In this regard, the most interesting in its open-endedness was the installation in the front room of the first floor gallery, ‘Feedback’, which was the explicitly collaborative part of the exhibition. Various objects were disposed around the room suggesting some elusive relationships between them; a diagram on the wall introduces geometrical figures for each of the four elements, which may be found in the objects proposed: a bottle of water, a broken lightbulb, a stone, a block of wood, a gust of wind from the open window blowing a flimsy piece of plastic, figures also, a circle, a square, a rectangle. This felt like a somewhat forced attempt to bring out the forces of nature within everyday objects; the hidden processes in domestic scale.

The most intriguing aspect, however, was the placing of a chair between two speakers on either side of the room, which were emitting low frequency sounds: the chair suggested that this might be the point where both emissions could be perceived. Or not. This attempt to find the limit of a sound range, or the point where two sound ranges meet suggested an understanding of phenomenology, which instead of an inward quest of the self, would test its outer limits and encounters others. In its attempt to re- invent community, Jean-Luc Nancy proposes:

There is no original or origin of identity. What holds the place of an “origin” is the sharing of singularities. This means that this “origin” – the origin of community or the originary community – is nothing other than the limit: the origin is the tracing of the borders upon which or along which singular beings are exposed.[5]

Overall Feedback the exhibition came across as an intriguing set of proposals to explore and question, opening the way to further investigations into a relational phenomenology.

Also in September this year, researchers on the Opera (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tracking Apparatus) at Gran Sasso announced with all due precautions that they had recorded neutrinos – ghostly subatomic particles – travelling faster than the speed of light. Subir Sarkar, the head of particle theory at Oxford University, commented:

The constancy of the speed of light essentially underpins our understanding of space and time and causality, which is the fact that cause comes before effect. Cause cannot come after effect and that is absolutely fundamental to our construction of the physical universe. If we do not have causality, we are buggered.[6]


[1]    ‘Feedback’ occurs when an event is part of a chain of cause-and-effect that forms a circuit or loop, then the event is said to “feed back” into itself: []

[2]    Press release for ‘Feedback’

[3]    Perfectly illustrated by the tag line for a running Pipilotti Rist exhibition which goes: “Immerse yourself in the sensory world of Pipilotti Rist at the Hayward Gallery this autumn.” 4. Quoted from ‘Feedback’ the text by Chris Fite-Wassilak.
See: []

[5]    Jean-LucNancy, The Inoperative Community, University of Minnesota Press, 1991, p. 33.

[6]    Ian Sample, Faster than light particles found, claims scientist, The Guardian, 22 September, 2011. The findings were confirmed in November. See: []

LEFT: David Beattie, Bag, 2011, Fan, cloth, plastic, concrete, bitumen, Galway Arts Centre, photo courtesy of David Beattie.

RIGHT: Karl Burke, Untitled, 2011, birch plywood, paint Galway Arts Centre, photo courtesy of David Beattie.



David Beattie, Karl Burke and Chris Fite-Wassilak

Galway Arts Centre, 2 September – 1 October, 2011

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