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Intimate Economies

Sarah Browne | Artist in residence September-October 2009


On residency in Vaasa during September and October, Sarah Browne is researching the production of muscha (moonshine). She is also developing a new film work that deals with natural and bodily metaphors, particularly ideas of love, control and intoxication used to discuss moments of crisis and breakdown within capitalism and ’the economy’. The result of the research will be shown in an exhibition at Kuntsi museum of modern art in Vaasa next year.

Browne’s research-based practice addresses this notion of ‘the economy’ as the dominant metaphor for contemporary social and political relations, and attempts to locate, create and value alternative interactions within these existing systems. She is concerned with the creation or documentation of intentional economies and temporary ‘communities’. These small-scale gatherings tend to form and be formed by forces of intention or desire, and are typically influenced by emotional affects. She often works on a domestic scale, using amateur, craft or semi-professional technologies such as upholstery, knitting, flower-pressing, carpet-knotting and film-making (super 8 and 16mm).

On 22nd October, Browne hosted a film screening of Bob Quinn’s Poitín in the Platform residency studio. (Poitín is the Irish equivalent of moonshine/ muscha). The choice of film is linked to her research into illicit alcohol production, relationships between economy and place, and pseudo/ethnographic film. Widely regarded as a classic of Irish cinema, this is also the first film made in the Irish language (English subtitles).

Recent exhibitions and commissions include the Irish Pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale, with Gareth Kennedy and Kennedy Browne; Noughties but Nice, Twenty First Century Irish Art, Limerick City Gallery and touring (both 2009); A Romantic Interlude, commissioned for New Sites, New Fields, Leitrim Sculpture Centre (2008); A Model Society, solo exhibition at the LAB, Dublin; and Sweet Futures, commissioned for Visualise Carlow (both Ireland, 2007).


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