Archived entries for Francis Halsall

PLAYLIST: ‘Out There, Thataway’

Selected by Out There, Thataway co-curator, art writer and academic Francis Halsall, this compilation is the second in a series of commissioned playlists coordinated by Dublin based artist Jonathan Mayhew accompanying the exhibition ‘Out There, Thataway‘ (8 August – 26 September, 2015), released on CCA’s website during the run of the exhibition.

‘The very best pop is about both belonging and transcendence. Through songs a sense of belonging is felt perhaps to a lover, a friend, a place, or a gang. Lovers can make their own cosmos around themselves, but so too can the partisan, tribal and alien worlds of fans. Pop is also about yearning to escape: leaving the suburbs; escaping into love; running to somewhere beyond the prickly restrictions of youth. But pop also struggles to transcend the limits of its genre. It seeks out those places and feelings that lie beyond the constrictions of its format; to articulate those emotions that will always remain sweetly unrequited and un-expressible in the forms of its flimsy medium.’ – Francis Halsall



Miguel: Beautiful Exit
The Blue Nile: Over the Hillside
Throbbing Gristle: Walkabout
The Dream Academy: The Edge of Forever
Galaxie 500: Leave the Planet
Rah Band: Clouds Across the Moon
Japancakes: To Here Knows When
John Grant: Outer Space
Robert Wyatt: At Last I am Free
Ivor Cutler: Beautiful Cosmos
Edwin Starr: 25 Miles


Stephen Brandes, Nathan Coley, Aleana Egan, Fergus Feehily, Kevin Gaffney, Rana Hamadeh, and Merlin James

CCA is pleased to present Out There, Thataway, a group exhibition curated through dialogue between Francis Halsall, Declan Long, and CCA. The exhibition takes its title from the last words spoken at the end of ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’: they are Kirk’s vague but determined directions as the Enterprise begins to venture further out than ever before beyond known frontiers.

Out There, Thataway has two conceptual starting points: first, a concern with imagining or navigating territories that are ‘beyond knowledge’; and second, an interest in ways that metaphors of geography shape our thinking and behaviour. The exhibition includes artworks that refer to terrains that are traversed through strategies of fiction and historical association (Stephen Brandes, Kevin Gaffney, Rana Hamadeh); works that imply hesitancy or potentiality regarding location and direction (Merlin James, Fergus Feehily); and others that suggest spaces that are beyond the horizons of our geography altogether (Aleana Egan, Nathan Coley). While not explicitly addressing the contested narratives of territory in the history of Derry/Londonderry, the exhibition is further animated by this context. The speculative journeys and destinations alluded to in these artworks often suggest an urgent need to think beyond immediate predicaments and situations; extreme ideas of ‘elsewhere’ that might offer no fulfilment, promising only further solitude or uncertainty.

Out There, Thataway opens on Saturday 8th August at 7pm and runs until 26th September 2015. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of commissioned playlists coordinated by Dublin based artist Jonathan Mayhew, released on CCA’s website during the run of the exhibition, and a public programme of events. Further information on these programmes will be posted on our website and social media over the coming weeks.

This exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Francis Halsall is an art writer and academic who lectures in the history/ theory of modern and contemporary art at National College of Art & Design, Dublin where he is Director (with Declan Long) of MA Art in the Contemporary World. He’s currently involved with several projects related to the theme of “Systems Aesthetics.” More details of his work can be found at:

Declan Long is a lecturer at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin, Ireland, where he is Programme Director (with Francis Halsall) of the MA Art in the Contemporary World. He is a regular contributor to Artforum and other contemporary art publications. In 2013 he served as a member of the Turner Prize judging panel.

Image: Kevin Gaffney, selected still from Our Stranded Friends in Distant Lands. Duration: 5mins 37sec, Korean with English subtitles, 2015.

The Systemic Turn

Sara O’Brien on Cliona Harmey // Dublin Ships

ACW alumni Sara O’Brien recently wrote a piece on Cliona Harmey’s Dublin Ships public art project for Belfast’s Collected. Read it here.

Francis Halsall also contributed a piece of writing, ‘Systems at Sea‘, to accompany Cliona’s work.

