Maurice O’Connell and Brian Connolly (aka Desert Rats), durational performance drawing a red dotted line around the Temple Bar district in Dublin city centre (1994), commissioned by Jobst Graeve, National Irish Visual Arts Library, Artsource Collection © the artists.

Aftereffects and Untold Histories, Politics and Spaces of Performance since the 1990s was a research project and five-week online events programme running from 15th April to 15th May 2021, commissioned by the National College of Art and Design (NCAD).

The Aftereffects and Untold Histories programme of discussions, conversations and performances examined the intersections of politics and performance in Europe in the 1990s as well as their legacies today.

The Good Friday Agreement, the end of communist rule in Eastern Europe, civil war in Yugoslavia, and the rise of populist nationalism as well as campaigns for gender rights and AIDS activism shaped a turbulent period, and often formed the context for critical and creative performance practices. New affinities between artists formed across the entire continent, and new artist-led spaces and institutions were launched too. 

Yet this is not a fixed or even well-understood history, and so the Aftereffects and Untold Histories programme gathered new knowledge and reflections on performance. As part of this project, NCAD commissioned a series of in-depth interviews with practitioners from Ireland including Brian Hand, Pauline Cummins and Sandra Johnston. Aftereffects and Untold Histories also brought together scholars from across Europe as well as performance artists from different generations. All participants – including the public - were invited to share their experiences and perspectives.

Programme events were live, free and open for all to attend and recordings of many of the talks and performances are available online. They can be viewed by clicking through to the weekly event details in the schedule below or on the left.

The Aftereffects and Untold Histories programme was a partnership between NCAD, the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) and the National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL). Aftereffects and Untold Histories is part of NCAD’s contribution to the EU funded L’Internationale project Our Many Europes. L’Internationale is a network of major museums and education partners. It represents a new internationalist model and defends a concept of common heritage that is based on interconnected archives and collections. Ultimately, L’Internationale challenges the way globalising art institutions replicate the structures of multinational powers and the streamlined, centralised distribution of knowledge. 

Contributors and speakers in Aftereffects and Untold Histories included artists, curators, writers and academics from Ireland and abroad: 

Kate Antosik-Parsons, Kevin Atherton, Amira Akbıyıkoğlu (SALT Galata), Judit Bodor, Cecily Brennan (Artists’ Campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment), Sebastian Cichocki (MOMA Warsaw), Brian Connolly, David Crowley (NCAD), Isadora Epstein, Jennifer Fitzgibbon (NIVAL), Annie Fletcher (IMMA), Maria Fusco, Sarah Glennie (NCAD), Sara Greavu, Brian Hand, Léann Herlihy, Leah Hilliard, Saskia Holmkvist, Vida Knežević, Joanna Krakowska, Mari Laanemets, Nita Luci, Johanne Mullan (IMMA), Sara Muthi, Maïa Nunes, Lívia Páldi, Sarah Pierce, Bojana Piškur, Donna Romano (NIVAL), Kateřina Štroblová, Niall Sweeney and Hannah Tiernan.

The Aftereffects and Untold Histories, Politics and Spaces of Performance since the 1990s online programme was curated by Alissa Kleist and Ciara Moloney.


Week 1: Setting the scene

15th April - 17th April 2021

Week 1 set the scene of the Aftereffects and Untold Histories programme with an in-conversation event elaborating on the context of the L’Internationale project. The discussion reflected on the research into 1990s Irish performance art commissioned by the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) and approaches to archiving performance art practices by the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) and the National Irish Visual Arts Library (NIVAL)

Maria Fusco presented For God's sake bring me a large Scotch. What a bloody awful country, a performative reading of work-in-progress experimental opera about the peacelines in Ardoyne, Belfast where Fusco grew up, that she is developing with the Royal Opera House, London.

A selection of images from NIVAL, curated by Jennifer Fitzgibbon, present some key moments from the early years of performance art in Ireland, suggesting that these years of ‘setting the scene’ were marked by a culture of experimentation, collaboration and exchange. Material selected from NIVAL’s artist files and special collections includes Nigel Rolfe, Alastair MacLennan, Danny McCarthy and Brian Connolly, among others.

For more information and to view archival images and event documentation, click here

Week 2: Artists' Self-Archiving

22nd April - 24th April 2021

Week 2 of the Aftereffects and Untold Histories programme explored the possibilities of presenting performance via archival and digital platforms. It launched with a performance by Kevin Atherton, followed by a conversation with the artist led by curator Judit Bodor.

