A publicity shot for Angela's Ashes from last year: Frank and Malachy Jnr are running down the centre of a greyish green Limerick street. Both are drenched. The taller hunches his shoulders with cold while the smaller ginger-haired boy tries to grab the sleeve of his big brother to keep up. The dampness in the cobble-stone street visibly rots the buildings to either side like a sunken ship.
Angela's Ashes

       An artist spends five months making a number of young people run, showing them how to make the T-shirts and produce digital still and motion photographs.

       After some neat passing outside the box, Diego Maradona takes one step to the left of a Greek defender and curls the ball into the top corner. He turns and starts to run towards the camera, a white number 10 on the front of his purple top. He keeps running, leaving teammates trailing in his wake. It's obvious something is different about his face as he nears the lens. The cameraman doesn't back off. Maybe some viewers do, just as they did when the first footage of a moving train was projected.
       Running backwards. Running on stilts. Running and somersaulting. It isn't a mindless or solitary act; thinking while you run ... if I'm wearing an A and there's an R over to my left, then if I move to the right, past the T, then we can spell....

       In eight separate locations throughout Newcastle, Gateshead and South Tyneside, one hundred young people produce T-shirts spelling out GREAT NORTH RUN and run with them on, creating new words as they change position. Wonder at their ease with digital photographic equipment and wonder why they don't like running.

       In 1979 Greil Marcus discusses the frequency of the word 'survive' in pop music during the preceding decade. With the act of running, up until the nineties there are numerous metaphorical uses - born to run, running up that hill, band on the run, keep on running - which leave interpretation open (running for freedom or as a challenge?). Since 1990 there have been far fewer. No distance left to run. Always on the run. The doors are closing a little. Do the young people that grew up in the nineties have any wider cultural experience of the act of running?
       Six still frames from the young peoples' video footage are enlarged to 48-sheet billboard format - split seconds, brief moments that work as static images. Just picture an image of 40,000 runners wearing similar T-shirts over thirteen miles.

Alan Dunn, October 2000