The Power of the Object


I’m looking forward to the sixth knot of Colm Cille’s Spiral, which moves to Dublin to reinterpret his legacy and influence through the theme “The Object”. The commission links curatorial, artistic, historian and archeological practice.


Although Dublin is not directly linked to Colm Cille, many of objects related to Colm Cille have returned to the capital Irish city and have become relics and monuments to the Saint. What is interesting about the objects is that many of them are books and manuscripts, which Colm Cille intended as a means of sharing knowledge. However, many of these books are hidden away from the public eye. One of the objects is the Cathach or “battle book”, the story of which was controversial as it was famously copied from Finnian and a battle ensued. There have many stories, interpretations and superstitions connected to this book and it seems this is where a space for artistic interpretation lies.

The Cathach


Derry is also a place where objects are personified and hold memory. The Colm Cille’s Spiral final exhibition is coinciding with ‘A history of Derry in 100 objects’ allowing the objects to tell their story and preserves people and events safekeeping personal meaning and symbolism.


These medieval objects raise many questions that remain unanswered, they invite a re-telling. This space of mystery is where the artist, Tracy Hanna will bridge the gap. Having looked at past works from Tracey Hanna gives me an insight into what she’ll create for the Dublin commission. Her work is site specific and engages with the narrative surrounding the objects. She has chosen to use natural elements such as peat, reminiscent of the tale of Colmcille returning to Ireland walking on peats of Scottish soil as he […]

Some Journeys to Lichfield and Llandeilo

Leaving Lichfield I remembered Google map’s prediction: 165 miles, 3 hours 15 minutes to Llandeilo Carmarthenshire. That is on the route I suggested, dragging the line away from the M5 /M4 junction, to the M5 /M50 junction. Google thinks I have added 3 minutes. I think I have saved 30 minutes.

So I imagine leaving Lichfield, heading south and west. But actually I reach a series of roads that only travel either north and west or south and east. Google has also already told me that ‘this route has tolls’. A picture comes to mind of the 1770s toll house at St Fagans*, and of the Merched Beca marching towards it.

I am going to my parents house, however, not driving to Llandeilo. I am heading south and east. I crawl through Walsall’s traffic to reach the M6. I regret not paying tolls. It takes me over an hour to travel 20 miles back towards Warwickshire, looking across sheds, industrial units and housing as the Motorway hovers at roof level.

The last time I arrived by car in Lichfield I was breaking a journey from the north of England back to Wales. I reflect on how, coming that way, I thought it was a quiet market town, on the edge of countryside. Taking morning coffee in the Cathedral café garden I thought I could be in a country hotel.

The first time I travelled direct to the Cathedral from Wales was with Richard Higlett. We spent the car journey up the M50 and the M5 talking about churches, Cathedrals, and the differences between those words; about leaving and returning; about writing and the visual; about association and memory.

Richard is fascinated by telling details. We both enjoy considering the […]

By |October 8th, 2013|The Book|0 Comments