John Beattie: A Line of Inquiry

Sunday 17 November 2013 – Sunday 26 January 2014
John Beattie: A Line of Inquiry | Sunday 17 November 2013 – Sunday 26 January 2014 | Fort Dunree

Opening Reception Saturday 16 November at 3pm

In 1798, amid fears of a French invasion, there were rumours that a French fleet was on its way to Lough Swilly, Co.Donegal. Lord Cavan visited Dunree and fired a canon ball across the mouth of Lough Swilly as a measurement to test the defences. The shot hit Knockalla on the far side of the bay; as a result of this, he decided Dunree was suitable site as a fort, and this measurement resulted in Fort Dunree being built.

In response to this site as an abandoned military base, its history, and how it now functions as a place of cultural heritage, with its military museum & art gallery, John Beattie takes the role of artist as military operations manager, with his crew, and equipment (weapons). The Artist orchestrated an operation with his crew and aviation pilot, to fly a drone from the hilltop bunkers of Fort Dunree, through the abandoned military base, into the adjacent art gallery space, to land the drone onto a helipad, located inside the art gallery. Once the drone landed in the art gallery, it was programmed to execute a message (drawing) onto the helipad, using a scripted code, wireless computer software, and a customised device attached to the drone to draw a message. The results left on-sight for the viewer on entering the gallery.

This intervention, reflecting Lord Cavan’s intentions, responds directly to the political/historical landscape of the site, while also the potential to reference recent events been deployed and debated: “There will be no boots on the ground” – President Obama.

About the Artist

Born in 1980, John Beattie is from Co.Donegal and currently lives and works in Dublin. He has been artist in residence at Fire Station Artists’ Studio, Dublin, 2006-2009; Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, 2010; Temple Bar Gallery & Studios, Dublin, 2011; and The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin 2011. He has exhibited nationally and internationally with recent selected exhibitions including: ‘An Artist, The Studio, and all the rest’, solo show, The Royal Hibernian Academy, curated by Patrick Murphy, Dublin, 2012; ‘Are We There Yet?’, McGill Summer School, Donegal, curated by Fiona Mulholland, 2012; ‘Long Drawn Out’, Catalyst Arts Gallery, Belfast, 2013; ‘The Artist Studio Series’, The Process Room, The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2011; ‘The Drawing Centre’, Viewing Program, New York, 2011; ‘The Artist Studio Series (If The Art…)’, The Return Gallery, Goethe Institute, Dublin, 2010; ‘Fragile’, Le Carre Bonnat, Musee Bonnat, curated by Francois Loustau, France, 2009; ‘LOOP Art Fair’, Espai Ubu, curated by Keith Patrick & Maites Lores, Barcelona, 2008; ‘Open Archive’, ARGOS, Centre for Art & Media, curated by Katerina Gregos, Brussels, 2007. Awards include: Arts Council Projects Award, 2012; Arts Council Visual Artist Bursary, 2006, 2007, 2010; Donegal County Council Artist Bursary, 2005, 2006, 2013; Open EV+A Award, Limerick City Gallery of Art, 2005; Arts Humanities Research Board, 2003-2005.


The Artist would like to acknowledge the support of The Arts Council, Fire Station Artists’ Studios, Visual Artist Ireland, Film Equipment Hire Limited, Good Looking Films, Guy Robbins, Prof. David McKweon, Karl Burke, Steven Flynn, the staff of Artlink and Fort Dunree Military Museum in the assistance, production & post production of this new work.

Sunday 17 November 2013 – Sunday 26 January 2014
Fort Dunree
Buncrana, Inishowen
Co Donegal
Telephone: +353 74 93 63 469
Opening hours / start times:
Monday 10:30 - 18:00
Tuesday 10:30 - 18:00
Wednesday 10:30 - 18:00
Thursday 10:30 - 18:00
Friday 10:30 - 18:00
Saturday 10:30 - 18:00
Sunday 13:00 - 18:00
Admission / price: Free
Open Sunday by appointment. Closed Dec 20th to Jan 7th.

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