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By the artist, Sep 5 2016 10:41PM

In June I had two solo exhibitions opening in two locations, Dublin and Basel in Switzerland. They opened within a week of each other and each exhibition was a unique presentation of new work. I spent most of my time during these months working on these projects.

In Balzer projects in Switzerland my project 'A cause for concern, but not alarm' included a collection of new work: Three solid stone sculptures made from Iberian green marble, each depicting Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, diagrams of Nuclear reactor systems cut out of Irish Slate stone, and a digitally printed wallpaper depicting the outside storage tanks at Sellafield that were published in Ecologist Magazine in 2014. I traveled to Basel in June to attend a launch and spent several days in meetings during Art Basel which was also on at the same time.

Ryou Un-Maru was my solo exhibition in the Project arts centre in Dublin which ran from 10 June 2016-13 August and was curated by Tessa Giblin. In the gallery we recreated a replica of the boat Ryou Un-Maru. This Japanese fishing boat was swept out to sea during the devastating Tōhoku Tsunami that followed the 9.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast of the country in 2011.

In its wake, the vessel floated unmanned and unnoticed through various territories and international waters for 391 days, until it was detected and sunk in American waters off the coast of Alaska. The installation included remaking this boat ( meters long by 3.5mt wide by 4 meters high) as well as a new film animation, 'Three hundred and ninety one days' (6:51), (391 seconds long) mapping the currents of the pacific ocean and the Kurosho current. A final video work “A dark colour I had never seen before' (12.10.) Was a silent film with excerpts of the survivor stories from the Tsunami. A primary guide for this work was the book SURVIVING THE 2011 TSUNAMI:100 Testimonies of Ishinomaki Area Survivors of the Great East Japan Earthquake, (2014) by Sanriku Kahoku ShinpoÌ"sha. And Dr Hitomi Nakanishi

a short video of this project can be seen here


My work is also being presented in a group exhibition in The Hugh Lane gallery: The Artist as Witness in Society: Collection Until 2 October 2016, curated by Jessica O'Donnell.

One of my sculptures was also presented in Portraits of a Nation, the OPW state collection in the Farmleigh Gallery, Phoenix Park, Dublin, from the 8 April to 29 May.

One of my sculptures 'This short-term evacuation' was also presented as an invited artist in the exhibition Place and Absence, in Visual Carlow. Running for 10 days at VISUAL and St Patrick’s College, in a quick burst, this exhibition celebrates the energy, creative power and diversity of visual arts practices in Ireland. It features work by artists selected from open submission as well as 5 invited artists; Stephen McKenna, Denis McNulty, Aideen Barry, Jaki Irvine and Brian Duggan.

This year ART WORKS has been selected by Annie Fletcher, Senior Curator, Van Abbe Museum, Eindhoven & Claire Feeley, Producer Barbican, London.

Image below: Ryo-un Maru U.S. Coast Guard, photo by Petty Officer 1st class Sara Francis

By the artist, May 30 2016 11:21AM

April/May 2016

UCD School of Law lecturer John O’Dowd has been working with me on the subject of Ethics & Consent (in Ireland) and sharing knowledge on The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 (1). It’s wonderful he’s also shared with me his contacts in further Irish Universities of lecturers with specialist knowledge in this area. I’ve recorded our discussions, and plan to come back to this later in the year, to dove-tail it with other aligned research.

Dr Mark Coen has been really helpful in assisting me in my research into prostitution, and I have several contacts to chase up … exciting!

UCD School of Social Policy, Social Work & Social Justice invited me to present a lecture as part of the ‘Women, Art and Activism: Creative Strategies for Social Change’ course coordinated by Dr Aideen Quilty. This was a really interesting day, with opportunity to witness and discuss ideas of arts and activism, and to question, what is, or can be, claimed as agency within artwork? (mine and others), and what can or might lie dormant? – and why? Lots of potential here.

