, its manic end something maybe the work at the recent spate of student art shows can testify to in many of its achievements .

Gig News : Ventian Snares that Canadian based mentalist of the chopped up beats persausion will be playing the Hub in what promises to be a sweat fest on Thursday night, June 22nds. This is an eagerly anticaipated follow up to his climactic gig in the TBMC last year, coming after the acclaimed release of Rossz Csillag Alatt Sz├╝letett which blended a Hugarian classical music vein with tense drum and bass atmospheres. Aaron Spectre will also be delivering some bashment madness with ragga vocalists being tortured over spluttering breakcore beats and the occasional splurge of a grinding guitar line. This one is in the intimacy of Kennedieson friday. Support in both nights is from Herv. For those of you knowing me its my 23rd Birthday tomorrow so be sure to put in an appearance at Spectre for some idiot dancing time...

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load of bollocks....it seems to me the writer of this artical is perfectly well balanced...with a chip on both shoulders. I think that if you bothered to have a conversation with many of the 'boho'-like students that drift through the arches, you'd find that most of them are of the same point of view to the 'development' of the liberties and Thomas st. area, and i don't know if you've heard of the community projects that occur between the Fine art faculty and the people local to Cork st. It seems to me that you haven't a clue of the involvement of the students and the local community. And as for The Pale Space, it's a welcome change but certainly won't replace the 'greasy-spooned' cafes. They're offering their service to a different section of the market. I'd urge you to file those chips down and perhaps wander into the college...or maybe welcoming environments intimidate you????
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As the writer of the piece and someone who is pretty familiar with the world of student activism, the only rethoric I've seen come out of those NCAD arches revolved around the refusal to move out to UCD. Now anyone with a noggin could have figured out that was never more than a moot. Still what is interesting is how the unions rethoric there stops in the face of challenging the gentrifaction of the area. In fact that gentrifaction is contingent on NCAD being in the area, it provides the crux of the new identity that will be foisted on the area, along with the digital hub and all the rest of it.
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