Off Site, by Pete Smithson, Project Arts Centre Off Site. Artist building the walkway on Benburb Street, 1998. Photo. Valerie Connor.
Off Site, by Pete Smithson. Temporary covered walkways, showing artist's texts, technical crew, and later graffiti, Dublin 1998. Photos. Valerie Connor.
Off Site by Pete Smithson was comprised of three temporary covered walkways at geographical points either side of the River Liffey, Dublin. The back boards were pasted with photocopies hand-drawn text in black on white & white on black denoted directions and locations: North, South, West, East. Small text vinyls using the same text were also transferred onto the organist's mirror St. Michan's Church. After making two recces to the city, the artist was struck by the affect that the single and straight course taken by the city's river has on planning and social perceptions of Dublin, in contrast to the distribution of social and cultural clusters more familiar to the artist in relation to London's River Thames in his home city. The process of gaining permissions and access to sites revealed the city's hidden, concealed and invisible territories. The project ultimately revealed the working relationships between the public and the private city - formal and informal authority; disputed and undocumented property. In the following decade the cityscape was changed radically and all the sites used, bar the Church, were subsequently comercially redeveloped leading to major changes in use and ownership.