The Beautifully Absurd

Francis Halsall on Newstalk 106-108FM: The ‘History of Art Night School’ looks at Surrealism in art

In the early 1920s a new and bizarre style of art began to appear around the world. Inspired by dreams artists and writers began to create works of art that reflected the visions found in these wondrous worlds. Building on the work of the Dadaists, psychoanalysis, and other avant-garde schools this movement swept around the world changing music, language, art, film and literature as it went. The work of artists like Dali, Leonora Carrington, and Andre Breton continue to amaze and inspire today.

Patrick is joined by Dr Francis Halsall this Sunday as ‘Talking History’ looks at the Surrealist movement in the third instalment of our ‘History of Art Night School’. What exactly is Surrealism? What did people hope to achieve with Surrealist art? Why was it so popular? And what has its lasting legacy been?

[Image: 'Object' by Meret Oppenheim, 1936. Fur-covered cup, saucer, and spoon, Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2015 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Pro Litteris, Zurich]



ACW course co-ordinator Dr. Francis Halsall presents a seminar on the aesthetics of systems in collaboration with the Barcelona University Facultad des Bellas Artes. Two central issues will be unpacked: on one hand how theories of systems can provide an understanding of aesthetic practices and experiences; and on the other, how systems thinking, itself, can become a form of aesthetic reflection.

Organised by Anna Calvera and Angelica Castro.

Art | History | Politics: contemporary artists in conversation

Mon 20th April, 14.00-17.00 (Harry Carke Lecture Theatre, NCAD)

This discursive event is led by three artists whose practices often relate the contemporary moment in art and culture to earlier moments and other histories. Each engages in distinctive ways with the task of shaping political, historical and art-historical genealogies of the present, in artworks, writing and other forms of discursive production.

Ross Birrell (artist; lives and works in Glasgow)
Neil Clements (artist; lives and works in Glasgow)
Sarah Pierce (artist; lives and works in Dublin)
Dominic Paterson (MA Coordinator, History of Art, Glasgow University)Francis Halsall & Declan Long (directors, MA Art in the Contemporary World, Dublin)

[*The event will be followed by drinks and food in Luncheonette (5:30-8:30) with a screening hosted by ACW. Booking is essential for this – as food and places are strictly limited.]

How should we look at a Cubist painting?

Dr Francis Halsall on Newstalk 106-108FM

In the second ‘History of Art Night School‘ Patrick and Dr Francis Halsall look at Cubism, its impact on art, and its role in the modern world.

How did this movement come about? Did Cubism offer a new way of representing time and space? How does Cubism reflect the modern world of mass production, the motor car, and photographs? Is Pablo Picasso the most influential artist of the 20th century? And can we take his claim that Cubism is an art of Realism seriously?

Join Patrick and Francis this Sunday at 8:45pm as they look at Cubism and its abstract representations of the real world.


The following is an extract from ACW alumni Rebecca O’Dwyer‘s response to recent work by Dr Francis Halsall and Kelley O’Brien, carried out as part of their on-going collaborative project Beyond Metaphor, Mapping Social Systems.

In Todd Haynes’ 1995 film Safe, Julianne Moore plays Carol, a strangely disinterested south California woman. Carol fills her days by working on ‘some designs’ for her home, meeting similarly disposed women for lunch, and attending joyless aerobics classes. After one such class, a woman exclaims to Carol “you don’t sweat!” She responds, sheepishly, in the affirmative; “it’s true.” However this hint of atmospheric imperviousness is a red herring: throughout the film, we learn that Carol does not underreact to exterior conditions, but rather feels them with far too much acuity. Quickly and mysteriously, she succumbs to what is termed multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS): Carol is by all intents and purposes allergic to the contemporary world.

Read Rebecca’s piece in full HERE.

Dr. Francis Halsall and Lelly O’Brien’s lecture Beyond Metaphor, Mapping Social Systems can be viewed HERE.

Cé leis é

NCAD Gallery presents the Cé leis é? exhibition talk
Cé leis é? and Systems Aesthetics hosted by Francis Halsall.

Friday 9th January 2015, 4pm, Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, NCAD.

Francis Halsall will host a discussion of NCAD Gallery’s current exhibition, Cé leis é? in terms of systems aesthetics and his collaborative work with multidisciplinary artist Kelley O’Brien and forthcoming workshop in the Philippines. The talk hopes to create a dialectical response to questions of environmentalism, dematerialisation and contemporary practice within the specific environment of NCAD.

