HARD/GRAFT Conversations on Planting a Commons, Ciaran Smyth and Seoidín O'Sullivan

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Including an introductory essay Future Gardens. Seoidin O’Sullivan’s Chimerical Dublin Hard/Graft by Olga Kopenkina and Gregory Sholette

and Grafting Feminist Urban Ecologies By Karen E. Till and Siobhán Geoghegan

“In 2018 artist Seoidín O’Sullivan invited me to engage with her in a critical exploration of her practice via a mentoring process where the already established Hard/Graft project would form the ground of inquiry. Over the course of that dialogical process we explored Hard/Graft as an assemblage of political and ethical commitments encompassing feminism, ecology and the commons as an alternative to the neoliberal domination of public space. We critically unpacked the complexity of the organisational structures and (inter)institutional negotiations that made up the micro political economy of Hard/Graft as a specific relational network. We considered the affective and bodily co-ordinations that came into play in the social encounters with the people and places that Hard/Graft encompassed. We also considered the subtle transformations in subjectivity, identity and positionality that the artist moves through as they navigate the ever-shifting coordinates of situated practice. Those four critical lenses: macro political economy, micro political economy, social encounters and the subjective flow of the artist were developed through the practice of Vagabond Reviews as navigational tools for social practice. In April 2019 we concluded the dialogical phase of the work at Studio 468 in Rialto. Over a series of four structured conversations we (re)viewed Hard/Graft through those four lenses in order to effect a synchronic mapping of its lines of flight as a situated assemblage of political commitments, spatial distributions and creative investments. Our work together unfolded along those two distinct phases: a mentoring process and an essay with Hard/Graft as the centrifugal point of departure. Honouring that shift from dialogue to text, the essay that follows here has adopted the conversational form. It is myself and Seoidín’s sincere hope that this framework may be of some navigational assistance for artists, activists and communities of interest more broadly in mapping out the critical coordinates of their diverse, socially engaged art practices.” from Introduction by Ciaran Smyth, p11, 2020.

64pp. | 205 x 285mm
Design: Ruth Martin