Art@work, FDK Engineering, Ballaghadereen, Co. Roscommon.
Fabricated stainless steel cook unit
Roscommon Arts Office's Art@work residency places professional artists to create work within Roscommon based businesses. Soup Station was the result of a 3 week residency at FDK Engineering, a stainless steel fabrication plant based in Ballaghadereen.
This project was interested in the potential of a functional art object that would suggest and actually accommodate new social and cultural possibilities. The result of this intense work at FDK is Soup Station. As well as being an extremely utilitarian structure (that could easily be absorbed into everyday life and fast lose its status as an art object), Soup Station is borne out of investigation in the Ballaghadereen area and the desire to generate new social potential. It is an experimental conception of what a work of ‘public art’ can be, and how it can serve as a vehicle to open up new territories and points of interaction.
To ground these ideas, Soup Station is accompanied by a manual/recipe book which charts this process, from design and fabrication in the FDK workshop, to interactions with diverse individuals in the town of Ballaghadereen, using the question of what makes a good soup as a meeting point. This culminated in a collection of recipes which alludes to the new diversity in Irish society, as well as being nourishing meals to be prepared in their own right. With this project, soup was envisaged as the ideal medium for making new and inclusive cultural associations. Soup Station as a structure functions to generate this social capital.
The synthesis of the fabrication process and the collection of recipes from people in the area came when a soup was cooked up for everyone at FDK. This was a way of thanking all the good people at FDK for their support and hospitality. It was also Soup Station’s launch and first sortie into a real social context.
Soup Station was subsequently exhibited at Roscommon Arts Centre along with the work of the five other participating artists in the Art@work program. The components of the work are now in everyday use.