Digging the Monto: An archaeology of tenement life and the 1913 Lockout

October 23, 2012 § 1 Comment

Occurring at The LAB, the Arts Office of Dublin City Council, an exhibition will open this Thursday, October 25th and continue until November 10th.

Monto (image courtesy The LAB)


‘Drawing on the results of recent archaeological excavations undertaken by a community archaeology group led by Dr Thomas Kador, the show will feature a variety of visual displays including old photographs from the area, artefacts,  and historical census records’

The exhibition is accompanied by a number of free talks, a walking tour and discussions focusing on Dublin tenement life, the 1913 Lockout, and the proposed commemorations for the forthcoming centenary. Included in this programme on the opening night is a panel discussion titled

From the Lockout to the Rising and the Treaty: (How) should we commemorate?

It is chaired by Charles Duggan (Dublin City Council) / Padraig Yeates (Lockout Historian) / Pat Cooke (University College Dublin) / Mary Muldowney (Trinity College Dublin) / Roisin Higgins (Boston College) and the curator of this project, Helen Carey (Limerick City Gallery)

The discussion begins at 6pm and further information can be found here.

‘to know, realise and control’

October 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

‘The insertion of photography into the discursive field of management and the capitalist process of production, as a mechanism of objectification and as an instrument of subjection, is within the broader parameters of the desire of power of capital to know, realise, and control labour in its own image’

(Suren Lalvani (1996) Photography, Vision and the Production of Modern Bodies, Albany: State University of New York Press, p.139). Suren Lalvani was associate professor of humanities and communications at Pennsylvania State University until his early death in 1997, at the age of 43. Here is a short description addressing Lalvani’s work by Liz Wells from her edited publication, Photography: A Critical Introduction.


October 3, 2012 § 3 Comments

‘Brian Griffin has had a profound effect on photography in the last 30 years… he creates works of art that leave the viewer mesmerised’. (British journal of Photography)

Power: British Management in Focus (cover) (Publisher: Travelling Light, London 1981)

Born in Birmingham, England in 1948, the photographer Brian Griffin studied at Manchester Polytechnic’s School of Photography. Primarily working as a commercial photographer, his project work has been widely published and exhibited. Griffin’s influences have emerged from film and painting, including, Surrealism, German Expressionist cinema and Film Noir.

from Power: British Management in Focus

During the 1970s, He photographed a series of portraits for the magazine, Management Today. The brief was to portray some of the most important individuals in the British corporate world but which have been described as, ‘witty and slightly surreal images that subverted the notions of men in grey suits and demystified the corporate world’. In 1981, these images along with those of politicians, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, trade unionists, educators and representatives in the media were published in the book, Power: British Management in Focus

Alongside the portraits, images including interiors and exteriors like this below of the London Stock Exchange are also included.One of the earlier images presented, looking up, the photograph conveys the literal wall of concrete and glass between the viewer and those to be portrayed.

London Stock Exchange from Power: British Management in Focus

The book is further divided into sections, for example, The Directors and The Entrepreneurs, where quotes from those included act as the means of introduction:

On the whole, you can lead men but you can’t drive them: that is the secret of good management (Lord Keith).

I work very hard. It’s a tremendous nervous strain; I’m always keyed-up; I’m a very nervous person. I can’t sit still: we’re fighting a battle every day (Algy Cluff).

In addition, the publication also includes a section titled, The Trade Unionists:

Redistributing work is more interesting and important than redistributing capital. I can’t get excited by redistributing capital. I’d rather deal with the rich by fiscal means (Clive Jenkins)

from Power: British Management in Focus

The significance of the publication, besides the timing, is both its formal approach and the subject matter regarding those portrayed, embodying a visual representation of what the anthropologist, Laura Nader described, in her appeal for a critical repatriated anthropology, as studying up. The powerful are revealed, however, in such an openended regard that Griffin was described at the time as, Margaret Thatcher’s favourite photographer’. Nonetheless, according to Christopher O’Neill, Dean of Birmingham City University:

Griffin was the Tory party’s favourite photographer during the 1980s and his books ‘Work’ and ‘Power’ are the definitive 1980s comment upon the corporate Thatcher years. However, Brian saw this work as ironic…he’s very much a working son of Birmingham.

A short video of the publication can be viewed here, courtesy of the PhotoBookStore.

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