For two months in the run up to the Liberties Festival 2011, This Is Collective engaged and collaborated with 5 traders, all of whom are situated on Meath St. These are Cormac Butler from CT Petfoods, Michael Martin from C & N Meats, Sandy in Sandyz Fashion store, Michael in the Sweet Shop in the Bull Ring and Geoff Buckley in New Dandelion.
C&N Meats are known for their banter and spirited interactions with customers. There is a distinctly performative nature to their trade and this formed the creative focus for their installation which features a live feed of audio from their store that can be heard by the installation audience in our premises. The stage represents the methods by which C&N Meats attract customers, and the butchers’ aprons are embroidered with phrases taken directly from a drawing board that we installed in their shop for customers to record what ‘drew’ them into the shop.
Sandyz shop draws its customers in by the elaborate and vibrant window display of dresses. Our collaboration with Sandy stems from the rich aesthetic of her garments, in particular, the luxurious fantasy like underlays of the dresses which are hung overhead. In accordance with herpassion for design and customising, Sandy was involved in the design and production of the final art piece. Made from fabric and packaging sourced from traders on Meath St., the installation plays on the fantastical and extravagant nature of her creations.
Sweet Temptations are situated in the Bull Ring on Meath St., they sell sweets that evoke memories of childhood. They use costumes and props to draw customers into a playful trading environment. The owner, Stephen Stroughair, also creates his own installations each year for Halloween and Christmas. All of this was invaluable to us in the collaborative process. Playing on the names of retro sweets, we have created an installation using the real items that inspired these sweets. The piece draws on elements of both a sweet factory and games to reflect the fun of Sweet Temptations’ trade.
The New Dandelion card and gift shop is owned by Geoff Buckley. He uses humour (and sometimes borderline inappropriate slogans!) on his cards and also on the baby bibs and blankets that he embroiders with personalised messages. This is The New Dandelion’s unique selling point that draws customers into the shop. Geoff manages to operate a specialised trade while maintaining a focus on real value for money. The installation will play on the idea of exchange and value, reflecting the wit of the Liberties and the personalisation of messages shared.
C&T Petfoods is owned by Cormac Butler and is the only petshop in the Liberties. It showcases tweeting birds in the window and operates a strict ‘open-door policy’ to draw in children and adults alike. Customers go to Cormac for advice and information about their pets and similarly, his role in the project developed into that of our go-to man for advice throughout the process, as well as our source of information on the street and our film director! We created a video installation – “A little birdie told me” – which draws on the art of his trade and also reflects our interactions with him.