Cent Eire


¢ent eire – By Matthew Nevin. 

The project produced a series of interactive installations and performances an anthropologic assessment of Irish American society through the consumption and relationships surrounding food nostalgia.

¢ent Eire was part of MART’s Invite or Reject and Imagine Ireland which was exhibited across Chicago, New York & Los Angeles. Through each city additional elements were added to the ‘stew’ of pieces working together to create ¢ent Eire.

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. ¢ent Eire produced three installations and performances in response to our shared history.

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

For the Chicago leg, I debuted new video work devised from Video libraries  which analysed the effect Irish culture has on the growth of Ireland, the US and further a field.  The work plays with a form of censorship, specifically choosing unheeded material that is not popular in the historical archive and highlight poignant remarks on Irish History.

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.


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.

State St & Millennium Park, Chicago – June 21st 2011

Times Square, New YorkJuly 5th 2011

For this the second part of Cent Eire, I documented a series of performances I created around the scent of Irish stew, building up on the idea of adding ingredients to the project.

With its harmonious balance of humble ingredients, Irish stew 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 wished 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 wished to evoke dialogue on migration, culture and poverty.

New York: Flux Factory, Queens. July 9 – 30, 2011

Installation, Performance & Talk on Cent Eire.

Los Angeles – C4 Gallery, Hollywood August 4 – 24, 2011.

For 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 stewed up memories of famine, death and nostalgia. The audience were encouraged to engage with the piece and to touch and interact with the installation.