Moving Dublin

Artist Name(s) Anne Cleary & Denis Connolly
Artwork title Moving Dublin
Context/Background This project was commissioned under South Dublin County Council's In Context 3 public art programme, of which the principle component was to create time for the artists to engage with the context. This allowed us to explore South Dublin deeply, while placing it in its wider context of the greater Dublin area. The immediate geographical context therefore is South Dublin County and its surrounding areas, and the project is multi-sited; many of the sites hold emotional significance for the people that we interviewed, and others were of personal significance to ourselves. The work can also be read in the context of global questions on urban expansion, and in the historic context of Dublin's urban development linked to many factors, such as our colonial history, independence, rural versus urban lifestyle etc.


We spent a lot of time meeting and talking to people all over Dublin about their personal experiences of moving through the city, and once again the context is very wide. We chose not to limit Moving Dublin to particular social strata, but included people from very varied social and economic backgrounds, and of all ages; our intention being to paint a profound portrait of life in contemporary Dublin. This project took place in a very particular economic context, towards the end of Ireland's great boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s, when huge amounts of construction had liberated finance for culture through the Per Cent for Arts Scheme.

The funding available for Moving Dublin covered 2 years of work, the production of an hour long high definition documentary, several shorter video installations, several participative and educational projects in the community, a hard cover publication, and a comprehensive series of photographs. Unfortunately given the economic downturn it is likely that valuable public art initiatives such as In Context 3 will see their funding diminish or disappear.

Moving Dublin is at once a filmic essay about contemporary Dublin, and a collection of photographs, essays and video works produced in a hard cover volume by Gandon Editions in April 2009. The artists spent two years meeting, talking and filming with Dubliners from many social backgrounds; from school children and teachers, to writers and architects finding out about their daily journeys through a city suffocated by modern urban problems.

Moving Dublin explores the everyday world of movement in Dublin and its vast sprawling suburbs spreading out west from the coastal city. It looks at how far the contemporary world of the Dublin commuter has strayed from the civic realm it constituted when Joyce wrote the Wandering Rocks chapter of Ulysses. In the artists words:

"For two years we moved around Dublin in every way possible: by car, taxi, bus, train, tram, bicycle and on foot. We met scores of Dubliners, and recorded dozens of personal accounts of moving through the city. We amassed a treasure trove of documents - video, photographs, interviews, sounds, stories. The result is Moving Dublin; a road movie, a picture book, and many other things. The project also resulted in a collection of shorter video installations, including Luas Carol, The Life of Saint Mary, and The Observer Effect, all of which examine journeys of different scales through Dublin City."

Throughout the project Cleary and Connolly worked closely with local Arts Officers, schools and other community groups and the resulting works demonstrate a high level of community participation, reflecting Cleary and Connolly's strategy of "observer-participation" as a means of producing work with meaning. An important element of Moving Dublin is Cleary and Connolly's series of moving photographs, some of which appear in the book. Numbering several thousand, these photographs were all taken while travelling through the city using various means of transport. Conceived to examine the aesthetic aspects of urban mobility, these momentary shots taken in passing provide a powerful commentary on social and urban practices today. 


Publication with DVD and foreword by Frank McDonald.
Hardback, 96 pp colour.
ISBN 978 0948037 696

Book launch and exhibition opening at the BROADCAST GALLERY,
Fine Art Department, Dublin Institute of Technology, Portland Row, Dublin 1

On Thursday, 23 April, 2009 an exhibition opened by Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.
Exhibition Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, October 2009

Irish Times Saturday 25 April, 2009
Frieze Summer Edition 2009

The View, RTE, Tuesday 5 May, 2009


Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly both studied architecture in Dublin in the 1980s, before moving to Paris in 1990. After a lengthy collaboration with the French urban theorist Bernard Huet in the early 1990s, they developed a long-lasting interest in the filmed city. From 1999 to 2005 they produced a large-scale multimedia project, The Boulevard, inspired by the urban environment in which they live.  Their work has been exhibited worldwide and has received several international awards.

In 2006 they created a series of interactive video works for Limerick City Gallery of Art. This project evolved into Pourquoi pas Toi?, a major solo exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2008. They were awarded a two year residency by South Dublin County in December 2006, through which Moving Dublin was produced.

Selected solo exhibitions include: Pourquoi pas toi? Centre Pompidou, Paris, France, 2008; Here There Now Then, Limerick City Gallery of Art, Ireland, 2006;
Yokohama House Guests, Yokohama Triennial, Japan, 2005; RVB, Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, France, 2004.

Commission Type Local Authority
Commissioner Name South Dublin County Council
Commissioning process Open Submission
Project commission dates January 12, 2006 - January 12, 2008
Partners The Department of the Environment Heritage and Local Government and the National Roads Authority

The Arts Council of Ireland
Artform Visual Arts
Art Practice Arts Participation
Funded By South Dublin County Council
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 150000 - 250000 euro
Project commission start date 12/01/2006
Project commission end date 12/01/2008
County Dublin
Google Map Insert View this projects location
Content contributor(s) Anne Cleary
Relationship to project Co-author with Denis Connolly
Public engagement

Saint Mary's Primary school, Tallaght Village.
Collinstown Park Community College, Clondalkin
MC Teens Group, Jobs Town, Tallaght
Active Parents Group, Brookfield, Tallaght
Individuals from all walks of life in Dublin

Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Dinabird, Sound Artist
Jean Philippe Renoult, Sound Artist
Fabrice Naud, Sound Engineer
Wayne Frost, Sound Engineer

Ann O'Neill
Florian Schneider

Coilin Rush
Claire Feeley

Eileen Casey
Eleonore de Lavandeyra Schoffer
Colm Keegan
Fiona Delaney
Ann Marie Hourihane
Frank McDonald
Sarah Searson

Cindy Cummings
Natalie Grand
Emma Fitzgerald
Ailish Claffey
Mary Keane
Deirdre Murphy

Curators and arts officers SDCC

Orla Scannell
Rachel McAree
Fiona Delaney
Olivia Fitzsimmons
Sarah Searson
Claire Nidecker
Caroline Orr

Josephine Corrigan
Michelle Meaney
Marie O'Connell

Heritage officer
Thomas Maher

Gandon Editions
John O'Regan
Nicolas Deary

Proof reading
Carmela Uranga
Fiona Berrebi



Per cent for art commission | Coláiste Chú Chulainn Co. Louth

17 February 2021

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