Cé leis é? exhibits the work of seven interdisciplinary artists currently studying at the National College of Art and Design. Artists include Alanna Blake, Lucy Bowen, Jenny Drea, Julia Dubsky, Octavian Fitzherbert, Grainne O’Carroll and Sean O’Riordan. Through a collaborative process, this exhibition of interventions, documentations, performances and experiments by the artists respond to the challenges facing the Irish coast as found by Coastwatch Europe’s 2014 survey. The exhibition marks the launch of Irish NGO Coastwatch Europe’s annual survey; which examines climate change, coastal erosion, endangered sea species and pollution.

Please see more exhibition information at
Cé leis é? is open 1-5pm, Thursday 18th December 2014 – Friday 9th January 2015. Admission is free.

Mel Brimfield at the LAB

Quantum Foam, the film work by artist Mel Brimfield commissioned by Kinsale Arts Festival 2014, will be showing at The LAB in Dublin next Thursday 11 December.

The LAB will host three films by the artist, tying together the national tour of the artist’s work, which kicked off at Kinsale Arts Festival in September with the support of Arts Council of Ireland’s touring work grant. We’ll be talking to students from the MA in Art Research Collaboration at Dun Loaghaire IADT about how the project came together. From 6pm, Mel will be in conversation about her work with critic Francis Halsall. The talk is free to attend, and you can read Francis’ essay on Quantum Foam here.

And tomorrow night, film installation Four Characters In Search of A Performance, originally commissioned by Jerwood Visual Arts, opens at Galway Arts Centre. Mel will be giving a talk about her work at 12pm this coming Saturday. The show runs until 17 January 2015.

For more info on Quantum Foam, visit

Repeat. Don’t stop.

MA Art in the Contemporary World, Public Research Seminar
Fri 28th November, 2-4pm, Harry Clark Lecture Theatre, NCAD

The critic John Kelsey argues that many of today’s most significant artists take “repetition as their starting point, and don’t stop.” In this way, the truly ‘contemporary’ artist, Kelsey says, “produces production itself” and”no longer pretends to invent a new language, but instead confronts us with the potential we all share to disrupt both the directionality and the tempo of readymade codes.”

In this MA Art in the Contemporary World public seminar, MA participants and invited guests will consider ways to critically engage with current forms of artistic repetition and reproduction, considering how ideas and processes explored in the Pull Bite Rally exhibition relate to the broader contexts of twenty-first century art.

The discussion will begin from 3 key readings: John Kelsey, ‘Decapitalism’; David Joselit, ‘After Art’ (excerpt); Pamela M Lee, ‘Forgetting the Art World’ (excerpt.) It will be assumed that all participants have read these.

NB: Places are limited and on first-come first served basis. Email the seminar leaders to confirm attendance and to get copies of the readings:
Francis Halsall:; Declan Long:

Art In The Contemporary World Podcast No.6: Foaming At The Mouth

This Art in the Contemporary World podcast is about “Foaming at the Mouth.” Declan Long and Francis Halsall are joined by the project creators Emer Lynch and Tracy Hanna to discuss the genesis, themes and success of the project. “Foaming at the Mouth” is an ongoing spoken word/ performance project that began with 4 evening events during the summer of 2014.

Download audio for offline listening by right clicking here.

Art In The Contemporary World Podcast No.5: Reflections on VAWF

This podcast centres on the issues raised by the Visual Arts Workers Forum 2014, which took place recently (May 2014) at the Project Arts Centre in Dublin. As well as giving an overview of the initiative of VAWF, contributors discuss some of the main themes emerging during the day including governance and citizenship.

Contributors: Vaari Claffey, Tessa Giblin, Declan Long and Francis Halsall.

Download audio for offline listening by right clicking here.

Art In The Contemporary World Podcast No.4: A Cranbrook Conversation

A discussion about Cranbrook School of Art and Design with Francis Halsall (Visiting Critical Fellow, 2014) and students Anthony Warnick and Kelley O’Brien. Topics covered include Cranbrook’s unique educational environment and its relationship to its local contexts including Detroit, Pontiac and the wealthy Oakland County.

Download audio for offline listening by right clicking here.

