In 2007 Bik van der Pol noticed a half
finished site. A nice green pitch, a half built
concrete stand, with fences all around. Nothing
seemed to happen there, even though it was
located in the very heart of Tallaght, where
new construction developments – hotels, shops,
housing and office facilities – rapidly arose
and surrounded this silent site. This site was
Tallaght Stadium, a contemporary ruin where
time seemed to have frozen.
This site appeared to be a major conflict
zone, in which two sports clubs -soccer club
Shamrock Rovers and the local Gaelic football
club Thomas Davis-, and the community and South
Dublin County Council were the main players.
The construction of the stadium started in
October 2000, but had been delayed due to
financial problems and legal disputes between
the two clubs. Finally, the first soccer game
in the finished stadium took place in spring
In general, history is usually very quickly
erased from the memory of communities in areas
were new urban developments are taking place.
The controversial history over the use of this
stadium created a focus on a public space of
shared interest: this site was, long before it
was brought into use as a community stadium,
firmly grounded in Tallaght. This history
should not just be erased and forgotten.
Public Arena is a tryptic using three distinct mediums, which explores, animates and celebrates the socio-political journey of Tallaght Stadium.
- Public Arena, a video film (33 min.), made in collaboration with students of Tallaght Community School. The script for this work was compiled from verbatim interviews with people from all sides of the negotiations of the Tallaght Stadium initiative. The video work is accompanied by a publication with the script for the work, designed by David Bennewith.
- a neon public art work based on the Thomas Davis club motto: Nascann Dáshlán Daoine (Challenge Unites People)
- a live event and photo shoot with an enormous 8 meter big ball in Tallaght Stadium
Public Arena was commissioned by South Dublin County Council‘s ’ In Context 3 public arts programme.