TULCA Festival of Visual Arts is pleased to announce details of its 2020 Open Call curated by Sarah Browne; The Law is a White Dog.
The Law is a White Dog borrows its title from a book by Colin Dayan, which explores how legal rituals have the power to ‘make and unmake’ persons. Historically, certain categories of person have been invented mainly in order to confine or punish them — the slave, the criminal, the homosexual, the insane — and these categories are further entangled and haunted by classifications based on race. Conceived in the legal imagination in this way, these different classes of person are allocated unequal capacities for reason and for pain, and are distributed different rights to property – whether rights to own one’s own body, or to acquire land. Where Dayan’s book explores the interaction of personhood and dispossession within the USA, its themes find particular resonance in Connacht, the alternative to hell as offered by Cromwell during the time of the Penal Laws and the mass evictions of the Plantation era. Today, it offers new ways to recognise persistent legal spectres and zones of exception in the west of Ireland landscape, such as the asylum-seekers detained in Direct Provision Centres who are awaiting a ruling, and those who survived (or tragically died) inside state-approved religious institutions, such as the Mother and Baby Home at Tuam, or the industrial school at Letterfrack.
The English common law in the nineteenth century held that it was not a crime to steal a tame dog, but it would be a crime to steal the hide of a dead dog: the possibility of profit transformed the dog into property. Neither fully wild nor fully domesticated for economic use, dogs were creatures who could be prosecuted in law but had no rights, because they were thought to be deprived of personality. As persons thought to have no mind cannot agree in mind with another, they had power neither to consent nor to form contracts. And in this, historically, dogs are placed in uncomfortable proximity with certain categories of humans in different jurisdictions: “idiots”, infants, “drunkards”, married women, Catholics. As Dayan points out, law can create incapacity and powerlessness, rather than simply recognising it.
Certain kinds of legal speech (judgements, in particular) force new realities into being, when they are declared by the powerful: ‘I find you guilty’; ‘I pronounce you married’; ‘I sentence you to X’. With this transformative potential in mind, The Law is a White Dog is a project that invites artists to refute categorisation, to invent new languages and forms of expression, and to develop new affinities with others. The festival will include a public programme as well as an exhibition of artworks and other artefacts, and will be selected through a process of direct invitation as well as TULCA’s annual open call. Artists applying through the open call are invited to consider their work as forms of address that could relate to processes such as bearing witness, giving testimony, granting pardon, lodging complaint, forming contracts, presenting evidence—or steadfastly refusing to speak in those terms.
Photo: Found image, Royal Veterinary College, London
Open Call Process & Guidelines:
TULCA is curated through direct invitation and an Open Call process. The final selection of artworks will be based on thematic connection, artistic quality, and feasibility. Selections are made by the curator in consultation with the TULCA producer.
Deadline: 31 March 2020
Artists are invited to propose the presentation of existing artworks, or the production of new work. Works can be proposed for exhibition in the festival, or as one-off performances / events / workshops / screenings comprising part of the public programme. Work must not have been previously exhibited in Galway.
Please send a single PDF attachment (15MB max) that includes the following:
A concise artist’s statement that responds to the exhibition theme, The Law is a White Dog, and describes its relevance to your work (250 words max)
CV (2 pages max)
Examples of previous work:
Up to 10 images (must include title; the material / medium; the dimensions / duration; the date of production, and also information on where the work has been shown, if applicable)
Up to 2 web links to video / sound works can be sent (YouTube or Vimeo, extracts no longer than 5 minutes). Include passwords for any private videos.
A clearly outlined proposal of work to be exhibited, including detail about its installation, technical and accessibility requirements (250 words + 3 photos max).
Optional: If this is a proposal for new work, please also include any available visualisations, information on materials, costings, technical and venue requirements (additional 250 words max).
Applications should be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes for Applicants:
TULCA will confirm receipt of all applications. Selected artists will be notified no later than Friday 15th May 2020.
There is no submission fee
As well as an artist fee, TULCA offer curatorial and artistic development, technical support and a significant press, marketing and audience campaign. The festival will be accompanied by a publication with commissioned writing. TULCA presents a dynamic programme of education within primary and secondary schools and third level institutions.
Artists curated through this open call are responsible for the transport/delivery and collection of their work.
For any further queries please contact Festival Producer at email@example.com