Art in the Contemporary World: Podcast No. 1

This is the first in a series of recorded conversations led by staff from MA Art in the Contemporary World at NCAD. The discussions will address current exhibitions and related critical questions. In this podcast MA ACW programme directors Francis Halsall and Declan Long are joined by curator Vaari Claffey and critic Rebecca O’Dwyer to discuss the annual Futures exhibition at the RHA Dublin and to share some highlights from 2013.

The Art Academy and Knowing – Seminar at IMMA

This friday IMMA host a seminar called “The Art Academy and Knowing”:

A seminar to explore the role of the art academy and its relationship to knowing from a range of perspectives, including philosophy, psychoanalysis and art theory and practice.This features a keynote presentation by Nikolaus Hirsch. Other speakers include Mick Wilson (Head of Valand Academy, Sweden), Francis Halsall (Lecturer, Co-ordinator, MA -Art in the Contemporary World, NCAD), Sinead Hogan (Lecturer, IADT), Cathy Haynes (Curator and Co-founder, The School of Life, London), Ian Miller (psychologist and psychoanalyst) and others.

Friday 19 April, 1.00pm – 4.30pm, Lecture Room, IMMA Off-Site at NCH

Tickets are free of charge, but must be booked on the IMMA website

What Is Object-Oriented Aesthetics? Robert Jackson In Conversation with Francis Halsall

Harry Clarke Lecture Theatre, National College of Art and Design, Dublin
Monday March 4th 2013 6PM

MA Art in the Contemporary World, Dublin is delighted to host arts writer, theorist, software developer Robert Jackson in conversation with Francis Halsall.

Discussion themes: What is Object Orientated Aesthetics, and how does it affect existing theoretical ideas about aesthetics, the politics / autonomy of art and the role of the artist?

Moreover what kind of other theoretical problems does the ‘object’ pose for artworks built using relational systems, networks and code practices; the theoretical uptake of which have tended to dematerialised the art object completely?

Robert Jackson is an arts writer, theorist, software developer. He is an associate editor for the open access philosophy journal Speculations, and writes for art blogs and He’s completing a PhD at University of Lancaster.

No advance booking. Capacity is 100 on a first come basis.

For more information contact Francis Halsall at

Mark Francis in Conversation

Kerlin Gallery in association with MA Art in the Contemporary World (NCAD, Dublin) presents:

A conversation between Mark Francis and Francis Halsall.

On Thursday, 28th February at 5pm, a public conversation will take place between artist Mark Francis and co-director of MA Art in the Contemporary World, Francis Halsall at the Kerlin Gallery on the occasion of the opening of “Calibrate’, an exhibition of new work by Mark Francis.

The talk will be approximately 45 mins long and will be followed by the opening reception of Calibrate.

This talk is one of an ongoing series arranged collaboratively between the Kerlin Gallery and MA Art in the Contemporary World at NCAD. Previous talks have featured Liam Gillick, Isabel Nolan, Elizabeth Magill and Norbert Schwontkowski.

Mark Francis’ new body of work Mark Francis looks outwards, taking as points of pictorial reference the graphic interpretations of data received by radio telescopes as part of astronomers’ efforts to chart distant zones of the cosmos. Such scientific advances in the power of perception have for Francis come to present vital challenges — and opportunities — for the practice of painting.

Francis Halsall is Lecturer in the History/Theory of Modern & Contemporary Art at National College of Art and Design, Dublin where is co-director of MA Art in the Contemporary World. He writes regularly on aesthetics, art history and contemporary art.

For more information visit:

Duchamp Legacies

Friday 22 June 4pm – 4.45pm
Lecture Room, IMMA at NCH, Earlsfort Terrace

Duchamp Legacies: Francis Halsall, course co-ordinator of MA ACW, traces the multiple legacies of Marcel Duchamp in contemporary art practice and theory. Halsall will unpack the main elements at stake in Duchamp’s practice such as: the readymade, appropriation, intervention, anti-art and identity. The impetus for this discussion is Duchamps’s Rotereleifs/ Optic Disks, 1953, as featured in the exhibition Time out of Mind.

Booking is essential. Free tickets are available online at

Copyright © 2004–2009. All rights reserved.

RSS Feed. This blog is proudly powered by Wordpress and uses Modern Clix, a theme by Rodrigo Galindez.