Glas Journal: A Deep Mapping of Dún Laoghaire Harbour (2014-2016)
In Old Irish, the word glas is reserved for the indefinite shades of green, blue and silver that are present in the sea. This chromatic generosity was used as a marker for this alternative mapping project that crosses art with geography. Glas Journal was the first project in the context of artist-led participatory research practice that the Irish Research Council funded on a postdoctoral level for a period of two years, and it was mentored by Dr. Karen Till from the Geography Department at Maynooth University.
For Glas Journal 2016, 14 handmade books were made through collaborations with people who live, work and feel associated with different locations in Dún Laoghaire Harbour. Participants included: former and current residents of the old Coast Guard Station; individuals who work or have worked with the Commissioners of Irish Lights; RNLI Life Boats volunteers and staff; personnel of the Ferry Terminal; the Quay Fish Shop; MGM Boats and the Marina; individuals associated with St. Michael’s Rowing Club and the harbour’s four yacht clubs, Dún Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club; Royal Irish Yacht Club; Royal St. George Yacht Club; National Irish Yacht Club; and individuals employed by the Irish National Sailing School and the Dún Laoghaire Power Boat School. A personalised ‘Glas Journal’ was made for each location and the books record what their harbour space means to these individuals. More than 30 participants agreed to take part in the documentation of ‘their’ place in the harbour.
Glas Journal (2014-2016) Exhibition
For the final project exhibition, both series of artist books were displayed in the National Maritime Museum of Ireland within an installation of projected harbour arms, forming a ‘place ballet’ of familiarity and attachment. The 28 books are a testimony to the careful as well as caring mapping of shoreline buildings and maritime activities, and of places that make up the fabric of our daily lives — the ones we call ‘home’, ‘haven’ or ‘harbour’.
Accompanying Project Publication
Loeffler, Silvia (2015). ‘Glas Journal: Deep Mappings of a Harbour or the Charting of Fragments, Traces and Possibilities’ in Humanities 2015, 4, 457–475.
Available online: MDPI Publication