november, 2021

01nov09:3011:00F Hallinan: Making Soap - an introduction to Ultimology09:30 - 11:00(GMT+00:00) View in my timeSession (Hopin)Event type:WorkshopTopic:Dying WellSession ID: :Workshop 1B


(Monday) 09:30 - 11:00(GMT+00:00) View in my time

Event Details


Ultimology is the study of that which is dead or dying across a range of disciplines and contexts. Within the framework of the collaborative project, the Department of Ultimology, curator Kate Strain and artist Fiona Hallinan have developed Ultimology as a curatorial strategy, initially based in Trinity College Dublin, organising workshops, events, rituals, a radio drama and a series of artistic commissions. Hallinan is currently undertaking a PhD research project at LUCA School of Arts/KU Leuven in Ghent, Belgium that will explore how Ultimology could be developed as a concept for transformative discourse in an educational context. The Department of Ultimology proposes that close examination of that which is dead or dying offers an entry point into processes of change in diverse areas including technological progress, environmental change and knowledge production. Our research takes place through individual interviews, live questionnaire filling events, hands-on workshops and a monthly reading group hosted by Fiona Hallinan entitled On Death, a gathering (currently held online) with a goal of elaborating an understanding of the conceptual and metaphorical dimensions of death.

In previous projects we have used Ultimology as a way of gaining insight into the work of engineers working in network technology through a residency at CONNECT Research Centre for Future Networks, investigated cultural tradition in Styria in Austria as part of a research project in the Grazer Kunstverein for the steirischer herbst festival of performance and art, and as a theme for a cross disciplinary exhibition and conference at the Trinity Long Room Hub. As a contribution to Borrowed Time, Fiona Hallinan will introduce a small group of participants to the practice of Ultimology through a lecture accompanying an instructional workshop on the process of making hand soap. The presentation will introduce and discuss the development of the project of Ultimology and our findings, with a particular focus on our investigation of dying practices in the context of the University, technology and obsolescence.

Throughout the process of making soap, we will explore themes of order, care, degradation, waste, tactility and maintenance which have emerged in our research in death and dying, and make reference to the work of artists such as Mierle Laderman Ukeles, whose self-initiated residency with the New York Sanitation Department sought ‘to counter the garbagification of the object world and to force still earthly humans to construct a different relationship to material’ (Jackson, Shannon, Social Works, Routledge 2011). This workshop and talk will be developed with the expectation that it may need to be hosted online, allowing individuals to participate from any location. In this case in advance of the workshop, a list of materials required and potential sources for these will be distributed to prospective participants. Multiple methods of casting and adding material to the soap will be offered as part of the workshop, and Hallinan will draw on her own artistic practice and use of soap as a material in recent projects.

Speakers for this event

  • Fiona Hallinan

    Fiona Hallinan

    I am an artist, researcher and co-founder of the Department of Ultimology, based in Brussels, Belgium. I am currently a doctoral candidate at LUCA School of Arts/KU Leuven, and part of the Orthogonal Methods Group based at CONNECT, Trinity College Dublin. My artistic work is often project based and collaborative, with outcomes including installation, writing and events. I am interested in thresholds, gestures of hospitality, embodied knowledge and instigating uncanny encounters between individuals and things. My work has been shown at Kerlin Gallery, IMMA, Mother’s Tankstation and Brown University.