Transit Gateway 7 / Reconstruction

map 7 reconstruction.jpg


A Deep Mapping of Dublin Port by Silvia Loeffler

Mapping Phase 7: Dublin Port from 1947 to 1964 / Reconstruction

Event was held at the following time, date and location:

Wednesday, 30 August 2017 from 18:15 to 20:15 (IST)

The LAB Gallery
1 Foley Street
Dublin 1

For the video podcast of the seminar, please visit:

TG7 @ The LAB

As part of “Port Perspectives”, Transit Gateway is a project that documents the transitional changes of the shape of Dublin Port from its medieval shoreline to its current infrastructure. Transit Gateway is an artistic mapping cartography that shows the changing connections of the city and the port throughout the years, and how the port as a gateway creates a vital connection of the city with the wider world. In collaboration with partners and the local community, the artist Silvia Loeffler has been commissioned by Dublin Port Company to create a social and collaborative artistic mapping project that looks at the port ‘s transitional phases over a time period of 9 months.

A large-scale installation series loosely based on the various maps used by H.A. Gilligan in his “History of the Port of Dublin” is currently being created, and the works are displayed in the Terminal 1 Building in Dublin Port. Each month, a new map layer will be added to the installation.

Each month, a specific seminar, which is held in the LAB on Foley Street, in order ‘to bring the port back into the city’, accompanies a specific map layer.

“Dublin Port from 1947 to 1964/ Reconstruction” was the seventh seminar in this series. This time period was marked by the rebuilding of Custom House Quay West, No. 2 Graving Dock, No. 2 Ro-ro berth, and the quay superstructure of Ocean Pier took place, so now gas (besides the main fuels coal and oil) could be safely transported into Dublin. The construction of a whole Oil Zone took place, with the East Oil jetty and the West Oil jetty now being faced by a Pilot Shore Station in the heart of the Port.
A significant amount of reclaimed lands added to the port expansion. There were major changes on the Poolbeg Peninsula. The ESB experienced difficulty in obtaining coal supply for its old generating station at Pidgeon House, so they leased and converted an unused refinery boilerhouse to Ringsend No. 2 Station, which came into operation in 1955. A new wharf was constructed to enable tankers to discharge oil into the station’s storage tanks.

We hope you enjoyed the discussion of this particular era, where modernisation of equipment and electro-hydraulic design shaped a sort of brave new world port landscape. On a more natural note, the smell of the Liffey and various forms of ‘unsightliness’ were more in the public eye than ever, and environmental issues became prevalent. We elaborated on the meanings of “reconstruction” in a postwar as well as in a contemporary context, and we connected associations of progress and automation with machine aesthetics and the human body.

Speaker panel:

Jerry Flynn (Liebherr port technology)

Aoife Desmond (interdisciplinary artist)

Conor McGarrigle (artist and researcher)

This seminar was the seventh in a series of nine. The Transit Gateway seminars are part of a wider public engagement programme for Port Perspectives 2017. They are funded by Dublin Port Company and the LAB Gallery.

Dublin Port’s 2017 Port Perspectives / Engagement Programme has been developed in collaboration with Dublin City Council, Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane, UCD School of Architecture, National College of Art and Design, Irish Architecture Foundation, Create [the National Collaborative Arts Agency] and Business to Arts.

Dr Silvia Loeffler is an artist, researcher and educator in Visual Culture. She is the organiser of the Transit Gateway seminars, funded by Dublin Port Company, and run in close collaboration with the LAB. This seminar series will continue until October 2017 and is part of Silvia’s artistic cartography ‘Transit Gateway: A Deep Mapping of Dublin Port’.



Jeremiah B. Flynn was for over 35 years the Chief Mechanical Engineer in Liebherr. He is now involved in Engineering Training of Sales and Design Staff, Apprentices, external Interns and Students with the Company. He is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of Engineers Ireland and also the U.K. He also sits on the governing body of the Tralee Institute of Technology.


For Transit Gateway 7 / Reconstruction, Jerry discussed how the technological developments of Liebherr port equipment now and into the future would enhance the port as a transit gateway.


