Cent Eire

¢ent eire – By Matthew Nevin. 

I have devised ¢ent Eire for MART’s Invite or Reject which is part of Imagine Ireland and shall be broken up into the 3 cities of Chicago, New York & Los Angles . Through each city another element will be added to the ‘stew’ of pieces working together to create ¢ent Eire.

I wish to analyse through ¢ent Eire, the anthropologic nature of food. The piece conjures up ideals, emotions and effects through a series of interactive installations and performances aimed at Americans and Irish Americans.

In the 19th Century, millions of Irish immigrated to America due to famine, poverty and hardship. These immigrants in America were drafted to the US Army and competed for manual labour jobs. They faced discrimination, racism and burdened with stereotypes resulting in campaigns such as ‘No irish Need Apply’.

Today Irish Americans make up 41 million citizens of the United States, making them the second largest ethnic group in the country. Widely notably associated with positions in the fire & police forces and other civil positions.

Many of these American Irish descendants spend hours, days, weeks and years studying, visiting, educating and fulfilling their lives with Irish experiences; buying Irish products in the US, reading Irish newspapers, listening to Irish radio stations and staying abreast with the Ireland of today.


Chicago: Stewed Up – An Experimental Film.

For the Chicago leg, I debuted the installation of three Video pieces. The Videos sourced from Irish Video libraries analyse the effect Irish culture has on the growth of Ireland, the US and further a field.  I play with a form of censorship through all three pieces and specifically chose unheeded material that is not popular in the historical archive and highlight poignant remarks on Irish History.Videos shown are:

Location: Pop Up Art Loop, 23 E Madison St, June 2- 30 2011.

“Censor This” – an altered version of Ceol an Ghrá” (“The Music of Love”), Ireland’s entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1972, performed in Irish by Sandie Jones.

Biafra” – an altered section of the documentary series ‘Radharc’; which followed the activities of Irish Missionaries presented by Catholic Priests working abroad.

Foggy” – a censored facetious re-enactment of the Easter Rising song ‘Foggy Dew’.

Chicago & New York – Portable Scent/Stew Kitchen, A smell into the life of the Irish.

Main Location: Flux Factory, New York. July 9 – 30.

For this the second part of Cent Eire, I documented a series of performances I created around the scent of Irish stew, along with the installation of the three videos that were shown in Chicago, building up on the idea of adding ingredients to the project.

For me the smell of Irish stew, with its harmonious balance of humble ingredients, resonates strong memories of childhood, nostalgia and an aged Ireland.

I created a temporary portable “Scent Kitchen”. In an undisclosed location I cooked a large pot of Irish Stew, and once ready to be eaten I captured its scent into sealable containers. Filling these small capsules with the smell and essence of what it is to be Irish. Once the captured scent process is complete, I  hit the streets and invited local Americans to sample the smell. I wish to ignite momentary imaginings of Ireland through the stew smell, kindle memories of the past in Irish Americans and invite all Americans into an insight Irish Culture.

By part re-enacting a symbolic era of an impoverished Ireland and Irish soup kitchens in Irish American history I wish to evoke dialogue on migration, culture and poverty.

June 21st – State St & Millennium Park, Chicago.


July 5th – Times Square, New York.


July 14th – Flux Factory, New York.

Performance & Talk on Cent Eire.

Los Angeles – Iced Stew

Location : C4 Gallery - August 4 – 24, 2011.

The final leg of the Cent Eire series I created an  installation consisting of Frozen Stew installed and confined to a Freezer Chest.

The powerful nature of the imagery of the installation shall ‘stew’ up memories of famine, death and nostalgia. I wish the viewer to engage with the piece and not be afraid to touch or interact with the installation.

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