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Vivienne Dick

Visibility: Moderate1981

Shot on a handheld Super 8 camera, ‘Visibility: Moderate’ follows American tourist Margaret Ann Irinsky as she travels around Ireland taking in the sites, from the Puck Fair in Kerry to H-Block protests on the streets of Dublin, planting a kiss on the Blarney Stone and running barefoot through the fields. In parts, deliberately recreating scenes from popular John Hinde postcards of Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s. Scenes of windy landscapes, neolithic portal dolmens and busy shopping centres are interspersed with tv adverts and snippets from the radio, creating a sense of realities in flux. Part fiction, part documentary, ‘Visibility: Moderate’ captures the many complexities and contradictions of an Ireland on the cusp of great change.

The tourist encounters a number of recognisable figures within Irish society at the time, including Mary Dunne or ‘Dancing Mary’, a regular performer on Dublin’s O’Connell Street, political prisoner Maureen Gibson, who was involved in the dirty protests in Armagh, and the voices of Nuala O’Faolain, Nell McCafferty and Frank Kelly captured on the airwaves. Other key subjects of the film are members of the Irish Anarchist movement, who the tourist spends time with on arriving in Dublin.

‘Visibility: Moderate’ offers a radical counterpoint to nostalgic representations of Ireland driven by the tourist industry. It brings together the familiar and the strange, documenting the artist’s own reckoning with the politics of her homeland, which, having spent the previous decade living in London and New York, she was encountering as both insider and outsider.

Selected writings about Visibility: Moderate:
– “Interview with Vivienne Dick.”, Vivienne Dick and Scott MacDonald, October, vol. 20, 1982, pp. 83–101. JSTOR,
– “From no wave to national cinema: the cultural landscape of Vivienne Dick’s early films (1978-85)”, Maeve Connolly, 2004, LUX Online,
– “A Particular Incoherence: The films of Vivienne Dick”, Rachel Garfield, 2009, Chapter from “Between Truth and Fiction, The Films of Vivienne Dick”, ed Treasa O’Brian, Crawford Art Centre/LUX publication, 2009,

MediumSuper 8 scanned and restored to HD digital file
DimensionsDuration: 39 min
Credit LineIMMA Collection: Purchase, 2019
EditionEdition 1 of 4, plus one artists proof.
Item NumberIMMA.4136
Not on view
Image Caption
Vivienne Dick, Visibility: Moderate, 1981, Super 8 scanned and restored to HD digital file, Duration: 39 min, Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art, Purchase, 2019

For copyright information, please contact the IMMA Collections team: [email protected].

About the Artist

Vivienne Dick

Vivienne Dick is an internationally celebrated filmmaker and artist. Born in Donegal in 1950 she began making Super 8 films while living in New York in the late seventies. Dick was a key figure within ‘No Wave’, a short-lived avant-garde scene in the late 1970s in New York led by a collective of musicians, filmmakers and artists including Nan Goldin, Lydia Lunch, Arto Lindsay, James Chance and many others. Her work is marked by an interest in urban street life, social and sexual politics, and the history of ideas. Retrospectives of her work include Seville European Film Festival (2016,) Tate Modern (2010), Crawford Art Gallery (2009), and Berlin Film Festival (1988). Group shows include Big as Life, MoMA, New York, The Whitney Biennial, Golden Thread Gallery and The Untold Want, RHA. Her work has shown at Oberhausen, Courtisane, BFI London, Lisbon Estoril, CPH: DOX Copenhagen and New York Film Festivals, amongst others. A DVD of three of her films was published by LUX and a collection was published by Crawford Art Gallery in collaboration with LUX in 2009. Dick has work is in the collections of MoMA, New York, Anthology Archives and the Irish Film Archives, and her films are distributed by LUX London and The Film Maker’s Cooperative, New York. In 2017 IMMA presented 93% STARDUST, a survey exhibition of Dick’s work.
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