The National Sculpture Factory: Burn Down After Reading, a two-day event which includes the official launch of Second Culture Press. With among others; Fred Dewey, Taf Hassam (DAI, 2010), Janine Armin, Megs Morley and international initiatives such as Cooperativa Cráter Invertido

27.03.15 | tag: Cork

Guests: Fred Dewey (US), Jiří Kocian (CZ), Megs Morley (IRE), The Azorean Project (Unknown)

Participating Initiatives: The Arbour Lake Sghool (Calgary, CA), Cooperativa Cráter Invertido (Mexico City, MX), Dirt Palace (Providence, US), Eastern Daze (Prague, CZ), Green Papaya Art Projects (Quezon City, PH), The Institute for Wishful Thinking (New York, US), Mexicali Rose (Pueblo Nuevo, MX), OCCII (Amsterdam, NL), The Side Room (Amsterdam, NL), TEOR/éTica (San José, CR), Triple Candie (Philadelphia, US)

Saturday 28 March 2015

6:00pm –11:00pm

Sunday 29 March 2015

12:00pm –7:00pm

National Sculpture Factory
Albert Road, Cork City, Ireland

The National Sculpture Factory is pleased to announce the two-day event, Burn Down After Reading by Second Culture Press, a weekend of talks, music and discussions, exploring the value of independent initiatives.

Moving away from the ‘quantifying’ value mechanisms of economics, in favour of a more experiential approach, the project seeks to look at how the independent cultural sphere is not only crucial to creative processes, but also a form of civic engagement, providing and encouraging the reflection necessary for any kind of democratic society we might aspire to.

The weekend also serves as the official launch of Second Culture Press, a new independent publisher, presenting a series of publications featuring contributions from initiatives from around the world, developed by NSF Im/Plant Taf Hassam, together with writer Janine Armin and designer Marius Jopen of the design activist group The Foreign Legion.

Opening on Saturday 28 March at 6.00pm, the evening begins with a presentation of Second Culture Press publications, followed by talks with special invited guests: writer and activist Fred Dewey (US) on rethinking public space; scholar Jiří Kocian (CZ) on Charter 77 and musicians of the underground in former Czechoslovakia; and artist and independent curator Megs Morley (IRE) on the history and present situation facing artist-led initiatives in Ireland. The evening opens and closes with music by The Azorean Project (Unknown).

On Sunday 29 March the factory is open from 12:00pm–7:00pm functioning as a café and reading lounge where visitors can come and take time with the books. A series of talks and reading groups run in parallel, concluding with the official Ireland launch of Fred Dewey’s The School of Public Life (Errant Bodies Press, 2014) at 5:00pm.

All events are free and seats will be available on a first come first served basis. Limited capacity, there is no booking for this event. For both days there will be a free café & bar, donations welcome. All events will be held on the Factory floor so dress appropriately (it may be cold).

Burn Down after Reading is supported by The Arbour Lake Sghool, Cooperativa Cráter Invertido, Dirt Palace, Eastern Daze, Green Papaya Art Projects, The Institute for Wishful Thinking, Mexicali Rose, OCCII, The Side Room, TEOR/éTica, Triple Candie, Second Culture Press, the NSF Im/plants Programme, Arts Council Of Ireland, Cork City Council, and Charles University, Prague. The Im/Plants programme was part funded by the Arts Office at Cork City Council Project Award 2014.



Saturday 28th March 2015

National Sculpture Factory
Albert Road, Cork City, Ireland

6:00pm—The Azorean Project (Unknown)—& 10:30pm

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6:00pm—Second Culture Press Launch

Second Culture Press is a new independent publisher produced by artist Taf Hassam, writer Janine Armin and designer Marius Jopen of the design activist group The Foreign Legion. The series, Burn Down After Reading, explores the contexts, strategies and inspirational literature that have helped shape independent initiatives the world over. It builds on the theoretical concept of The Parallel Polis first published as samizdat [self-published/publication] by Czech ‘dissident’ Václav Benda in 1977. The text, written at the height of the ‘normalization process’ in former Czechoslovakia, was a philosophical call to his fellow ‘dissidents’ to abandon hope that protest could change the repressed social, economic and political institutions under the authoritarian regime. He instead urged the creation of new ‘parallel structures’ that would be more responsive to human needs and which might someday supplant the existing corrupt ones. The press takes up these ideas in books available for free download and home assembly.

7:00pm—Jiří Kocian (CZ)

Musicians of the Underground: From Second Culture to Charter 77

It is practically impossible to not come across 'Charter 77' in learning the history of Czechoslovakia in the 1970s. Perceived as a symbolic pinnacle of Czech ‘dissident’ struggle for human rights against the oppression of the post-1968 ‘normalization’ regime, the actual form, content and background of this exceptional oppositional upheaval are nevertheless gradually being blurred over the course of time. At the very moment of its formation, previously heterogeneous groups of intellectuals and ‘second culture’ artists and musicians constituted a common platform to express their disapproval with omnipresent maltreatment, and to instead be heard. Despite the undeniable value of such an achievement, difficult daily survival and the necessity to find the ‘space’ to live outside seemingly unshakeable official structures gave birth to Václav Benda’s idea of a functional ‘parallel polis’. As idealistic as it might have been, it inspired and somehow predicted the way the Czechoslovak Communist regime ended twelve years later: a rigid structure of coercion that pushed people’s lives outside and collapsed into its own emptying core.

