Vicissitudes Film Clip

This short clip of  ”Vicissitudes. Exile, Ritual and Lament” gives an insight into Ceara’s interpretation of Colm Cille and the “Voice” theme for the Derry commission on June 9th. Combining sean-nós singing (traditional Irish song), along with fragments of her experiences journeying on the Colm Cille trail and the historical, religious, political and cultural figures she met along the way. The audience engaged with her on topics such as exile, the idea of home and spirituality in a unique setting on a curragh along the River Foyle.

The performance was experiential; the curragh and its short journey on the River Foyle created an atmosphere that was intimate and spiritual. Even though we were a mere few metres within sight of the city of Derry, the journey felt secluded and offered a time to reflect, be still and listen. Every person on the boat seemed to have a personal connection with the stories, symbols and topics that Ceara sang and discussed. Each passenger was gifted with keepsakes; a handmade broighter boat, a packet of soil from St. Colmcille’s grave (believed to protect your home from fire when put in your fireplace) and a photograph of Paddy Gillespie from Gleann ColmCille with a healing stone, which is associated with the saint.

The “Vicissitudes” sound installation was installed on the Marina on the River Foyle and passers by could catch fragments on the wind as they walked. It included snippets of interviews and songs. I picked up on elements of conversations about the lost act of creation, how in the past people were impulsed to create as part of human nature and a song of a teacher on an island who lost all his books on a boat journey […]

Thomas Joshua Cooper goes to Skye and Raasay

Thomas Joshua Cooper becomes the first artist from the Scottish knot ‘Convocation’ to make the journey out to Skye and Raasay. Yesterday he met Emma Nicolson from Atlas. Thomas has his 19th Century camera with him. His aim is to take pictures at the 4 cardinal points of Skye and then Raasay. He has also expressed an interest in the town of Kilbride with its standing stone (Clach na h-Annait), the site of an ancient chapel (or annat) and an ancient well (Tobar na h-Annait) with a stone cover. Newly-wed brides were, according to local tradition, brought to the well to ensure fertility. To look at more of Thomas’s wider work http://www.inglebygallery.com/artists/thomas-joshua-cooper/ Thomas is Head of Fine Art Photography at The Glasgow School of Art.

Interruptions: a site visit (map and video)

Approaching St Peter’s chapel, the building itself is out of sight until the very last moment. A cycle to the site provided time to reflect on the surrounding area: the Anglo-Saxon place names, the close proximity of the sea (albeit also hidden from view for much of the time), and the richness of the farming landscape. How might exploring and understanding the landscape, and how humans have worked within it over the centuries, enable us to think about the early Christian community in new ways?

View St Peter’s at Bradwell in a larger map

 

Interruptions: A Site Visit

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Saturday 6 July I travelled to St Peter’s Church, Bradwell on Sea, with Carl Kears, a PhD student at King’s College London, and Fran Allfrey, an MA student at King’s. The trip was part of the preparations for Interruptions: New Ways to Know the Medieval at Bradwell, an event which will take place at the church as part of the Ethical Knowledge knot on 25 July and during which a group of postgraduate researchers at King’s will present their own responses to Colm Cille’s Spiral. It became clear that we needed to visit the church during the preliminary workshops with Marc Garrett, Erica Scourti and Clare Lees. As we were thinking through Marc’s brief and began working with his ideas of connectivity, hacking, data exchange, community and power, we realised that a key element of the project had to be the location of our own meditations and exchanges: St Peter’s Church.

The site of St Peter’s is actually beyond Bradwell. To get there you have to travel through a series of small, self-contained villages (many, such as Asheldham, Tillingham and Bradwell itself revealing their early medieval heritage through their names). Bradwell is six miles from the nearest train station, and the church a couple of miles beyond Bradwell. With this in mind, originally we had planned to drive to St Peter’s. However, we realised that we would get a much better sense of how the church is located within its landscape by approaching it by bike (of course, foot would have been better, but the distances involved made this simply impractical). We got the train from London to Southminster and from there rode through the winding, hedged lanes to Bradwell.

As we cycled towards […]

Folding time: ‘The Middle Ages in the Modern World’ conference 28.6.13

St Andrews University was founded in 1413, towards the end of the Middle Ages, in the year that Henry V became king. Myself, John Hartley (Difference Exchange) and Professor Clare Lees (Kings College) found ourselves 600 years later in the throng of the ritual of graduation at University of St Andrews, in amongst a large flock of medievalists exploring ‘The Middle Ages in The Modern World’.

Our purpose was to deliver a collaborative paper ‘A Kink in Colm Cille’s Spiral’, which outlined the Colm Cille Spiral project and aimed to ‘demonstrate the value of radical re-imagination for both artistic and academic approaches and insights.’

One of the key thoughts to come out of the paper was as Clare put it, ‘a folding of time and disciplinary distance’, with the projects working in a cross-disciplinary format with academics, historians, artists and poets. Clare further coined the phrase ‘reverse flow’, stating that the normal procedure was to use the past as a resource for the present, but that in this project she truly believed the present could be a resource for understanding the past through ‘historical readings coming into contact with unlikely contemporary touchstones’.

The other art-related session we saw that day at the conference was by Dr Neil Mulholland and Norman Hogg, who delivered an elegiac dystopian presentation from their forthcoming publication ‘thN Lng folk 2go’ by the collective ‘The Confraternity of Neoflagellants’ www.confraternityofneoflagellants.org.uk . The group’s by-line is ‘Investigating Premodern Futures’, which again sees this folding of time. The audience was presented with scenes, objects and shamans from contemporary culture, filtered through the gaze of neomedievalism. Mundane car parts became the artefacts of our age and Celine Dion was seen as a Saint.

With a conference-goer making the […]