Is It Safe To Float
Is a new work created from my time at Milford House. As a listener you are greeted by a voice; I feel like I have nothing to say for this yet…things did happen…there was a plan, a proposal of sorts.
There is a sense of ambiguity, doubtfulness or perhaps a statement of failure that sets up the listener within the first few seconds. As a listener you may become confused, mislead, lost or maybe you find
yourself drifting, not listening to the words, you might hear only the sounds of water, splashing, hitting, or swaying. You might hear a soft, whispery, wavey voice that utters throughout; This is an unfinished work.
Everything you hear within the recording was created using the body, after floating at Portumna, I dragged my freezing body out the water, to try and remember fleeting thoughts. I kept my notebook close, water droplets poured onto the pages, causing ink spillages, torn bits and a pond of incoherent words that resembled water drawings rather than textual things. I spent my time at Milford House floating through these pages, gathering voices along the way.
Contested Site: a live art performance
by Kate Barry
Contested Site was situated in one of the old barns (circa 1700), on the lands of Milford House in Tipperary, Ireland. The first time I entered the barn, I knew I would perform there. I was struck by a series of etchings and some graffiti dug into the old, lime plaster. The hand-drawn etchings were daisy-wheels, or carpenter’s marks, and are known today as “witches marks”. These ancient symbols of protection ward off evil spirits. They’re found in the dark places of a home, or barn, such as a remote corner, under a sink, or in this case carved into the very back wall. Among the daisy-wheel etchings there was some barely legible, handwritten graffiti that read, On Ash Wednesday 1940 James McCormack and Peter Barnes lost their gallant Lives for Ireland. Gone but not forgotten. Whist lives the IRA.-P. F According to Brendan Anderson’s book, “Joe Cahill: A Life in the IRA”, 2002, James McCormack and Peter Barnes were members of the Irish Republican Army who were executed at Winson Green Prison in Birmingham on 7 February 1940 for participation in the 1939 Coventry bombing which killed five people. The men admitted to constructing the bomb but claimed not to be involved in planting it. The graffiti memorialized their lives and deaths. The etchings and graffiti were a strange juxtaposition between time and space, violence and peace, protection, and vulnerability. It was difficult to get my head around but, thankfully Live Art Ireland residency director and artist Deej Fabyc, and artist and director MJ Newell were there to walk me through it. They contextualized the etchings and graffiti by tactfully navigating my overtly romantic ideas of the site. They directed me to historical facts while addressing the overall taboo subjectivity of the place.
In Contested Site, my cis-female, queer body is explored as a site of contention in relation to the barn. As a relational, site-specific performance piece, I utilized cypress branches salvaged from the land after a Code Red winter storm and some dead bramblebush weed. I employed my body to make lip-prints, and I painted with a handmade brush made from copper piping and synthetic hair. The element of relational practice extended to the other artists on site, Day Magee, Deej Fabyc, MJ Newell and the dog, Ziggy. I performed for the spirits of the barns, and the surrounding natural life. The performance was mediated by two cameras, one camera was directed toward on the canvas, and the second camera framed the overall installation of the piece.
During the Contested Site performance I created a performance-painting in black & white with acrylic and household paint on un-stretched canvas. I started and ended the performance by holding a pitchfork and ringing a bell three times. Contested Site centered on four actions: sweeping the painting surface with branches from the cypress tree, creating lip-prints by kissing the canvas on the ground, painting circles with my homemade paintbrush, and whipping the canvas with bramble weeds. Each action was performed twenty-five times and the four performative actions totaled one hundred to mark the Republic’s centennial.
The performance took place on a chilly evening on December 14, 2021, and was broadcast over Zoom to an audience of about fifty people for the Virtually Live and Streaming exhibition that featured the work of ten local and international artists. It was produced through an artist residency with Live Art Ireland onsite at Milford House in rural Borrisbane, Tipperary.
“In the storied borders of the Milford House estate in Tipperary, its socio-geographically contested status reflecting Ireland’s itself, so too are paralleled dynamics of the contested social psychology of the queer sick body. In ‘Eat the Good of the Land’, I situate my body – a vector of its own queerness and chronic illness, and its own ancestry participating in the Irish War of Independence – in this repeatedly reclaimed space, imbuing this ambivalent body with one of the site’s primary materials and resources, the soil of the land itself. I was drawn to the images that now adorn the rooms of the house as selected by Deej Fabyc of Live Art ireland, including that of Countess Markievicz in military garb, and that of the 18th century tenor Pierre Jélyotte dressed as a woman, the queerness of these images as well as my own body as having incongruences with this space.