UCD School of Sociology. I was really pleased that Dr Alice Feldman could be a guest speaker at ‘E.gress in Limerick’. This is a national tour of a film, with a programme of discussion events – and in Limerick, partnered with Limerick City Gallery of Art, Dr Alice Feldman was joined by Dr Tracy Fahey (LSAD) and each spoke about the artwork, particularly in relation to thoughts on ethics and risk. Great presentations, conversation and each prompted lots of discussion afterwards.

UCD School of Philosophy, Applied Ethics /Death. I’ve been attending more great Philosophy lectures on Applied Ethics by Dr Christopher Cowley, further examining ethical issues surrounding human death. Classes have been exploring the complex issues of Euthanasia and Mercy Killing. Loads to think about including questions of:- Should euthanasia (in some form) be legalised?. Is the Legalization of Physician-Assisted Suicide Compatible with Good End-of-Life Care?. ‘What is Mercy-killing?. Is ‘turning a blind eye’ ethical?. Both euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal under Irish law. I’ve made lots more sound recordings. It will take a while to work through these, but there’s exciting potential here. I’m also just beginning to think about the type of visuals which might possibly accompany aspects of these sound files.

What else is happening: I’ve been linking in with a Hospice about a new project potential later in the year. Also I’ve brought the film E.gress to Kilkenny (partnered with Butler Gallery) and it’s exhibition continues at The Model, Sligo. In Dublin I’ve been visiting productions by Brokentalkers and Willfredd (theatre companies using contextual materials to creatively explore issues of institutional abuse and hospice care). At UCD, it was great to attend the symposium ‘Creative Research Practices and Alternative Sites of Learning' for artists, researchers and educators, and also to see the artwork made and chat with students who were part of the 'Tunneling Art & Science 2016' exhibition.

(1) The Assisted Decision-Making (Capacity) Act 2015 brings about the long-awaited repeal of the Victorian-era Lunacy Regulation (Ireland) Act 1871 and the Marriage of Lunatics Act 1811.

•The legislation demonstrates a seismic cultural shift away from a paternalistic and ‘best interests’ approach towards persons with intellectual disabilities to a right-based approach of choice, control and consent

(March/April 2016)

UCD School of Philosophy, Applied Ethics /Death. I’ve been attending Philosophy lectures on Applied Ethics by Dr Christopher Cowley, which examine ethical issues surrounding human death. So far these have been great, allowing me an insight into deeper thinking around some of the complexity of suicide and intended/non-intended self killing(1), plus also around Dementia, and questions of ‘Why is dementia sometimes called a living death’? and ‘what is the Dementia someone elseproblem?’ (2). I’ve also been atttending tutorials, where in smaller group discussion, some of the questions and thinking are further un-packed. There’s no easy answers! – I think we end up with more questions than answers. I’ve been making audio recordings throughout, and looking forward to having time for listening and editing … towards making a series of sound-tracks as part of new artworks based on death ethics. I’m going to wait until this lecture series is complete before reflecting on gathered materials.

The Human Rights Centre Director Suzanne Egan has been assisting my research of

Human Rights and Film work. It’s wonderful to learn more about The Irish Council for Civil Liberties Human Rights Film Awards and to view recommended films. Lots here!

UCD College of Health and Agricultural Sciences invited me to present a lecture to 3rd Year Nursing Students as part of their Arts and Health Module coordinated by Emma Finucane. I really enjoyed this, especially discussing with the students about how my artwork and methodologies both do and don’t chime with their strategies and work priorities. Lots of potential.

Feminist & Gender Theory. I’ve been attending Philosophy lectures and student discussions on theories of gender, power, the body and labour presented by Dr. Clara Fischer. These are great, and from numerous topics, it’s particularly theories on ‘Feminism and the Sex Wars’ that I’m keen to explore more. I hope to collaborate with Dr. Clara Fischer, to inform and contribute to a new artwork I aim to make later in the year, exploring aspects of prostitution.

