The Fertiliser Spreader (2021/22)
'The Fertiliser Spreader' is a working farm tool and an art object. This project seeks to situate farming practice 'as' art practice and engages with the practicalities and complexities of juggling both disciplines. With the funds assigned by the Royal Hibernian Academy for the creation of new work for the exhibition, *'A Growing Enquiry – Art & Agriculture, reconciling values', I purchased a second-hand fertiliser spreader with the intention that it would function in a hybrid way. On the farm, it would perform the duty of spreading fertiliser when required, but also, be ranked as an art object suitable for display in exhibition contexts. In assuming this dual character of farm machinery and art object, a 'Condition Report' form functions to track its physical condition, activities and whereabouts throughout its lifetime of use in both working contexts. Photographs contained within a 'Baseline Report' represent its condition at the time of purchase and are essential reference points in the accurate completion of succeeding condition reports. Completed 'Condition Reports' are housed in a 'Condition Report Register'.
The utilisation of art practice funds to purchase a piece of farm machinery that has the capacity to function in a binary fashion represents an ideal union between art and farming practice. As The Fertiliser Spreader moves from one context to another, its charm lies in its dual nature, its capacity to agitate and act up, or to effortlessly blend in contingent on the environment it occupies. Beyond its aesthetic appeal and jolly veneer, sombre considerations associated with its power to alter and modify the land in adverse ways are never far from the surface. In this expansive process of transformation, photography is assigned the steadfast role of witness, where the camera must now busy itself with the task of providing evidence at critical moments throughout its hybrid working life.
The Fertiliser Spreader, artwork consists of four key elements which include, 'The Fertiliser Spreader', the 'Baseline Report', the 'Condition Report Register' and a precious red portfolio box of archival photographs. The archival photographs represent an unseen artwork as they are not for public display and must remain with the exhibition curator or artist to consult only, if anomalies arise during condition report completion.
* 'A Growing Enquiry – Art & Agriculture, reconciling values' at the RHA from February 17th - April 29th, 2022 curated by Patrick T. Murphy.
'The Fertiliser Spreader' is kindly supported by the Royal Hibernian Academy and an Arts Council Of Ireland, Agility Award (2021).
The 'Condition Report Register' is designed by Oonagh Young of Design HQ
The Fertiliser Spreader is on Instagram