Coming to Milford represented an intervention both physically and spiritually in my practice, a pivot from looking inward to looking outward. My work involves analysing my own subjectivity as it is recorded in my body, but Milford explicitly drew out how I related to a specific site’s psychogeography, as well as its history as shared by Ireland at large under colonisation. It inspired me to look deeper into my own lineage, to question if me in my queerness were really someone who my ancestors had fought and been traumatised for – did I embody the freedom they’d imagined, and if not, how could I?
The only way I knew how of course, was to make. The very act of making as Milford has now been repurposed for. Deej and Mark are building their own part of Ireland’s creative future, particularly that of its performance artists, who will find Milford a haven in its own right. To have participated in that future reflects the queer futurity I aim to render for myself in my own work, for the future is where we are ever headed.”
image: Kate Barry, V Painting, 2017-ongoing. Image credit: Alisha Weng.
Live art Ireland is excited to present a hybrid live/online event on the 14th of December at 6pm. Both Irish and International artists will present live art performance works and films designed for simultaneous online and live presentation.
Artists include: Day Magee(Ireland) Simona Pavoni (Italy) Amanda Millis (US) Kate Barry(Canada)Niamh Seana Meehan(Ireland), Mary Wycherley(Ireland)Rob Monaghan(Ireland)Andriy Helytovych (Ukrane) Ella De Burca(Ireland) Curated by Deej Fabyc & Carol Kennedy
Please see the Link to the Zoom Webinar below
When I arrived at Milford House I was immediately fascinated by the decay and preciousness of its many rooms. Milford House had been slowly deteriorating for at least 10 years before it was purchased in 2020 Windows were broken and the roof was leaking. Live art Ireland at Milford House is re-purposing the building and thus preserving its layers of history.
In my residency experience I explored the building from head to toe and its surrounding land, following all the works in progress. Giving new life to a body, in many parts inhospitable, seemed to me to be a real work of art. Each room has many particularities, in its being uninhabited and on its way to being rehabilitated. The house has been modified by time: it has been subjected to settling; some walls have cracked to breathe; in some parts the ceiling has buckled under the weight of puddles of water on the upper floor. In its current form, the house shows a history that is not only historical but also temporal. The rooms are alive and in each of them something, even extremely small and not necessarily human, brings life to them.
In this room a large number of flies fly insistently towards the ceiling and the windows. In addition to a short film, I have also made drawings with the idea of being able to capture a room in all its details in a single glance; I want to evoke the precision of the anatomical drawing and, in the meantime, to underline what brings the anatomy of the house to life.
All the walls of the central flight of stairs are accompanied by a frame of neoclassical stucco cornice that extend all the way to the last studio-room. Made in the past (1750-80) possibly by some Italian craftsmen, the stucco cornice is now in a state of incompletion. Climbing the stairs I had the impression of entering a large mouth that has lost its milk teeth. This mouth or flight of stairs brings one to all the artists studios and therefore ideally opens up ones lead into art. Starting from this intuition, I decided to cast the stucco cornice and replace the missing ones by changing their colour from white to straw yellow.
We are very happy to annouce that the artists chosen by the panel consisting of Lucy Day, Francis Fay, Kate Walsh and Deej Fabyc are as follows
Simona Pavoni (1994), lives and works in Milan where she recently co-founded the art studio Spazio Marea. Trained as a painter and then as a sculptor, she approached video and performance, focusing her interest on the vital functions of a body with its biological, architectural and socially derived manifestations. She has taken part in several exhibitions in Italy and abroad.
I think about architecture as a body, an environment in which everything can be host and everything can live. Architecture makes me reflect on the principle that things exist with their outlines. These outlines aren’t inteded neither as limits nor as definitions. They are filters that bring into communication the outside with the inside, letting elements to pass through.
I think about body as an architecture. The performance upsets the dimensional scales by stretching the space. This space starts from the theater’s stage, in which the performace takes its conventional place, to the world, making the art practice free of borders.