School of Irish, Celtic Studies/Centre for Irish Folklore, National Folklore Collection. I’m continuing to access some wonderful archive materials on Death Traditions held at the NFC, assisted by Anna Bale, Dr McCarthy and Simon O'Leary. Very inspiring!

Alongside … my time at UCD, I’ve been exhibiting my film E.gress in The Model, Sligo, plus touring it to Waterford City Centre, using a mobile cinema; here’s my IMMA artist blog https://immablog.org/2016/03/02/artists-voice-marie-brett-reflects-on-her-filmwork-e-gress/ Plus I was keynote speaker at the Death/Disease/Design symposium at LSAD; exhibited with the Affective Entities show at Cork’s Wandsford Quay Gallery and I’ve also been developing new research with Funeral Directors.

(1) Suicide / intended self-killing - Lectures have been exploring the scope of the concept of suicide; asking what can be classed as suicide? If a person does not strictly intend their own death, can their death – by their hand - be classed as a suicide? Is suicide right /wrong /morally indifferent? “some cases puzzle us; not because we do not have all 'the facts', but because we are not sure what to make of the facts we have. Socrates is such a case: Socrates drank the hemlock which killed him. He did not drink it unwittingly or involuntarily: he intended to drink from the cup, knowing it to contain a fatal poison. But this does not show that he intended his own death: for we distinguish the intended effects of a man's act, those which form part of his reason for acting, from those which he foresees but does not intend. Nor, therefore, does it show that he was a suicide: for a suicide paradigmatically intends his own death. … Socrates' intended action as a consequence a judicial execution: he drank the hemlock because this was the proper way of carrying out the sentence of the court; had he not been duly sentenced, he would not have felt bound to drink it. So what he intended was not simply to drink from the cup, but to assist in his own execution.” R. A. Duff. Socratic Suicide?

Can we call a person ‘a suicide’ if s/he persists in an activity (e.g., taking heroin) which s/he knows will very probably cause their own death?

(2) Dementia someone else problem “Advance directives permit competent adult patients to provide guidance regarding their care in the event that they lose the capacity to make medical decisions. One concern about the use of advance directives is the possibility that, in certain cases in which a patient undergoes massive psychological change, the individual who exists after such change is literally a (numerically) distinct individual from the person who completed the directive. If this is true, there is good reason to question the authority of the directive - which is supposed to apply to the individual who completed it, not to someone else. This is `the someone else problem.” David Degrazia. ADVANCE DIRECTIVES, DEMENTIA, AND `THE SOMEONE ELSE PROBLEM'


A shrine to wives of the Maharajas of Jodhpur who committed Sati. Jodhpur Fort, Rajasthan, India. Marie Brett

Smithsonian Institution. AIDS Memorial Quilt on National Mall, Washington 1992

1945 Gettyimages. ‘Body of Nazi Heinrich Himmler lying dead on floor after suicide / newsreel’

By the artist, May 30 2016 11:04AM


I moved into the new studios and spent some time trying to work out the transport and parking routes, and coffee routes. I'm delighted to be part of this residency and think its a really unique supportive situation that will provide numerous pathways for research and new developments in my work. It will also crucially allow me to build an understanding of the important research and studies that professionals in the field are undertaking.

I set up a few new projects in the studio based on prints from a MRI scan and also new digital collage prints on fabric based around early 20th century advertising, electrical drawings from basic geiger counter circuits, and original maps from Bikini Atoll.

I also met and did a short interview with senior lecturer in the School of Physics Dr Luis Leon Vintro BSc PhD. He outlined some of the research that has gone into testing the Irish sea and the particles that can be found in the environment after Sellafiled over many years. He also outlined the testing that found elements of cesium in Ireland in the atmosphere post the Fukushima disaster in 2011.

I also worked on a large submission for an international project that may now go in a new direction.


After a period of intense administration I'm trying to catch up on some reading and research. In particular recommended by Dr Luis Leon Vintro:

Radioactivity in the Irish sea: Past Practices, Present status and Future Perspectives by P.I.Mitchell, P.J.Kershaw and L.Leon Vintro. (Chapter: 7, Publisher: Les Editions de Physique, Editors: P. Guegueniat, P. Germain, H. Metivier, pp.155-175. January 1996).


