Contested Site

Contested Site is video documentation of a live art performance created as part of a 3-week artist residency with Live Art Ireland. It was first performed at the “Virtually Live and Steaming” exhibition.

In Contested Site my cis-female, queer body is explored as a site of contention in relation to a barn located in Tipperary, Ireland that was once the site of an IRA underground cell. The barn was built in the 1700s, and was used mainly for producing barley and corn as well as a place of shelter for homeless workers, and travelers.

During the Contested Site performance, I create an abstract painting in black & white with acrylic and household paint on unstretched canvas. I start and end the performance by holding a pitchfork and ringing a bell three times. The performance-painting centers on four performative actions: sweeping the painting surface with branches from the cypress tree, creating lip-prints by kissing the canvas on the ground, painting circles with my homemade paintbrush, and whipping the canvas with bramble weeds. Each action was performed twenty-five times and the four performative actions totaled one hundred to mark the Republic’s centennial. 

The performance is mediated by two cameras, one camera was directed toward the canvas, and the second camera frames the overall site and installation of the piece. A more detailed account of the performance can be found on the Live Art Ireland website: https://www.live-art.ie/2021/12/29/kate-barry/ 

The performance took place on a chilly evening on December 14, 2021, and was broadcast over Zoom to an audience of about fifty people for the Virtually Live and Steaming exhibition that featured the work of ten local and international artists. It was produced through an artist residency with Live Art Ireland onsite at Milford House in rural Borrisbane, Tipperary.