Aoife Desmond is an interdisciplinary artist who works predominantly with film, drawing and sculptural installation. She recently launched her new 16mm film RetroReflection at Crawford Art Gallery, Cork and has a solo exhibition ‘Something Momentous Germinating’ in Galway Arts Centre in September/October this year. She exhibits frequently both in Ireland and internationally. Recent exhibitions include ‘Wildscreen’ Connemara, ‘Landing Place’ Dublin, ‘Insertion’ Fragil, Madrid,  ‘Conquested’ Temple Bar Galleries, Dublin and ‘Holding Together’ Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin.  She has participated in several artist residency programmes including Islington Mill, Manchester, The Land Foundation, Thailand, Space Delawab, Belfast and Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris. Her art practice includes collaboration and curation. She has curated for Plastik Festival, Cork Film Festival, Encounters Film Festival Bristol and was a co-founder and director of Experimental Film Club.


Aoife Desmond talked about her sculptural installation ‘Displaced Ballast Mound’ 2011 and her film ‘Passage Migrants’ 2013. Both of these works respond to Dublin Port and reference the history and residue of industry and reconstruction of the port and the co-existence and adaptation of the natural landscape and ecology to these changes.

‘Displaced Ballast Mound’ was made in 2011 for the group exhibition Conquested curated by Aoife Tunney. An accompanying film work ‘Buddleja Forest’ was exhibited in Temple Bar Galleries, ‘Displaced Ballast Mound’ was exhibited in an old warehouse ‘The Paper Store’ on Sheriff Street. Relating specifically to trade and commerce, the artist created a mound of earth and office debris which visually referenced  mounds of earth in Dublin port, possibly ballast mounds as ships would have displaced earth on shore from other countries when empty with cargo. These ballast mounds often introduced new species of flora into the existent ecology.

‘Passage Migrants’ was made in 2013 as part of the site-specific project Landing Place curated by Rosie Lynch and Hollie Kearns at Pigeon House Precinct in collaboration with Dublin Heritage Council. This essay film shot entirely on Super 8 shows Poolbeg peninsula from a pedestrian perspective, the human scale and industrial scale collide. The voiceover gives agency back to the landscape as it reflects on the changes and activities that have shaped it over the years. This work examines the complex relationships between human and non human, between the body, machine and nature.


Conor McGarrigle is an artist and researcher, lecturer in Fine Art New Media at the Dublin School of Creative Arts DIT and Associate Research Fellow at the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media. A graduate of UCD (BSc) and NCAD (MFA), he received his PhD through practice from DIT in 2012.

Coming from a background in net art his practice is characterised by urban interventions mediated through digital technologies and data-driven explorations of networked social practices. Projects include durational walking performances, large scale outdoor projections, smartphone apps and generative video installations. He has exhibited extensively internationally including; the 2011 Venice Biennale, Fundació Miro Mallorca, Redline Gallery Denver, the Saint-Étienne Biennale of Design, SIGGRAPH, FILE São Paulo, Art on the Net Tokyo, Seoul New Media, SITE Santa Fe as well as EVA International, Tulca and the Science Gallery Dublin.

His research examines the implications of pervasive networked devices and computational processes through the lens of critical art practice. This work is rooted in a historical analysis of the intersections of art and technology, demonstrating how contemporary and historical practices develop new readings and critical understandings of networked technologies and emergent user practices. A particular focus is on evolving notions of space and place afforded by new spatial practices enabled through ubiquitous networked location-aware devices. This work emphasises the materiality of digital cultures, attending to hardware and coded processes alongside user practices to reveal and study the entanglements of the network in all aspects of the everyday. In 2014 he was the recipient of the Leonardo Award for Excellence for his article “Augmented Resistance: The Possibilities for AR and Data Driven Art” published in Leonardo Electronic Almanac.

Art in the Data City

The artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg creates facial reconstructions from DNA extracted from discarded chewing gum found on city streets, Julian Oliver employs the techniques of cyber-criminals and law enforcement to hack gallery visitors’ cellphones, Eve Mosher uses scientific data to map the future high-water line in cities under threat from climate change, and Adam Harvey devises hair and make-up styles that render the human face invisible to CCTV facial recognition algorithms. These artists are part of a data art movement that questions how the deployment of pervasive data-informed systems in urban space is changing the nature of the city itself. This talk examines how new media artists engage with these invisible urban data assemblages and how critical data art opens new paths to understanding and remaking the future of cities for all their users.