Making sense of Sellafield, The Royal Irish Academy, (RIA conference papers 2002).

A new exhibition called Portrait of a nation, just opened in Farmleigh House in the Phoenix park, 8th April to 29th May, which included one of my works from the OPW national collection.

I also had an installation open on the 24th March (-30 April) in a new exhibition called Americana, in the Dock in Carrick on Shannon, curated by Linda Shevlin with Brian Duggan (me)(IE) John Gerrard (IE) Kim Shively (USA) M12 Studio (USA). http://www.thedock.ie


On 21/22/23 I travelled to Brussels to present a work at Art Brussels. The sculpture “This short-term evacuation' was an original commission for Dublin Contemporary in 2011. The director of Art Brussels Katerina Gregos selected this piece for a special project “out of the box' with 12 other sculptures to present a new Sculptural Flaneur within the new site Tour and taxis in Brussels.

I started a new project based around mapping, the environment and the landscape, post situations of disturbances. It will be ongoing and possibly never finished.

I started planning for a major new installation that will be presented in Project in June in Dublin. At this stage we are mostly dealing with engineering drawings and trying to figure out can things, work, will they fit and why are we doing each element. http://projectartscentre.ie/event/ryou-un-maru/

I also have a solo exhibition in Basel in Switzerland in June and I'm making new work for the installation titled 'A cause for concern, but not alarm'. http://balzerprojects.com/exhibition-upcoming/


This short term Evacuation 2011, Art Brussels 2016

By the artist, Apr 6 2016 02:13PM

It's been a great start to the residency at UCD Parity Studios, a number of exciting pathways of research related to my proposal have opened up in the UCD School of Physics. Its been great meeting with Staff & Researchers in the Space Science Group, Prof Lorraine Hanlon, Professor of Astronomy at UCD, Dr Antonio Martin-Carillo post doc researcher and David Murphy PhD student in the UCD Space Science Group.

I have enjoyed attending the Space Science & Technology small satellite workshops . Here using Raspberri pi and python a number of groups are building the hardware circuits ,software and casing for four small satellites each with a specific mission. The Satellites will be launched in May .

With the help of Systems Architect Daniel Vagg of Parameter Space company at the School of Physics I've been exploring some real time ESA GAIA Satellite Data with a view to creating a data driven intervention.

I have also been exploring cosmic Gamma Ray Bursts through the many active researchers in UCD School of Physics, in their detection and observation and the development of new materials used in robotic GRB telescopes.

I was excited to attend the Irish Space Industry Groups first small satellite workshop hosted here at UCD.


UCD Space Science MSc Small Satellite Workshop. Circuit & 3D Printed casing. 2016

UCD, Space Science Msc, Small Satellite Workshop. Gamma Ray Detector Circuit.2016

UCD Space Science ,MSc Small Satellite Workshop. 2016

U.S. Vela satellite. Gamma-ray bursts were first observed in the late 1960s by the U.S. Vela satellites which were built to detect gamma radiation pulses emitted by nuclear weapons tested in space.

By the artist, Mar 15 2016 02:44AM

Philosophy, and the theories of Michel Serres have led me to the School Of Veterinary Medicine and in particular to the Laboratories Of Parasitology, where with the compliance of Professor Grace Mulcahy and the researchers in the Parasitology Labs, I have been exploring the research environment and the scientific identity of parasites. I have been playing with the imagery that I have found flipping backwards and forwards in history to follow the language used and the knowledge trail of what we believe we know about parasites, and to see how that knowledge is evolving.

To progress the dialog between the creative and scientific positions we are going to do some drawing, I have devised six classes to develop meticulous observation and representation and also to engage the creative right side of brain. I am pleasantly surprised that in this age of electron micrography, the more primal art of drawing is so highly regarded.

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