Well, what a weekend. Ceara Conway’s ‘Vicissitudes’ project found us in the anchored in a curragh (a traditional Irish boat) in the middle of the River Foyle, one of the fastest flowing rivers in Europe, listening to a very moving performance of storytelling, philosophy and song. The performances really struck a chord with participants and seemed to fit perfectly into a Derry context. Four performances in a sunny afternoon to a boat full of people told tales of loss, absence and grief in words and song.  The performance appealed to both the intellect and to the heart, mixing elements of myth, traditional song and speculation on the human condition in the twenty-first century. The response was wholly positive with people describing the event as very emotional, something unusual in contemporary art . It was also quite noticeable (and very welcoming) that most of those who booked to go on the boat were not from an art background but constituted the many communities that make up the city. Accompanying the performance was a sound installation which was heard by literally thousands of people. The sound of traditional Irish song and Gregorian chants floating across the water certainly made an impression which was every bit as effective as the major spectacle events that were occurring in the city this weekend. Thanks to everyone who made the performance and sound installation possible and to everyone that came to listen to and participate in the project.


Photographs Courtesy of Laura Mc Laughlin

boats 240Away they go29The little gold boat19The face of lament21Skipper in thought41The middle of the river17The importance of meaning34All ashore35The next listeners14Pay attention now16More stones to the slate39A full ship37Stepping aboard25One for everybody in the audience18The hands have it