Kate Barry is a performance artist whose work investigates queerness, subjectivity, and embodied practice through painting, drawing and video. Barry has performed + exhibited extensively throughout Canada and internationally. She has contributed over 20-years to working in artist-run spaces in Canada committed to the exhibition of artwork outside the mainstream.
From 2011-2014, Kate Barry was a member of the board of directors for FADO Performance Art Centre (Toronto). She was the project manager for More Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women and she worked as the archival + research associate for the book, Wordless: The Performance Art of Rebecca Belmore, 2019. She was as the project lead for the MPCAS, an urban screen launched by grunt gallery in 2019. Currently, she is a sessional faculty at Emily Carr University of Art & Design (ECU) and serves on the board of directors of the Mutual Aid and Reciprocity Fund (MARFEC) at ECU.
My work explores the decolonization of the human body through the lens of queerness by investigating performance art as a relational practice. My current research involves queer survival during a global pandemic that combines the conjuring of ancient rituals for protection with contemporary queer performance art. While at Live Art Ireland, I’m proposing a 3-week residency in Nov 2021 where I will create a series of performance-paintings. To do this, I will collaborate with the land and make eco-friendly paintbrushes using sticks, rocks, plants, foliage, and other unexpected items. I will paint on raw, un-stretched canvas on the ground and use my paintbrushes as extensions of my body reenacting prehistoric mark-making methodologies. These performance-paintings will consider the queer body as a contested, political site that links the Milford House and its environs with its demesne history.
Day Magee is a performance and visual artist based in Dublin. Since 2011, they have performed as part of live art organisations such as Livestock and the Dublin Live Art Festival, before pursuing a BA in Sculpture & Combined Media in Limerick School of Art & Design in 2017, during their time there staging group live art events managing the Evil Collective, and by their third year exhibiting work as part of Galway’s Tulca Festival 2019, in group shows in Dublin and Manhattan, as well as being put forward for the Future Generation Art Prize 2020 by its Irish partner platform Pallas Projects Studios. They are currently commissioned by Arts & Disability Ireland for their 2021 Curated Space programme, and a member of MART Studios.
“My work concerns the subjectivity of a queer sick body: queerness navigated via fundamentalist Christianity; sickness as manifest in chronic pain; the body being the site of self-conception as well as the instrument of self-reproduction. Experience acts as the dynamo, and the ensuing emotional interiority is the well from which I draw. My life is a question, and my work is its answer. Taking the form of performance-centred/performance-initiated multimedia, I perform images drawn from self-mythology. The work hinges on the mutual suspension of disbelief between creator and spectator, acting as stylised rituals, their narration reliable or otherwise, charged by the witness of the audience. Given that my work is confessional, and confrontational, I am asking the audience to believe me.”
Niamh Seana Meehan is a visual artist based in Northern Ireland. Working in-between visual art, performance, audio, sculpture, and written matter based on the slippages involved within the translation of thought to text. Themes include emptiness, silence, ambiguity, and doubt.
Niamh Seana has performed and exhibited both nationally and internationally, recent projects include PS2 Short Residencies (2021), Digital Arts Studio Residency (2021), UK New Artists Common Interest Residency (2021), Catalyst Arts Propagate Workshop (2020), CCA~Derry~Londonderry DeMo Reciprocal Residency (2020) and HOUR Bergen International Performance Festival (2020).
My practice spans performative readings, audio, text-based installations, writing projects and conversations based on the slippages involved within the translation of thought to text. I investigate the unknowability of language, its messiness, and how language has the potential to become visual, performative and moveable. Creating sub-language, metanarrative, para text or language that spills onto the other page.
I use live strategies to embody the act of decision making. Performative methods reveal moments for the in-between to open-up, there is a sense of getting lost, misunderstanding, stopping, and starting, and doubtfulness. The textual element within my practice investigates how language can be translated into movement, slippery rhythms, gestural fragments, jumpy breathes. Using conversation as props, the textual can take various forms in sculpture, audio or remaining as text. The props always provoke the performative, by means of displacement, presenting traces for the performance event. These often take shape as rehearsals.
Please submit your application here by 30th September
Live Art Ireland invites you to make a proposal for 3-6 week residency at Milford House. Milford and its environs are entangled in the Demesne history as a contested site. (Please see house history here) We welcome live art and video proposals engaging the concept of anti-colonial, both in Ireland and abroad. We are particularly interested in artists who engage with possibilities (or impossibilities) of emancipatory, relational, and reparative art processes.
