Filmbase closure a sad day for Dublin
Sir, – As an artist working in Dublin city, I am writing with great concern after the closure of yet another one of the capital’s cultural organisations, namely Filmbase, Temple Bar.
The pattern of art and cultural spaces drying up as our “economy mends” is a disgrace. Spaces like Filmbase are few and far between. The difficulty of finding an independent art venue or an exhibition space in Dublin is immense, and as a young artist it is disappointing to see how little space there is for my peers while Dublin is continually being plugged as a “creative city”.
The problems are numerous, but it all comes down to a language of capital and business and a lack of wisdom about the alternative wealth these kinds of spaces bring to a city. Not only do they create a landscape of vibrant culture, but spaces like Filmbase are spaces of democracy. These are the places where people can express conflicts and opinions, where they can turn these opinions into art which can then be shared and talked about. These spaces have more value than an annual turnover and their effect far transcends what can be expressed in a budget plan.
Temple Bar, once a real grassroots cultural quarter, is now a tourist-grabbing mess.
What I want to know is why the Arts Council became involved at what clearly was the very end of a lengthy financial struggle, rather than an earlier intervention when the space needed real support? The very essence of Temple Bar’s cultural quarter is about the State’s support of grassroot cultural endeavours. Why hasn’t Filmbase been properly supported?
And the most important question is, what is going to take its place? Because we have enough food vendors and we have an over saturation of tacky gift shops, overpriced pubs, fast-food chains and dress boutiques. These things clogging our city centre are not culture, and they do not feed democracy; they feed greed and disinterest, which are eroding our cultural ecosystem. – Yours, etc,