Jiří Kocian is a research fellow and a PhD candidate at the Institute of International Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, Prague. His main research area encompasses topics of communism, post-communism, identities and ethno-national relations in post-communist Europe. He has participated in various research projects with published results, such as National Minorities in Socialist Yugoslavia, Post-war Reconstruction of Jewish Communities in the Eastern Europe or Populism in the Time of Crisis. He is currently pursuing his long-term interest of merging the ‘arts’ and ‘academy’ on a common platform in Prague.

8:00pm—Megs Morley (IRE)

Collaboration and Resistance: A Troubled Past of Artist-led Initiatives in Ireland

The word collaboration means working with others toward a common or shared benefit; it can also be interpreted as colluding with an occupying enemy. Double-meanings are implicit in acts of resistance to a particular power, force, policy or regime. Looking at the history of Irish artist-led and self-organised initiatives and their troubled pasts, Megs Morley exposes these contradictory moments of cooperation and retaliation, misrecognition and recognition. In so doing she strikes at a critical understanding of what such organisations face today.

Megs Morley is an artist and independent curator whose projects primarily deal with how specific social and political situations are represented in art, and with strategies of artistic resistance that include self-organisation, intervention and collectivism. She is the curator of the Artist-led Archive, a project documenting over 80 Irish artist-initiatives, and was the 2014 Curator in Residence for Galway city where she developed a new public research programme titled The Para Institution.


9:30pm—Fred Dewey (US)

Discovering and Taking Back Our Public Life

Drawing on two decades of interventions in politics and culture, Fred Dewey discusses his personal efforts to rethink and establish public life in Los Angeles—and recently Berlin. How can we answer the falsehoods of economics, parties and a new slavery of constructed powerlessness? How might we reconsider and secure public space and culture given conditions of coercion and the hollowing out of our every experience, word and effort? Why is public life not ours? How might initiatives revive and reflect what is ours and resist the neutralisation of appearance and power? Can the Czechs' discoveries, in Charter 77 and elsewhere, point to a real public life? In reimagining ‘the polis’, what would a resisting and protective culture be? Could it place our lives at the center of the public, and in time, replace empty regimes? What might thinking and practice suitable to this action be?

Fred Dewey is a writer, activist, teacher, editor/publisher, curator and co-founder of the Neighbourhood Councils Movement in Los Angeles. He directed the public space for poetry, art, sound work, publishing, and debate, Beyond Baroque Literary / Arts Center in Los Angeles from 1995–2010 and has edited, published and designed over twenty books and anthologies. He currently teaches in Berlin where he uses reading out loud methods to disseminate the work of Hannah Arendt in the public realm, and is on the graduate fine art faculty at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California.

Sunday 29th March 2015
National Sculpture Factory
Albert Road, Cork City, Ireland.

12:00pm—Open all day, café and reading lounge.

2:00pm—The Parallel Polis (1977) by Václav Benda

Reading Group with Janine Armin, Taf Hassam, Fred Dewey, Jiří Kocian and Megs Morley. Václav Benda’s The Parallel Polis is arguably one of the most important texts of the pre-Velvet Revolution years, as was Havel’s The Power of the Powerless, yet it is near impossible to find in the so-called West. This translation, which appears in Civic Freedom in Central Europe: Voices from Czechoslovakia (1991) edited by H. Gordon Skilling and translated by Paul Wilson, was transcribed from the Libri Prohibiti archive in Prague, Czech Republic.

5:00pm—Book Launch: The School of Public Life (2014) by Fred Dewey

Live reading and discussion with Fred Dewey on his new book The School of Public Life (Errant Bodies Press, 2014). Through manifestoes, lectures, letters, and experimental texts, the book chronicles one person's efforts to secure a space for public reality, culture, appearance and power. Working from the examples of writers Hannah Arendt, John Berger, and Charles Olson, activists Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr., and examples drawn from history such as the 1992 L.A. riots, Black Mountain College, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and 19th century slavery and its successor forms, Dewey's account of life experiences and thinking as public gesture proposes a new kind of school, one powerful enough to address all our conditions—a school for the people and their life.

The School of Public Life is the fourth issue of the new book series Doormats published by Errant Bodies Press. The series aims at "contributing to the now, addressing issues that are present and that demand presence."


Im/Plants is a new National Sculpture Factory programmatic strand conceived to allow the NSF to work with a wider range of artists and researchers, while opening up the organisation to unexpected ideas, provocations and practices.

The five participants are Amsterdam based artist and organiser Taf Hassam; Poka Yio, artist and co-director of the Athens Biennial; Callan-based independent artists and curators Rosie Lynch and Hollie Kearns; and Fiona Woods, artist, curator and lecturer at LSAD.

These participants are implanted for a 3-month period and are responding in various ways to the specificity of the National Sculpture Factory in its various guises as an institution, a resource, a network of relations and a production facility.