School Play

Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details


  • Permanent installation of design on school yard and series of 12 photographs in Castleknock Education School, Dublin 15. Completed Feb 2009.

Further iterations of this work were exhibited in:

  • Nameless Science, Apexart Gallery New York (curated by Henk Slager) 10th Dec 2008 – 31st Jan 2009. (group exhibition)
  • The Look of Learning, Glucksman Gallery, Cork (curated by Matt Packer), 19 Nov 2010 – 20 March 2011. (group exhibition)

AUTODIDACT Green on Red Gallery, 15 April – 14 May 2011. (solo exhibition)

Related Published articles:

  • Ronan McCrea ‘School Play’ in Visual Arts Newsletter, Dublin, May 2009
  • Ronan McCrea, ‘Sequences Scenarios & Locations continued’ (with a Response by Felicitas Thun) in MaHKUzine. Journal of Artistic Research, Utrecht, Issue #7/Summer 09.


School Play was the outcome of a public art commission associated with the construction of a new school building for a state primary school, catering for children from ages 4 – 12. School Play consists of two main elements: a series of thirty colour photographs and a permanent design for a school play yard consisting of a series of graphic set of circles and arcs applied in various colours onto the tarmac and also adjacent footpaths and car park. This element of the work has a dual function: primarily as utilitarian design– acting as boundaries and markings for un-prescribed play and secondly the design functions as a ‘set’ or ‘stage’ for the creation of a series of photographs.

The second element of the School Play is a series of photographs, which were all shot from an elevated position at play-time. No directions are given from photographer to subject. The circular markings become a set – in the sense of a stage set, or a film set – for everyday action, where random actions become relational. The play becomes choreography. Miniature dramas and moments, both individual and collective become related through spatial arrangement. School Play also explores the possibilities of creating a photographic portrait of a collective body or community, while also addressing that community as a primary audience, and also engaging with a wider audience.

The composition of the photographs recall Rodchencko’s street photography of angles and perspectives and his utopian notion of a new subjectivity revealed by new perspectives. The form of the work also acknowledge the historical methodologies of sequencing, series and typology from Muybridge, Neue Sachlichkeit, the Düsseldorf School to Conceptual art practices of 60s. Twelve of the photographs are printed to 112 × 90 cm and permanently installed in the corridors and common spaces of the school building.