Artwork in Anticipation of Doorknocking Politicians

In the build-up to the local elections of 7th June, Augustine O’Donohue, artist-in-residence with the Data Stories project, in collaboration with the Dublin-based historian Conor McCabe, staged an artistic intervention involving the production and distribution of 18 different custom doormat designs. The mats, printed with a selection of statements, slogans and data relating to the housing crisis, were distributed for free to residents of Dublin 8, the community in which the artist is based and an area particularly affected by housing issues such as homelessness, unaffordability and profit-driven regeneration.

The artists set up a stall on Meath Street on 21st May, creating a space for conversation around housing issues using the doormats as cues. Local residents took doormats home to place outside their homes with the aim of sparking thought and discussion with others, including the politicians who would be arriving on their doorsteps in the coming weeks to garner votes.The intervention produced significant media and political attention, being covered by the Dublin Inquirer, the Irish Independent among others.

Several of the doormats referenced the politics of housing data, such as the growing prevalence of ‘hidden homelessness’ not captured by conventional definitions, and the 2022 census statistic indicating the percentage (41%) of people aged 18-34 living with their parents. As Augustine says, the intervention emerged from “a desire to take the findings of the Data Stories project into communities in a way that could make an impact on their lives.” Furthermore, the idea arose from an interest in how the doorstep itself becomes a political space around election time, inspiring its use as a site for intervention.

Working in collaboration with Conor McCabe and Sam Mutter, a postdoctoral researcher on the project, Augustine will be looking to produce follow-up pieces to the artwork, which could include written works, images or leaflets reflecting on the wider context around the doormats and responses to them. News of these pieces will be communicated through this blog.

A text produced alongside the doormats intervention is available to download here. 

More information on Augustine’s work is available from her website. 

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