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Work of the Week | 7 March 2022

CAG.3038 Grace Weir, Dust defying gravity, 2004, 16mm film, transferred to digital, 04:00 minutes. Purchased, the Artist, 2016. © the artist.


Dust defying gravity (2004) by Grace Weir is a meditative 4-minute film in which the viewer is slowly taken through the interconnecting interior spaces of an old building.

This is Dunsink Observatory, northwest of Dublin, which was founded in 1785. The camera – and thus the viewer – traces the furnishings and equipment of the building; a ticking clock, a telescope, scientific materials scattered across a desk.

Although there is movement, there is also a pervading sense of stillness until particles of dust are caught in the sunlight above a mechanical model of the solar system. For an instant, the viewer is transported out of these terrestrial surroundings and into space and time.

The film explores, as the artist explains, ‘the dynamic of space and time and their interdependence.’ Dunsink Observatory was originally designed for the purposes of positional astronomy, which helped to determine local (Dublin) time. In tracing out ‘a space past measuring devices of time (clocks) and space (telescopes),’ Weir notes that the film ‘simultaneously maps onto the lived time of the viewer over its duration.’

Working primarily in the moving image and installation, Grace Weir (b.1962) focuses on the slippages between the conceptual and experiential in different fields of enquiry. In 2001, she represented Ireland at the 49th Venice Biennale and, from 2012 until 2015, was Artist-in-Residence at the School of Physics, Trinity College Dublin.

Dust defying gravity (2004) by Grace Weir is showing in our Screening Room (Floor 2) until 20 March.

Free entry | Open daily

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