Context 156 - September 2018

24 C O N T E X T 1 5 6 : S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 8 Friday 22 June Friday day school in an annual exhibition and festival open to the local community. This has led to this historic fortified building taking on a new more open and engaging use, while the different curators have brought variety and diversity to this small, rural community. Although the tower has long been seen and used as an important symbol for Cushendall, its new use provides a more open and engaging role within the town, clearly demonstrating how our built heritage can evolve and change to accommodate different uses, sometimes radi- cally different from their origins. It remains as the focal point of the town, but as one of creativ- ity, rather than suppression. It demonstrates how the vision of one person can transform attitudes towards a building and the relationship between a community and their built heritage. The Curfew Tower will continue its cur- rent use for the foreseeable future, although Drummond highlighted the obvious problems of running a building that generates no income and the potential need to turn to outside funding agencies, without compromising the core of the project at Curfew Tower. The works there continue to challenge the perceptions of the local community and those beyond about what The Curfew Tower: stay here, make art and share heritage Keynote speaker: Bill Drummond The keynote speaker, the artist and former member of the 1980s pop group The KLF Bill Drummond, made a dramatic late entrance before engaging the audience with a tale of how he sought to create world peace by placing a portrait of Elvis at the North Pole. And yes, you did read that correctly. Drummond’s quest for world peace ulti- mately led him to an abandoned tower in County Antrim. The Curfew Tower was origi- nally constructed in 1809 as a prison for idlers and rioters in Cushendall, but lay empty when Drummond purchased it in 1995, with the original idea of using it to house a large book, bound in reindeer hide. In need of a practical use for the building, Drummond used it as an artist’s residence, inviting art groups and collectives from across Europe to take up one-year residencies, with the proviso that they would each leave a piece of art that represented the tower, Cushendall and the local community. The residencies culminate Bill Drummond delivers the keynote address to delegates in the Riddel Hall lecture theatre

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