In Conversation

End Point


Unknown Point
and CD








This text is an excerpt from an edited transcription of a conversation between Anthony Kelly, David Stalling and Seán McCrum. It took place during the afternoon of Saturday 16th May 2009 in the Digital Gallery, Visual – The National Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow. Aileen Nolan from the Arts Office, Carlow, introduced the event.



Anthony Kelly: My background is originally as a visual artist. I came to collaborate with David about 6 years ago and we make audiovisual and sound works together.

David Stalling: I’m originally a musician and composer, writing music for small chamber ensembles up to full orchestra, sometimes in combination with an electroacoustic element. The use of fixed media in my work was one of the meeting points in collaborating with Anthony. Initially, he came out to my studio with some field recordings he had made - something he was very interested in for a long time - and we started making our first collaborative work with those field recordings creating a series of short sound compositions.

AK: Then a few years ago we were introduced to Seán McCrum. Seán is a curator and one of the things he has been particularly interested in is work with a sound and audiovisual element. We invited Seán along today to have a conversation with us about the work we have been doing over the last while. On the projection screen beside us you can see examples of some of the works that we have made, often in connection with Seán as the curator.

Seán McCrum: This effectively sums me up fairly well. Do you want to talk about sounds?

AK: Maybe we could start by talking about the project in Carlow IT, Unknown Point, and we could tell you about the background of this particular project. As Aileen was saying, it is part of the Visualise Carlow programme. About a year ago David and I were invited to take part in the programme, so we looked at a number of locations around Carlow and the one that interested us most was the library building in the IT. I think, partly what interested us was the challenge of making work that could go into a library environment. As you all know, in a library you have certain parameters.

DS: It’s a place to study, a quiet room, so the challenge was to try and make work that would fit into these surroundings without disturbing the people during their studies.

AK: A library environment is very different from a gallery space, so we decided to make a number of wooden cabinets that to some degree would sit in with the existing furniture…

DS: In a way we created our own little gallery spaces within the library, sort of containers, within which we could place our work.

AK: So the work became quiet and was designed in such a way so as not to dominate too much.

SMC: You don’t describe these cabinets as ‘plinths’ or ‘stands’, like in a gallery context, but as ‘containers’. That is a curious way of approaching what the work is and what it is doing.

AK: As you can see in the photographs the students have propped their bags against them, they leave their notes out around them, accepting their presence and placement and the cabinets become another furniture element of the room.

SMC: This is interesting also in connection with your other work. Would you consciously adapt how you fit your work into different places, or would you have basically the same underlying idea that anything that is put into a different place is in some way intrusive because it wasn’t there before and is changing the way people see that place?

DS: A lot of our work contains similar elements, small TV screens with abstract visuals, radios and loudspeakers, sometimes stripped to their bare bones, sort of relics of the analogue age. The way we place them is very important for us. You could say that most of our work is site-specific. Even if it is placed in a gallery context we always try and respond to the space when we place the work.

Audience Member 1: When you mention ‘site-specific’, can you explain to us why you chose that particular site or shelf?

DS: The shelf we are looking at here, the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities of Carlow’, is pre-made, like all the other cabinets; we built them beforehand and brought them into the library. The challenge was to find locations where the pieces would sit nicely without disturbing the floor, or being in the way of people walking by.

AK: If you go to the library, the first thing you notice is that the work is not as obvious as in a gallery space because the pieces are quite discreet. It takes a little while to find them, which is slightly humorous in that respect and it’s a bit like a game of hide-and-seek.


The remainder of this text can be found in the Unknown Point book and CD available here




Unknown Point

Anthony Kelly David Stalling

Visualise Carlow April – May 2009

Visualise Carlow is a series of temporary public art projects devised as an advance programme to Visual - The National Centre for Contemporary Art, Carlow.