The Blue Rooms

City Assembly House, 58 Sth William St, Dublin 2, September 2-14. Prints are available for sale in the online shop.

Little lives, Photo of a projection at The Mortuary chapel, Goldenbridge cemetery, Dublin 8.

The Blue Rooms’ is a series of projected images in domestic rooms in houses in Dublin City, photographed between 2019 and 2023. The rooms are various, and represent a cross-section of domestic space in the city. They present a poetics of private space, of interiority, intimacy, and ‘home’. The rooms depict domestic space as both singular and universal. In these works ‘Home’ is the same, but different, for all. It is the first place, a lifelong companion. Home is a repository and an archive, memories cling to home. At home, Time is heavy with their weight, it flows slower than outside. Home-time has a density, like matter. Moments contain moments that belong to other homes and other times. A room contains all rooms. Home time is the time of mind, of the inner world. Familiar objects conjure a multitude of similar objects. This chair recalls ‘her’ chair. That curtain lightly fluttering conjures another evening, another place, and an old friend. The sound of dinner plates carries the intimacy of dishes done, a quiet house, time rolling over. The ‘Blue Rooms’ re-call moments, evenings, cups of tea, leavings, and happy and sad days. 

My past work, including the projects 10 Dreams in Dublin in 2003, and ‘Wounded Time’ in 2010 were in and about Dublin City. They presented the City as a ‘mystic writing pad’ 1, written and overwritten by the design and building of the day, by the comings and goings of the citizens. They presented the City as a place where nothing is lost, where everything remains, albeit invisible. This City contained many versions of itself, many ghosts. The project ‘The Blue Rooms’ imagines a city experienced privately in one’s own room as a memory. The images reflect the alienating impact of social media and its polarising effect on social/public life. They express the sadness of a mediated social life that distances us from the physical city, the public square, and from any unexpected encounter. This is a City that plays out as reflections on the wall of each room, as sounds of life just outside the window. It is a city of longing. In ‘The Blue Rooms’, the City and by extension, our public/social life, play out in shadows that haunt private rooms. In ‘The Blue Rooms’ the City is a series of rooms containing micro cities. In this version of the city, each citizen inhabits his/her own city, a hybrid place composed of collaged memories of different cities, and different times. This City is one, and many, familiar but strange, melancholy. The work develops earlier thinking and making about City and memory, private and public space, and the Visible and the Invisible City.  

Tracy Staunton 2023

1. Writing in ‘A Note upon The Mystic Writing Pad’, Freud (1925) proposed that memory exists as a permanent trace in the psyche. It is written on a ‘mystic writing pad’. The mystic writing pad may be wiped clean like a slate and written over by new perceptions, while retaining a permanent but invisible trace of all. This invisible text is only rendered visible in certain lights. The pad corresponds to the conscious and unconscious mind:  the conscious mind which is continually overwritten by new perceptions and the unconscious which is invisible and in which everything is permanently written, and never lost. The City is a Mystic Writing Pad.

Waiting house
Rachel’s house
The Leaving
The hours
A dream of the City
A day in Berlin
Outside, inside
House pipes
Five past eight
Three O’Clock
City in the cave
Falling City
A memory of the City
The Street in the house
Another evening
That day in Berlin
House coat
That time
House Fugue
A lovely day
Memory chest
In the afternoon
Yellow moon
Comings and goings
The City sleeps
Another place like this
Stopped City