Just over the border

Not far from here.

Just over the border.

Is a place I know.

It’s out of sight. Hidden real-good.

No one would ever find it.

Not even in the best conditions.

Not far from here.

Just over the border. Is a place.

No one will ever find it. It’s so well concealed.

Like a time-machine, a Tardis. You can’t see it.

Even when your stood on top of it.

I go there every day.

People are surprised to find I ever go away.

I go there every day.

People don’t think I ever go away.

Sometimes when the rain is down.

I stay at home and mope around.

It doesn’t do me good. But I get that way sometimes.

Can’t get out of the house. Can’t get out of my mind.

That’s why I cross the border.

Stepping out across the borders.

Of Time and Space continuums.


Dan Shipsides and Neal Beggs have worked together since 2004 under the name Shipsides and Beggs Projects. Initially their collaboration drew from and developed their passion for climbing and mountaineering as a way of exploring intertwined nodes of art and life and the breakdowns of both. This has led to many topics and ways of working across music, painting, drawing, performance, video, installation and sculpture. Reflecting the organic creep of ecology and culture, hybridity and the lack of observance of boundaries, form a key driver to this creativity.

Whilst no longer especially drawing from climbing, their co-practice continues to exploit the dynamic emerging between two people climbing together, where being joined through necessity by a rope, becomes a co-creative model for developing art, sharing life and engaging in the wider world. This dynamic enables a organic pattern where (mis)adventures form the backbone of their creative process which becomes a pot into which all ingredients can be thrown. Their practice does not aim towards a unified voice but instead, an oscillating set of ideas and outcomes, at times shared and at times disparate, and often beyond the control of either. Through this the work embraces wide sets of curiosities and activities, from mountains and music to madness and magic, taking their practice far beyond a tale of two climbers who became artists.

The term of Swamp Things strikes a chord with their practice, where all kinds of unregulated and organic process are at play. Recent works e.g. Where the Lines End and Another Fine Mess, explore fluid water-techo-bodies of borderlands and a terrestrial borderland mapping of the stars, both concerning liminal spaces and entities which reflect potential access to an otherworld. Here the idea of boats became a central theme aligned with potential interdimensional travel. This led to making a boat, “Sheebang” which is a hybrid, self-designed vessel, part traditional (with curragh materials and techniques), part modern (Shipsides’ father was a noted boat-builder of racing dinghies) and a conceptual painting (oil on canvas stretched over a frame) and is very much a pata-perceptual product of where wilful imagination, myth and personal experience meets reality; as they say “it’s the whole Sheebang”.

Shipsides and Beggs Projects have exhibited nationally and internationally including; in the US; American University Museum-Katzen Gallery (Another Fine Mess), in France; La Cuisine, Nègrepelisse (The Lament of the Accolade Tree), Château-Gontier (Gothic Cinema) and CIAC, Carros (Frontiers & other songs of Freedom), in Belgium; Aliceday Gallery (Vigil | Star) and L’Orangerie, Bastogne (Still Not Out of the Woods – Zombie Line), in Italy; Microclima / Catalyst Arts (Venice Biennale collateral – The Iron Way), In Australia; ACCA, Melbourne (Desire Lines), in Ireland; at VISUAL, Carlow (The Sky is Blue), and at The MAC, Belfast (Still Not Out of The Woods – YUPA STAR).

Dan Shipsides is based at Orchid Studios and teaches in the Belfast School of Art. Neal Beggs, based in France near Nantes, teaches at the ENSA Bourges School of Art.



This work was commissioned by The Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

This Shipsides and Beggs Project was generously supported by Solas Nua.