Critical Writing Index

The Archival Fourth Dimension

by Sarah Pierce

Afterall, Nov 23, 2009, pp. 1-3

In Sarah Pierce’s video essay The Archival Fourth Dimension, excerpts from four Irish-language television programs from the 1950s and 60s are appropriated and used to complicate Ireland's perception of its past and identity. In this accompanying written piece, Pierce explains how notions of language, nation, history and territory are constructed in these newsreels.

In an attempt to work out the implications of the question “what does it mean to erase someone else's presence?” Sarah Pierce searches through the archive in order to present alternative readings of the past. This move is made to expose and address the lingering colonial bias in these videos that contributed both to conceptions of what it means to be Irish and to exclude groups from inclusion. In looking at newsreels from Ireland in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Pierce discusses the conflation of nation, representation and language and that works to build an exclusionary Irish identity.

ITEM 2009.164 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

The Archival Fourth DimensionSarah Pierce