Murder Machine – Group Show

Ormston House, Limerick City, Ireland
16 Apr 2016 - 17 Jul 2016

Murder Machine – Group Show

The Otolith Group, One out of Many Afrophilias (detail), 2014. Courtesy: the artist

Ormston House, in partnership with EVA International and Making Histories Visible, announces Murder Machine, a project curated by Christine Eyene in collaboration with Ormston House. The exhibition opens on Saturday 16 April 2016, 12 – 2.00 pm.

Education should foster; this education is meant to repress. Education should inspire; this education is meant to tame. Education should harden; this education is meant to enervate.

– Pádraig H. Pearse (1916)

Murder Machine revisits thoughts and writings by Irish linguist and activist Pádraig Pearse (1879-1916), one of the leading figures of the Easter Rising, who voiced criticism against the English educational system imposed on Ireland. In his eponymous pamphlet The Murder Machine (January 1916), compiling articles and notes dated between 1912 and 1914, Pearse spoke of a system devised “for the debasement of Ireland”. He described it as a system doing “violence to the elementary human rights of Irish children” and compared it to slave education.

His criticism echoed many of the concerns expressed by leading African intellectuals and anti-colonial activists who challenged the effects of colonisation on African cultures. In South Africa for instance, the usage of European languages in the formation of African modernity quickly became a matter of debate. This was, for instance, the case of the New African Movement (1860s-1960s) that championed the cause of African languages. The iconic Heinemann African Writers Series launched with Chinua Achebe’s seminal novel Things Fall Apart (1958) was not spared such questioning about vernacular languages. In a similar vein, of the Négritude movement that emerged in 1930s Paris, South African writer, activist and educationist Ezekiel Mphahlele once asked: “is African writing in French not French literature?”

Murder Machine brings together Ceara Conway (Ireland), George Hallett (South Africa), Linda O’Keeffe (Ireland/UK), The Otolith Group (UK) and Rusangano Family: God Knows, MuRli and mynameisjOhn (Zimbabwe/Togo/Ireland) for an interactive display and a series of monthly public interventions around language, text and literature across histories, geographies and political contexts, through art pieces, performances and archival material previously unseen in Ireland.


Opening: Saturday 16 April, 12 – 2pm,

Curator Christine Eyene will give a tour of the exhibition at 1 pm and introduce the work of The Otolith Group and George Hallett. This will be followed by a live performance by Ormston House artist-in-residence Ceara Conway. Entitled DUBH, a dramatic reinterpretation of Roisín Dubh (Dark Rosaleen) – the symbolic poem marking the end of Gaelic Ireland – this new piece is produced by Limerick-based DJ Deviant. The performance begins at 1.30, sharp!

Also programmed as part of Murder MachineLinda O’Keeffe will premiere a newly created sound piece responding to 19th and 20th century Irish Independence movements through two key texts: The Irish Declaration of Independence and Pádraig Pearse’s The Murder Machine (12 May)Rusangano Family will host an informal, interactive workshop looking at the creative processes involved in writing, recording and producing their new album Let the Dead Bury the Dead (2 June).

Murder Machine is presented at Ormston House in partnership with EVA International and Making Histories Visible as part the Federation of arts organisations and institutions responding to the curatorial concept of Ireland’s Biennial 2016: Still (the) Barbarians.

Ormston House
9-10 Patrick Street
Limerick City
V94 V089


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