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Field Notes from the Border


Anthony Haughey | Blind Spot

Paul Virilio asked in an interview in 1994, ‘What shall we dream of when everything becomes visible? We’ll dream of being blind.’ Virilio’s provocative comment was stated at a time when Ireland’s border was under hyper-surveillance from British Army watchtowers and patrolling helicopters. During the Troubles, Ireland’s border was the most militarised and surveilled area in Western Europe. In 1993 the Spanish Ministry of the Interior traveled to Ireland to study the watchtowers and to learn ways of fortifying their coastline against immigration from Africa. Today we are all subjected to surveillance, chillingly, much of this is self-imposed.

Blind Spot is filmed in various border crossings from Carlingford to Donegal where most of the border infrastructure was dismantled following the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. Nonetheless, traces of a troubled past remain: helicopter landing pads on mountainsides, former Customs Posts and a long-forgotten steel railway bridge destroyed by British army explosives in the 1970s – the Cavan–Fermanagh border running between its skeletal remains.

A blind spot is both an optical aberration and a rhetorical provocation that reflects the Brexit impasse about the border in Ireland. The use of drone technology in this video provides a privileged vantage point – evoking memories of border surveillance during the Troubles. In this Foucauldian world the permanent visibility of those subjected to the gaze of the Panopticon generates awareness of the power differential between individuals and the state.

Duration: 20 minutes, 4K Video transferred to HD with sound
Video Installation: Anthony Haughey
Drone camera: Ken Finnegan
Editor: Eamonn Murphy


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