Please note: this is a research residency, so there is no need for a finished performance or film outcome. Although if a project does develop to a point of audience engagement, we are happy to present it on our website and to a live audience, if possible. You will be asked to provide the website with photo documentation and short description of your progress during your residency stay.
Those who are selected for the residency will be invited to submit a live art film document for our online live art video festival in December.
Residency 1, beginning 20th October includes a trip to the exhibit homeland 2021— a project hosted by Damar House Gallery on the 23rd (Roscrea).
Residency 2, beginning 10th November includes a visit Switch on the 14th (Nenagh),
Residency Includes: Each bed/Studio has an ensuite shower room. The kitchen is shared. Parts of the barns, the fields and woodlands and the fine rooms of the house are all available as places to develop live art projects and art films.
We do not currently have funds for artist payment as this is a pilot residency scheme. If selected we can write you a letter of acceptance which can be used to apply for funding.
Residents are encouraged to cook a meal together in the evenings. We do not cook meat here both for the environment and because getting rid of meat waste is an issue in the countryside. We do a weekly online vegetarian grocery shop you will be asked to contribute towards this please see example shop below (for two artists in residence). Snacks etc you can bring or buy yourself locally you will be allocated a food cupboard and space in the fridge.
Transport: There are buses to Nenagh and trains to Cloughjordan – we can pick you up from there. We have bicycles available to ride to the nearest shop in Terryglass by Lough Derg. If you have a car you are welcome to drive it here.
Residency Covid Safe Guidance: Artists will be encouraged to take lateral flow tests and to show proof of vaccination. Masks will be worn in the common parts of the house until all artists have been there for 5 days and taken a negative lateral flow test
Accessibility: There are no ground floor bedrooms at present although there is a shower and toilet on the ground floor. The Studio bedrooms are on the second and third floor so there are steps to them. We welcome artists who identify under the social model of disability and welcome feedback on accommodations.
Please submit your application here by 30th September
Live Art Ireland is providing me the chance to become intimate with the complexity of working through experimental performative sculpture processes
— building pit kilns into the earth, conjuring glaze recipes out of raw materials, foraging found clay, and fabricating ceramic pieces as a response to previous ceramics making with Shurooq School for the Blind. During this process, I hope to dig deeper into my own positionality as a community-led artist. Why is it my right to do so?
The images and short video are of the pit kiln creation and pit firing process. The video-in-progress is currently titled “A Disabled Womxn Labours; Please Don’t Tell the Government”.
Artist in Residence During August and September 2021 – Amanda Millis is originally from Texas but has been London based for some time. Amanda made a direct application to come and research her current project here and we were happy to accomodate her as a welcome guest. Amanda is in fact our test residency she is helping us figure out what works and what doesn’t here you can find out more about Amandas work here http://amanda-millis.squarespace.com/
My practice explores anti-colonial possibility, through performance and trans-national collaboration. While at Live Art Ireland, I will explore the foliage of this anti-colonised site to perform healing rituals, such as creating plant-My practice explores anti-colonial possibility, through performance and trans-national collaboration. While at Live Art Ireland, I will explore the foliage of this anti-colonised site to perform healing rituals, such as creating plant-based bio-resins over an outdoor fire to heal cracks in small ceramic sculptures. The responsive ritual performance during this residency will be both recognisable and strange, drawing on the similarities and differences of experiencing colonialism as oppressor and oppressed.
Zoe graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London, with a degree in Fine Art in 2019. Their work is interdisciplinary in nature, integrating photography, textiles and drawing to apply accessible methods of healing and learning through collaborative storytelling. Their work is concerned with accessibility in art and wider society. These interests were showcased in their debut work Am I Better Now? in collaboration with Ivy St Clair which interrogated ideas of ableism and art, presented through a multi-sensory artistic experience. They created an isolated space within the Goldsmiths Fine Art degree show that acted as an escape from the exhibition itself, allowing viewers a space to decompress and reflect on how they’re feeling.
Zoe and Ivy now work together under the name Always Tomorrow, utilising their artistic practice and research to create resources discussing mental health, disability and well being and host craft based workshops facilitating learning around these topics.
For their solo practice Zoe has recently began a project called This Is What I’ve Learnt, a series of drawings in collaboration with photographs taken by their late Grandfather, that works on reclaiming time lost within illness.