Sustainment Experiments: THE PLOT - VISUAL

VISUAL Centre for Contemporary Art &
The George Bernard Shaw Theatre

Sustainment Experiments: THE PLOT

Deirdre O'Mahony's new project on the grounds of VISUAL

2021 - 2024 |

THE PLOT has been planted to inspire and change cultural attitudes to farming and climate change. It considers future food security, biodiversity and resilience in the face of climate change.

Potato ridges were borne out of the need for food security in Ireland’s past. The ridges at this site have been planted by artist Deirdre O’Mahony and her long-term collaborators the Loy (foot-plough) Association of Ireland in a hexagram shape from the I Ching, the Book of Changes, an ancient Chinese divination text.

We asked the I Ching:

What is the future of sustainable food production in Ireland given climate change?

The answer was:

Earth over Mountain. Modesty creates success. Balance and adjust things by cutting through pride and complication. Reduce what is overdeveloped. Don’t try to advance yourself. Beware of conceit and arrogance. Be consistent and resilient. Don’t follow policy. Do the right thing.

Once the ground is cleared of grass by the potato crop, it will be planted in Spring with sainfoin. This animal fodder has many beneficial attributes for livestock, soil and biodiversity and was once widely used in Europe until it fell out of use with the industrialisation of agriculture. It is loved by bees who make highly prized honey from the flowers. Sainfoin will produce for five years or more without re-planting or disturbing the fragile soil ecology.

THE PLOT is part of SUSTAINMENT EXPERIMENTS, a public artwork by artist Deirdre O’Mahony that considers what actions can be taken in the face of ecological and climate crises.


John Whyte (Chair), Gerry Mullins, Gerry Browne & Thomas Tiernan, representing the Loy Association of Ireland & VISUAL Production team Anthony Walsh, Derek Blanche and Keith Bowe. Manure courtesy Bryan O’Connell

THE PLOT is at the rear of VISUAL beside Loading Bay 1.

Watch an interview with Deirdre O'Mahony

Listen to an interview with Paul Totterdell on growing sainfoin and a presentation by Stuart Meikle on soil ecology and regeneration in conversation with farmer Suzanna Crampton

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