International experts in Cavan for Seeing Beyond The Lens

Story by Sinead Hogan

Wednesday, 14th July, 2010 5:00pm

International experts in Cavan for Seeing Beyond The Lens

Who's watching who..?

The catchphrase 'watching us watching you' springs to mind for the Seeing Across Boundaries project.

"At the height of the Troubles, military watchtowers were common features across the landscape in Northern Ireland and the Border counties. From the military to press photography were were all under surveillance..."

Such is the basis of this cross-border, visual arts project inspired by the art of observation. The project aims to redress this balance through the art and science of observation. It examines observation in art, the culture of surveillance and issues of identity and representation.

Seeing Across Boundaries was conceived by Sylvia Grace Borda, a Canadian artist living in Belfast and Glasgow, and started in April this year continuing until October.

The project takes camera obscura as its central device to examine the act of observation in art, the culture of surveillance and issues of identity and representation. Camera Obscura is an optical device that projects an image of its surroundings onto a screen. The image when projected onto paper, produces a highly accurate representation of the external scene.

"The artwork produced through this process will engage people directly with Border cultural life and has the potential to become a landmark or 'gateway' artwork for the Border," according to Rhonda Tidy, Cavan Arts Office.

"This Peace III funded research and development aims to promote a shared cultural life across the Border and inform a potential gateway arts project along the Border," continues Rhonda.

"The Border is a relatively untapped cultural resource and the involvement of local artists together with the lead artist, Sylvia and her collaborator Keith Donnelly, brings a wealth of Border-life experience to bring to this project where they collectively represent the Irish, Northern Irish, Canadian and Scottish Borders.

"The project is also currently benefiting from the involvement with the Geo Park and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, which are both successful cross-border initiatives. As part of the project the artists will work with community groups each side of the divide to enable the process of Seeing Across Boundaries and bringing about a wider, much richer cultural experience."

This Saturday at the Johnston Central Library And Farnham Centre, Seeing Across Boundaries presents Seeing Beyond The Lens.

This will be a presentation on the history of 'seeing' and the scientific developments in optics and other technological advancements that affect the way we see, perceive and understand the world in which we live. The introduction will be by artist in residence, Borda, and guest speaker is Dr. Richard Collmann of the University Of Melbourne.

Dr. Collmann is a renowned scientist, historian and mechanical engineer, who has worked in the scientific book publishing industry and in academia for 30 years.

Borda is currently an associate researcher at Emily Carr University Of Art And Design, Canada and a visiting lecturer in digital imaging at the University Of Salford.

• Seeing Beyond The Lens, a presentation by Sylvia Grace Borda and Dr. Richard Collmann, is at the Johnston Central Library And Farnham Centre, Cavan town, this Saturday, July 17, between 11am and 12.30pm.

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