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DAN SHIPSIDES (inc. Shipsides and Beggs Projects) - BIVACCO | STAR, Third Space



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Third Space Gallery

Dan Shipsides
inc. Shipsides and Beggs Projects
27 Oct - 26 Nov


Mortar | Device video MORTAR | DEVICE HD video: 2min. (2011)

Bivacco video BIVACCO (Shipsides and Beggs Projects) moving image: 21min. (2011).

LOVE LOVE. Painted made object. (2011)

Bivacco (Plaque). Etched and painted artwork. (2011)



This exhibition bring together a small number of video, sculptural and graphic artworks which make tangential reference to each other, offering an open set of references which are rooted in experiential and creative responses to particular places.

Whilst not so noticed the six pointed star appears often amongst the visual icons of Northern Ireland, especially associated somewhat mysteriously with many loyalist paramilitary (the UFF - Ulster Freedom Fighters , UDA - Ulster Defense Association and the RHC - Red Hand Commando a small group linked to the UVF - Ulster Volunteer Force) and heritage groups.  It also appears on the Ulster Banner – the state flag for Northern Ireland from 1952 to 1973 (Presently there is no official national flag for Northern Ireland).  The Star of David is an obvious link to the grand narratives of religion originating from the Holy Lands, to which much fundamental religious belief in Northern Ireland is wedded.  Nonetheless, the star’s usage and significance in Northern Ireland is opaque.  As an icon of certain apparatus of power it carries positive and negative associations, but it sits without transparent commentary.

The word Bivacco (translates: bivouac; with its origin of meaning being “to watch” or “post look-out”) was found on the summit bivouac of Mt. Marmolada in the Dolomites.  Here Shipsides and Beggs sheltered during a close encounter with a lightening storm whilst climbing Via Ferrata (translates: iron way; mountaineering routes aided by metal wires and stemples; strategically established during WW1).  A word closely associated with loyalist terminology is vigilance: vigilante, vigil, “the price of peace is eternal vigilance”.  It appears on murals in terms of monitoring and metering threat but also links to the evangelistic watching for a sign of the “second coming”, echoing the “first coming” which was heralded and, of course today, widely celebrated with a star.

This work ties together seemingly disparate experiences, narratives and references - ranging from a creative experiential approach to art and life to Northern Irish politics and religion to pan European narratives of the Italian front in the "Great" War.  The combination of these concepts throws up difficult renderings and incomplete arguments – however they also offer fluid open meanings and the potential for re-imagining or destabilizing assumed meaning.  Underpinning this work is an experiential creative research practice which aims to articulate a socio-phenomenological engagement with place.


Low resolution gallery 'walk through' video of the BIVACCO | STAR exhibition: 3min.