European Crisis highlighted in Galway Art Project

The Giddy Biddy Collective or the ‘Giddy Biddies’ are a group of Galway based GMIT Art students who have been gaining national media attention of late. Winners of the Claremorris Open in 2014 for their project Fireman to the Rescue, the Giddy Biddies have an even more ambitious project prepared for 2015. For Culture Night this Friday 18th September, the collective are creating an extremely timely socially engaged art project called Infinity. According to the artists the project seeks to highlight the issue of forced migration in Europe. “Based on the premise that we are all Infinitely Connected” they seek the viewer to question their role and responsibility “For the Fact That 50 Million People are Forced to Migrate from their Homes Each Year”. This project comes just over two weeks after the image of Alun Kurdi, a drowned Syrian toddler made international headlines when his body was found washed up on a shore in Turkey. Kurdi had been fleeing war-torn Syria with his family, his brother also drowned attempting to make the treacherous journey.

For the Infinity installation, a 20ft Shipping container will be placed on Mainguard Street in Galway City Centre. 8 volunteers will be locked in the dark inside the container for 24 hours to simulate the conditions many refugees and migrants are forced to endure. Participants have undergone strict medical analysis. They will be continually monitored during their time in the container, have access to a phone, and can be withdrawn in case of an emergency. They also have supplies of clean bottled water and a chemical toilet for waste: a far cry above the reality for many forced to flee their homes. As I write this, the participants are yet to enter the shipping container. It is unclear how they will fare in their experience, or how successful the project will prove as an art installation. What is clear, is that this is a rare opportunity for the people in Galway to discuss and engage with social, political and artistic ideas in such a public space.