Stills and install images  from All Places Are Distant From Heaven Alike 2012.  Single-channel HD Video with stereo sound. Camera by Neil O'Driscoll.

By the skin of your teeth2012  Calfskin, electrostatic flock, blown glass

Dimensions Variable

The work consists of a calfskin branded with a quote which often appears graffitied across walls in European cities.  The words (in Italian) ‘Precari Unitevi Contro i Padroni’ are commonly used by anti-globalist groups in appealing to those living from ‘hand to mouth’ or those who experience precarity to come together against those in power.  The word ‘precarity’ refers to an existence without predictability or security, affecting material or psychological welfare. Although the word does not officially exist in English ‘the etymological origin of’…the word comes from the Latin precaré (to pray),and what is obtained by praying or begging depends on the will, pleasure or favour of another’.[1]

[1] Thornley, Carol/Jefferys, Steve/Appay, Béatrice  2010 (from Globalization and Precarious Forms of Production and Employment)

Commissioned as part of Dig Where You Stand which took place at the South Tipperary County Museum, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary 6th July - 28th Sept 2012 

Susan Hiller (UK)/Bridget O'Gorman (IE)/Uriel Orlow (CH)/Philippa Sutherland (IE)

Dig Where You Stand developed from a curatorial residency, initiated by South Tipperary Arts Office, and based in South Tipperary, IE throughout 2012. The project consisted of a series of reading events, exhibitions and a publication, edited and coordinated by Sarah Lincoln and designed by Sean O' Sullivan.  It includes texts by Sarah Lincoln, Eilis Lavelle, Rosie Lynch, Sean O'Sullivan and contributions by Philippa Sutherland and Bridget O'Gorman.

The title of the work is a quote from Robert Burton's 1621 exploration of the causes, symptoms and possible cures of depression in 'The Anatomy Of Melancholy'. A first edition volume of this work is housed as part of a collection within the Bolton Library on the Cathedral grounds in Cashel, Co. Tipperary alongside works by Machiavelli, Dante and Swift. Exploring the library and its surrounds, this video reveals medieval manuscripts and countless volumes of 17th, 18th and 19th C literature entombed there.

The video alternates between imagery of an interior place of reflection or stasis and the continuous movement of the exterior graveyard: views of open skies at dawn, cathedral structures pointing heavenward over earthy tombstones, dewy foliage, birdsong and insects. In the 17th century Burton posited the notion that we as human beings are always searching for a 'greater other' an imagined place, rather than simply being happy in our immediate surroundings. The scholar writes in detail about depression or 'melancholy', a book that is often considered to be the first study of human psychology.