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By Michele Horrigan
Bomb Blog, November 1, 2011.

Mexican artist Oswaldo Ruiz has spent considerable time exploring Ireland’s landscape, economy and politics since completing a residency at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in 2010. The video and photographic project, Askeaton Idle, was produced by Ruiz during his residency in the Welcome to the Neighbourhood programme, run by Askeaton Contemporary Arts in Limerick. As a model for a series of nocturnal trips in the town of Askeaton and the surrounding countryside, Ruiz considered the fable and lament of Sweeney, an ancient Irish King who was cursed to be half man, half bird, forever to roam throughout the land. He spent his life leaping from place to place, mad and exiled, lamenting and composing verse as he travelled. In a resuscitation of the myth, Ruiz journeyed around West Limerick for two weeks, his camera moving amongst streets, fields, yards and inside an ancient ring fort with an eerie, often surreal direction. His wanderings led him to find the proverbial road to nowhere, a mile-long tarmacadam lane built for an unrealized industrial estate, ending abruptly into a field. One night Ruiz constructed a sculpture there with a variety of found objects. Formally akin to a tree, upon a countryside road and in the evening, Ruiz’ piece evoked a place for Sweeney to finally perch and rest. Moreover, his project, as with Reynolds and McCarthy, suggest that another drama might be played out in these places: a provisional, live version of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, where whatever might happen in the future is replaced with the need to establish an environmental consciousness of the present.