Talk to the Land

Mel Jordan (Artist), Andrew Hewitt (Artist)

Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchExhibition

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The exhibition Talk to the Land explores three aspects of commoning: landlordism; how to practice a culture-led reclaiming of cities; and utopian settlements in South-West Ireland. It features newly commissioned works alongside earlier works. The focus throughout is on land use questions informed by historical and contemporary critiques of capitalism—specifically management, ownership, and extraction in urban and rural areas in European societies.

Partisan Social Club examines alternative modes of community building arising from cooperative proposals and experiments advanced by the eighteenth-century Irish, Cork-based philosopher William Thompson. The Irish politician James Connolly, in his 1910 book Labour in Irish History, called Thompson the first Irish socialist. The presentation investigates how Thompson’s writings might influence and shape practical strategies responding to today’s economic and ecological issues, and how land can serve as an actor or an event within existing arrangements of humans and nonhumans under capitalism.

Partisan Social Club’s work does not represent a history of the commons, or a historical model of community building in the pre-capitalistic period. Rather, they activate ideas surrounding horizontal structures, mutual exchange, resource sharing, and collectivity. This forms the basis of their notion of “re-commoning,” which asks how can we reimagine social relationships whilst in midst of privatization and austerity?

To address this, they assemble members through projects related to histories, theories, and activities of commoning. Their language-based works—often produced through participatory processes—take the form of posters, pamphlets, scarves, banners, videos, and architectural structures, and are presented in exhibitions and as printed matter. In this talk they discuss their methods of rewriting, renomination and rehearsal that is central to their practice. They call this arrangement ‘Real Montage’.

Talk to the Land is PSC’s first solo show in Ireland. PSC developed the research and several artworks through multiple residencies at SIRIUS across 2022, following dialogue initiated in 2020. Talk to the Land was made in collaboration with Miguel Amado, curator and director of SIRIUS.

The exhibition included new film works, ‘Talk to the Land (Carhoogariff)’, ‘Slogan-Montage-and Thompson’, and ‘Collective Nouns (Reflections on Commoning)’, a text-object, ‘How to practice culture-led recommoning’ (with Gary Hall), and a new poster work, ‘Collective Nouns (Everything and Everyone)’, 2022. New works were shown with pre-existing artefacts and text works.

The exhibition opening included the launch and screening of the film, Collective Nouns II Reflections on Commoning (3mins). The film was produced in conjunction with SIRIUS and includes several contributions from friends, colleagues, and people Partisan Social Club met during their time at Sirius.

The exhibition was from 30 October 2022 – 18 February 2023, at SIRIUS, Cobh, County Cork.

The residency secondment was made possible due to the Spatial Practices in Art and ArChitecture for Empathetic EXchange (SPACEX) project. SPACEX is an ongoing project funded by the European Union’s HORIZON 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) project number 872561 (
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2022
EventTalk to the Land exhibtion - SIRIUS, Cobh, Ireland
Duration: 30 Oct 202218 Feb 2023


  • re-commoning
  • landlordism
  • Culture-led recommoning


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