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Food to match the landscape.
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A Romantic Interlude is the title given to a work that exists at different times as a structure, object, event and super 8mm film (all images here). This work is a response to my research into representations of the Leitrim landscape and emotional attachments to it, my own included. These representations, visual and textual, ranged from the Lovely Leitrim tourist board films of the 1980s to more current journalistic texts in papers such as The Irish Times. I’ve been particularly interested in recent migrations to the county: ‘Leitrim’ is a place, but becomes a kind of ideal when spoken about from afar. 

 

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After a good three weeks, the rainbow finally submitted to the heavy rain and winds of this uniquely cruel Irish ‘summer’ and fallen. The fall has also broken it.
I had thought to gather the team again (or another team) to carry out repairs – I welcomed the idea of the structure as something vulnerable that was in need of attention and care. However in the end I decided not to pursue this: aside from safety concerns, I was won over by a plea for ‘non revival and non permanence’. So the rainbow will most likely by rescued and removed… perhaps with something left in its place as a very, very modest monument.

 

It has been a rather sudden change here. Unfinished houses and 
housing estates in the landscape are now casually described as 
abandoned rather than in progress.
Artist: Gareth Kennedy; Composer: Ian Wilson; Musician: Cathal Roche; photographs by Sarah Browne.
A white van with two men in it arrive on site (an abandoned housing development). They are wearing hi-vis jackets. The van evokes breakfast rolls, Lucozade and bad takeaway coffee.
They exit the van, unpacking a series of large green bags and a set of wooden sections. They assemble a lattice with the wooden sections – they become floor sections – and a flat yellow hexagon is placed on top.
A sound system is assembled.
The bulky green bags are zipped open and a mass of pale yellow, plasticy material is pulled out and lifted over to the floor. It looks like a big primrosey, marshmallowy thing. The colour of it exactly matches the new housing development up on the hill in the background. (This particular colour of exterior housepaint in the early 2000s is to magnolia in seventies hallways and sittingrooms).
A generator is switched on and a fan or compressor can be heard. The soft yellowy mass begins to gain in volume, the mallow being filled with air: quickly within the mass distinct forms begin to emerge. No edges, but forms are there – columns, a flat section, and a pointed shape. (This part points upwards insistently and there is something vaguely priapic about it). Fairly quickly, the shape that looked something like a Claes Oldenburg soft sculpture, or a huge melted ice cream cone, has morphed into a robust piece of architecture.
A microphone is placed on the floor, more like a stage now, and another man becomes visible by the side of the white van. He is dressed simply in black and is holding a saxaphone.

The saxophonist walks onto the stage, and with no announcement begins to play, improvising with and against a pre-recorded piece of music.
It’s harder to adhere words to this part, as I don’t really know how to talk about music and sound, and how it makes you feel and think. There are sound samples in it: a landmark moment in Irish history; and (my favourite) Bertie Ahern saying I want to talk about the future. Future. The piece has a peculiar kind of energy to it – based on the crescendo of the last decade’s economic growth, there is a kind of wildness to it, and a suspense: the form of the music anticipates no obvious conclusion.
The end does arrive, and the collected audience clap.
August 17th, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim. Part of AFTER

AFTER is the name for a series of public art events forthcoming in counties Leitrim and Roscommon.

AFTER received its final injection of arts funding from the Arts Council in late June, coinciding almost exactly with the ‘announcement’ of the Recession in the economy. As such, the work the artists have developed over the last year is bound to resonate with the sense of an aftermath that currently pervades discourse about the Irish economic and cultural landscape – what we are left with in the wake of our decade of growth and ‘success’; how these resources and developments have been used (or squandered); what will happen to a rural landscape in particular that shows half-occupied, half-abandoned housing developments, and sodden plywood boards declaring computerised visions of dwellings that will never be?

From the project website:

AFTER is interesting in that it seeks to respond to changes in the Irish landscape arising from the unprecendented economic growth of recent years. To our knowledge, there has been no collective artistic endeavour which has sought to negotiate this terrain. It is also noteworthy that these public art interventions – rather than been initiated from within organisational/ institutional frameworks, as is the norm – are artist-led in concept, commissioning, design and delivery.

