Third Bridge

In collabioration with Deidre Power


"The urban is defined as the place where people walk around, find themselves standing before and inside piles of objects, experience the intertwining of the threads of their activities until they become unrecognisable, entangle situations in such a way that they engender unexpected situations."

Henri Lefebvre, La révolution urbaine

Orsmond House, Limerick, Ireland

Andrew Kearney and Deirdre Power were both members of the DUSAA 5 collective that created the original Third Bridge in 1983 and from 1984 to 1989 were founding members of the All+10 Sorts collective whose projects included proposals for the redevelopment of the former Debtors Prison as a multi-discipline art centre and the creation of artists' studios at 11, 12, 13 Patrick Street, a site now occupied by Ormston House. Power and Kearney continue to create work in Limerick and to participate in various civic projects.

Towards the end of the 1982-83 academic year, first year students of fine art at the School of Art and Design were asked to examine the concepts of 'place' and 'space' through a land-art project. Five of the class formed a group, a collective they named DUSAA 5, and for two weeks worked to realise their brief. Against the background of growing public impatience with the drawn-out planning for a new bridge across the Shannon - sometimes referred to as 'the third bridge', DUSAA 5 decided to make a modest proposal.

Their Third Bridge would facilitate an analysis of several interrelated issues: the linking of diverse and contrasting locales; the crossing of borders; the presence (or absence) of the citizen from the planning process. Thus, in some respects, Third Bridge exemplified what Suzanna Lacy would later refer to as 'new genre' public art.

In 2015 Ormston House invited Andrew Kearney and Deirdre Power to revisit the events of June 1983. Much has changed in the intervening thirty years but the recent proposal to re-name the bridge that eventually opened in 1989 as Shannon Bridge (the names of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and J.P. McManus have both been floated), and the proposal to construct a new footbridge from Arthur's Quay to King John's Castle as a tourist 'destination', continue to raise questions regarding the control of public space and the purpose and benefit of such projects. This is where the artists position Third Bridge.