Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard
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Rhythm-A-Ning in Dublin

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Rhythm-a-Ning, Derry
Rhythm-a-Ning, Dublin
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Change My Life leaflet - 3,000 distributed in Dublin
Change My Life leaflet - 3,000 distributed in Dublin

From April 03 - April 30 2005 Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard presented Change My Life as part of the exhibition Rhythm-A-Ning in Dublin, curated by Declan Sheehan. Presented by Context Galleries the exhibition featured four artists from Ireland and the UK - Ciara Finnegan, Fintan Friel and Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard. The artists were each invited to create new site-specific works in Walton's New School of Music. The school in the centre of Dublin combines music tuition with innovative approaches to music education.

Change My Life installation view
Change My Life installation view

Iain and Jane's site-specific project was to instigate the first Change My Life exchange in the entrance foyer within Waltons New School of Music. They invited everyone to participate in the exchange. The project is an ambitious attempt to instigate cultural evolution through the exchange of influential ideas. Everyone was invited to exchange an object that has in some way changed their life in return for an object that has changed someone else's life. The proposition promotes the perpetuation of influential ideas, inviting participants to actively seed the evolution of those around them and to be hosts to the influences of others.

Change My Life detail
Change My Life detail

3,000 Change My Life leaflets were distributed in and around Dublin city centre. In the leaflet the artists invite everyone to participate in The Exchange. They ask that first each participant selects something to donate to the exchange. This can be anything that has had a positive influence on the way they think or something that has affected the way they are and has, in some way, changed their life. It might be, for example, a book, a CD, a film, a musical score or a poem.

Change My Life opening party
Change My Life opening party

Each participant is asked to use one of the leaflets provided to write a little about what the object is and how it has influenced them. Next they attach the message to their object and donate it to The Exchange. Finally they select an object donated by someone else to take away. Each exchange of items is recorded on The Inventory. The artists propose that as each item exchanged is loaded with significance it can act as a host for a self replicating pattern of information, infecting its new owner with a spark of its original meaning and potential. There are no absolute rules about how The Exchange works. It is an experiment, and as such is whatever the participants collectively make it.

Change My Life installation view
Change My Life installation view

"It’s that strain of “music thinking” that I’m interested in – practise, repetition, a unique and distinct mode of thinking. Waltons New School of Music is a site dedicated to enabling and developing this new way of thinking, a site where people study music in evening and weekend classes and part-time day classes. And the part-time element of the school seems essential as it somehow grounds the aesthetic practice of the school into everyday lives: it’s not an exclusive site like a music conservatoire, it’s a space where all types of people encounter the process of learning new aesthetic activities, and in particular they encounter the peculiarities of learning an aesthetic activity which interest me: processes of practice – demonstration, mimicry, repetition. It fascinates me that these learning processes of demonstration, mimicry, and repetition have the end result of individuals being capable of instances of independent aesthetic self-expression or expression. Yet that is what happens in music teaching, in art teaching and in language, and that fascination is in many ways at the foundation of Rhythm-A-Ning."

Declan Sheehan, March 2005

Declan Sheehan is curator at Context Galleries, Derry; on Editorial Advisory Board of Circa; and has published in Circa, Film West, Frieze, and Art&Text.

Rhythm-A-Ning invitation card
Rhythm-A-Ning invitation card

The site, Walton's New School of Music, itself is loaded with potential, an environment populated by creative people each inwardly transmitting their individual influences and ways of thinking - brought together by a common interest to learn and evolve through participation, practice, learning and repetition.

Exterior view of Walton's New Music School in Dublin
Exterior view of Walton's New School of Music in Dublin

Walton's New School of Music
69 South Great George's Street

3 April - 30 April 2005
Open 10 am to 10 pm Monday - Thursday.
10 am to 8 pm Friday.
10 am to 6 pm Saturday.
Free admission
For more information, visit the project web site:



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Related works
Change My Life

Related shows
Rhythm-A-Ning in Derry

Related sites
This will change my life
Waltons New Music School
Context Gallery

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