The title of the project, conceived months ago, suggests that the current ‘economic downturn’ did not necessitate a clairvoyant prediction (as some suggest) but was rather more marked by inevitability. The works developed by the artists make responses and proposals that are alternatively pragmatic and poetic; offering tentative solutions and/ or positions of dispute.

The artists involved in the project are Alice Lyons, Anna McLeod, Carol Anne Connolly, Christine Mackey and Gareth Kennedy, who participated in a residency that was faciltated by Alfredo Jaar as part of the TRADE programme delievered by Leitrim and Roscommon local authorities. The launch of the project is September 6th 2008 at the Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. Project website with extensive information on artists and works here

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February 9th 2008, Glendade Lake, Leitrim, Ireland.

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This blog is not usually used in the interests of self-promotion, but the content seemed to fit here, this time, so here goes.

Above are two recent works exhibited at a show called City of Ideas at a self-storage warehouse in Galway, Ireland. The show was curated by Human Resources (Ben Roosevelt and Emma Houlihan).

Foreground:

Model for Experiencing Economic Panic/ Excitement

Background:

Landscape of Desires and Manias [Tulipmania, 1640s; South Sea Bubble, 1720; UK Railway Crash, 1830s]

These are experiments very much informed by the research themes in this blog, and the sense of emptiness and excess that pervaded the storage space. I’ve also recently been investigating the ‘Economic Worry Matrix’ and ideas of irrationality and so-called ‘market sentiment’.

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A previous post dealt with the Sligo Silver Rush – now the propsecting focus has shifted to Co. Mayo.

A company’s plan for a “small scale” gold mine in Co Mayo is running into determined opposition from groups who fear the project would damage the landscape and environment. The controversy echoes the row which embroiled mining companies Glencar and Andaman Resources when they tried to exploit gold resources at Creggaunbaun, near Louisburgh, and Croagh Patrick in the early 1990s.

“Mayo’s Gold Limited”, a subsidiary of Aurum Explorations, is seeking the go-ahead for what the company describes as a “tourist gold mine” at Creggaunbaun which would primarily be involved in the manufacture of jewellery. Mining would be carried out in an environmentally sensitive process similar to “keyhole surgery” the company promises, and Croagh Patrick would be out of bounds for the venture.

However, concern was expressed at the weekend that Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan had declared his intention to grant prospecting licences to the company in respect of 135 designated townlands. Mayo County Councillor Margaret Adams says there are a lot of unanswered questions about the company’s plans. Representatives should be invited to a meeting to explain their exact proposals, she said. Westport Tourism has also discussed the company’s proposals and says all its members are strongly opposed to them.

Paddy Hopkins, chairman of the Mayo Environmental Group, says the proposal will meet the same level of determined opposition as the plans by Glencar and Andaman to mine gold at Cregganbaun and Croagh Patrick did on the last occasion. “We are trying to get as many groups and individuals as possible to write to Minister Ryan opposing the granting of the prospecting licences.”

In a document sent to local landowners in the Creggaunbaun area, Mayo’s Gold Limited says it is offering “a completely new approach” to any potential extraction of local gold resources.

Company spokesman Tom O’Gorman said it is thought sufficient gold resources can be established to provide a sustainable development which would provide long-term employment and a unique tourism attraction in the area for 20 or more years.

From Tom Shiel at The Irish Times & Friends of the Irish Environment

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Fúadach [elopement]

Daonleathas [democracy]

Cró na Snáthaire [eye of the needle]

Spiléar  [fishing line of hooks] – sp.

? [make a living]

Fiach mhara [shag]; fiach dubh [raven]

Bleach [sound]

Maoineachas [nostalgia?]

Raitleach [hag] – on scannán an lá cheana féin

Raibiléire [hussy] – on scannán an lá cheana féin 

[Texture?]

[Authentic?] 

Thanks to Danny for the guided cliff walk and the words that flowed into the landscape.

For what has taken me to Dingle/ Daingean Uí Chúis this week see here. I’m here with artists Katie Holten, Ben Geoghegan and Andrew Duggan.

August 2019
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