Sarah Glennie, Director of NCAD, chaired a conversation between artist Cecily Brennan and Donna Romano, Head Librarian of the Edward Murphy Library and NIVAL, on NIVAL’s recent acquisition of the Artists’ Campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment archive, an inspirational example of the power of using culture to canvas for societal change. 

This week’s selection from NIVAL, curated by Jennifer Fitzgibbon, highlights how artists can be shapers of their own archive through looking at processes of keeping, storing, annotating, filing and preserving for the future. It includes a selection of images from the Archive of the Artists’ Campaign to Repeal the Eighth Amendment that reflect on themes of legacy and process.

For more information and to view archival images and event documentation, click here

Week 3: Art in public

29th April - 1st May 2021

Week 3 focused on performance art practices that take place in public space. It commenced with a panel discussion chaired by artist Brian Hand featuring short papers from art historian Kateřina Štroblová on the Rafani Group in the Czech Republic, art historian Mari Laanemets on performances on the streets of Tallinn, and artist Brian Connolly on his collaborative performance work in Dublin.

Contemporary art historian Kate Antosik-Parsons discussed her research into mapping performance art practices in Ireland, and highlights from her interviews with seminal Irish performance artists commissioned for the Aftereffects and Untold Histories programme, with NIVAL Administrator Jennifer Fitzgibbon.

David Crowley (NCAD) chaired a conversation between feminist scholar Nita Luci (University of Prishtina, Kosova), art historian Vida Knežević (Belgrade, Serbia) and curator Bojana Piškur (Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana) exploring performance practices during the period when Yugoslavia collapsed into civil war.

Selections from transcripts of Kate Antosik-Parsons’ interviews with practitioners including Fergus Byrne, Brian Connolly, Pauline Cummins, Fergus Kelly, Alanna O'Kelly, Anne Seagrave, Sean Taylor and others, along with related documentation from the archives at NIVAL, were published on the website this week.

For more information and to view archival images and event documentation, click here

Week 4:
Activism and the Archive

6th May - 8th May 2021

This week explored the relationship between performance art, activism and the archive. The first event consisted of a live panel discussion chaired by curator Sara Greavu and featured short papers from researcher Hannah Tiernan and theatre historian Joanna Krakowska on performance art, gender, sexuality and activism.

Artist Saskia Holmkvist and former Project Art Centre curator Lívia Páldi presented their research into active archives, followed by an in-conversation chaired by David Crowley.

Artists Sarah Pierce, Leah Hilliard and Niall Sweeney led an intimate conversation reflecting on artist-led performative practice, alternative spaces and club culture.

This week’s selection from NIVAL, curated by Jennifer Fitzgibbon, focuses on some of the facilitators and protagonists in the field of expanded performance. Material from the Women Artists Action Group (WAAG) highlights issues of archiving ephemeral activities that are sometimes underground in nature. Documentation from artist-led groups such as Black Market International and exhibitions such as Irish Days illustrate how these types of events were instrumental in creating opportunities for participation and collaboration in Ireland and abroad.

For more information and to view archival images and event documentation, click here

Week 5:
Intergenerational legacies

13th May - 15th May 2021

The final week of the programme reflected on the legacies of Irish performance art in the 1990s for subsequent generations of practitioners. It began with a roundtable discussion led by curator and writer Sara Muthi featuring artists Isadora Epstein, Brian Hand, and Léann Herlihy.

Artist Maïa Nunes presented Spectral, a new live-streamed performance in NCAD Gallery, specially commissioned for Aftereffects.

A live Zoom panel discussion chaired by Sarah Glennie (NCAD) featuring Annie Fletcher (Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin) and representatives from partner L’Internationale institutions Amira Akbıyıkoğlu (SALT Galata, Istanbul) and Sebastian Cichocki (MOMA Warsaw), looked at the legacy of institutions established in the 1990s.

This week’s selection, curated by Jennifer Fitzgibbon, presents some of the documentation from NIVAL’s holdings on the Irish Museum of Modern art and other Irish art organisations that sustained performance through institutional support and collecting. Material from the Dorothy Walker Collection highlights how events such as Rosc were instrumental precursors to the establishment of IMMA.

For more information and to view archival images and event documentation, click here

Many thanks to all partners and participating speakers. Special thanks to Aoife McInerney, Lecturer, at NCAD's Bureau+ and Samuel Hannigan and the students and team at Bureau+ for developing the Aftereffects and Untold Histories graphic identity and for their help. To Anne Kelly, Curator, NCAD Gallery and In Public Programme, and Asia Cheung at NCAD, for their time, expertise and technical support .

Public Programmes