‘Everyday Experience’, Irish Museum of Modern Art 2013

‘Bench for Networking’ designed in collaboration with John Gerrard Artist for ‘Everday Experience’ organized by The Irish Architecture Foundation at The Irish Museum of Modern Art is yet another latent overlay on an already significant historic military site. Sited in an extreme corner of The Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, a former home for pensioner soldiers designed in 1680 by William Robinson, State Surveyor General, the work originally derives from a set of found landscape markings in the Gobi Desert in China. These markings, scored by the Chinese military, are for purposes unknown however are likely focusing devices for spy satellites, thus placing them within a wider dynamic of surveillance and international competition. The markings measure 1.5km by 1km and were visited by john Gerrard in 2012.

What appears at first as monolithic and cast is, in fact, a precise, shell-like assembly of cement board bonded onto a plywood substrate supported by a softwood timber stud carcass that is embedded with a concealed wireless router. The bench is deceptively light so that it is transportable and so that it can function as a networking arena in any corner of any room of any building. The bench’s protruding closed outer edge into the room is somewhat defensive, almost disruptive. One must negotiate its map-like form. The positioning of the bench also proposes that it can potentially extend through the walls and cross-penetrate other rooms and outdoor areas in future iterations.