100 Years of Irish Discomania — A Lockdown Exhibition

Orla King
Exhibition Design

College
National College of Art & Design

Contact
orlabmking@gmail.com
https://www.instagram.com/orlakng/
http://orlaking.net

Orla King

100 Years of Irish Discomania — A Lockdown Exhibition

Throughout my final year of college I spent months researching Irish dance culture and I became amazed by its vast history. What shocked me the most was that while evidence of Ireland’s club culture exists, it’s not entirely accessible unless you are willing to dig through the internet and library archives like I was. The aim of this project was to celebrate Ireland’s extensive history of dance culture and to make it more accessible to the general public. I aimed to curate an exhibition of posters and ephemera but when lockdown was announced, it meant that I lost access to gallery spaces and I was confined to a 5km radius. I used this to my advantage and pasted the ephemera I had collected onto hoarding across from the Bernard Shaw in Phibsborough. It was wheatpasted to reflect the way flyers and posters are distributed within the dance scene. To garner attention and to categorise the content, each decade was colour coded by a respective gradient. For example, posters from the 50’s are green/blue while posters from the 90’s are pink/yellow. I curated the exhibition in a local setting so that it was exposed to a wider audience of all ages who may not be familiar with Irish dance culture’s history. I demonstrated that gallery spaces are not always necessary for the display of art, and that it can still be possible to showcase art even amidst a nationwide lockdown. I aimed to create a colourful, hopeful art display to brighten the spirits of the local community during an uncertain time. Dance has been a persistent part of Irish culture for a long time, and it will still be waiting for us once lockdown is over.