What is SUBSET? Who is SUBSET? 

The former is continuously developing, and the latter has been in a state of flux since inception. To us, neither are relevant.

Why & How? These are the important questions. 

Cultural sovereignty and creative autonomy have always been, and will always be the inspiration and motivation for our actions – whatever they might be and however they might manifest. 

This raison d’être became diluted at certain points of our lifespan due to the trials and tribulations experienced along the way. Some of which have been so severe that they have brought us beyond breaking point. Alas, we stayed the course and managed to survive. 

This experience has turned us feral and opened our eyes to the realities of life in Dublin and Ireland. What is sold to us by our government, state agencies, corporates, leaders and influencers is largely an entirely different existence to that of the average citizen.

The process by which our scenes, cities and the nation itself develops should be democratic in both principle and action. Whereas it seems they are largely governed by hollow language and vacuous promises. 

Our experience predominantly exists within the microcosm of arts & culture, however we have been fortunate that this area has given us the opportunity to look behind the curtain of many areas of society. 

We take exception to the sugar coating that is applied to the arts, culture, housing, homelessness and politics. In our increasingly artificial world, profile is valued over substance and conformity is chosen over courage. Ireland can be different, we can lead in a world of followers and lay down a marker for other capitals and countries.

That same old question is probably cropping up at this point for some readers – who is SUBSET? Or most likely – who do SUBSET think they are? We appreciate the above may sound grandiose to a small mind. We’re a problem for the fake and a solution for the real. If you’ve got an issue with that, we suggest you join the queue and wait patiently.

On the 22nd of March 2022, we will meet Dublin City Council in the District Court for hearing & judgement on failure to comply with enforcement notices in respect of their requested removal of our public artworks.

These are criminal proceedings which carry the potential for legal costs, retrospective and present fines, conviction and imprisonment.

We have played a game of legislative cat & mouse with our City Council for almost a decade. You can read more on the matter here. During this period we have painted hundreds of murals, paved the way for other artists to do the same, addressed important societal issues and curated and managed the Grey Area Project I and II with 45 artists and 150 artworks – raising €22,500.00 for homelessness. 

It seems to be a commonly held misconception that we believe there should be no legislation in respect of the governance of public artworks. This isn’t true or remotely accurate and we have in fact gone to great lengths to engage with our city council, government ministers and even our president regarding potential solutions. All of which drew on inspiration from effective, efficient and successful models employed by multiple cities worldwide. 

Despite these efforts we have made little progress by way of a change in legislation or governance. Therefore we were left with no other choice but to either remove the artworks or address the matter through our legal system, at the expense of the taxpayer. 

It is important at this point to note that we have engaged with our City Council on multiple occasions to produce public artworks which have been applauded by the public and council alike. And in the midst of these legal proceedings we are being commissioned by them to do so again. It seems we have similar ideals and values but we’re at an impasse as to how they should be cultivated and achieved. 

These proceedings will be the first time a case of this nature will be heard before the courts and therefore the ruling will set legal precedent for any future similar hearings. As the date grows closer there are whispers of the matter being settled prior to the hearing. If we wanted to settle the matter outside of court we would have saved ourselves the years of hassle that this has been and done so already.

We’re going to meet the situation head on, and win or lose we’re going to show that bureaucracy should not be left unchecked for fear of the repercussions. Public and community art is something that we believe should be grassroots driven as it is a representation of our local communities and our society on the whole. It’s not something which we believe can be instigated or directed by our local authorities, at least not within the confines of existing legislation.

We will be tokenizing both of the artworks in question and they will be released as single edition NFTs on the day of the case. They will be minted live that morning in Ireland’s first NFT Gallery in mend. The addition of the artworks to the blockchain will immortalise the artworks and the case, and it will ensure they leave an indelible mark regardless of the court’s ruling. 

We will also be releasing a range of merch to raise funds to assist us with the outcome in the event it doesn’t go our way, or to fund the creation of future artworks if it does. Whatever may come, we’re delighted to be a part of Irish history.

If you vibe with what we’re about, show us some love and spread the word. The more eyes on, the more interesting the situation. If you want to hear more you can listen to us chatting with mend on their podcast series, check @mend.hx for details coming soon.