NCAD launch Kennedy Browne Exhibition

From 16 April through to 15 May, the National College of Art and Design Gallery is presenting an exhibition created by Kennedy Browne a duo composed of two critically-acclaimed Irish artists .

Sarah Browne and Gareth Kennedy are a duo who both graduated from the Sculpture Department in NCAD in 2003. In 2005, they made their collaboration official after receiving an Arts Council Travel and Mobility Award to conduct research into the  cultural practices of Thailand. A four month proposal developed into an eight month research period in Thailand, giving them the time and occasion to produce their first two works together. And so “Kennedy Browne” was born, a combination of their names “that could sound like one individual,” they explain.

This new exhibition is called 167, referring to a statistic released in 2006 saying that there were over 167 languages spoken in Ireland today. That’s how they were inspired. “Our intent was to take Milton Friedman’s absolutist and economically imperialist text and deconstruct it through multiple translations and interpretations. We wanted to highlight the complexity and the richness of a society with citizens who speak collectively over 167 languages to be the vector in this subversion.”

To highlight their point of view, they shot 37 minutes of screen tests which showed people speaking different languages. All of them repeat the monologue of the famous economist Milton Friedman, in which he discusses a pencil as an exemplary product of globalism and evidence of the free market’s ability to “foster harmony and peace among the peoples of the world.” They filmed them in the manner of a Google recruitment video to mock Google’s headquarters which are located in Dublin.

This exhibition is the result of long and unremitting work. Sarah and Gareth started to work on this project in 2007, but it took a full year to make a replica pencil like the one Friedman described . They then spent several weeks approaching the people for the screen tests and the final movie, with several more weeks needed for the editing and post-production.  Their work was first exhibited at the Venice Biennale in June 2009 and will be shown in Belfast and Paris this summer.

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