Where I Am Now Curated by Helen Meany
Where I Am Now is a selection of video and audio essays from artists commenting on the present moment, possible futures and what could or should happen next.
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Curated by arts writer and consultant Helen Meany, this is the first in the Set/Reset series of artist-led conversations to look at how we can keep moving without the physical experience of being in a shared space. As the coronavirus continues to cause profound disruption to the making and staging of productions for live audiences, has the enforced pause in activity also allowed a pause for breath? Is it giving rise to ideas about how to re-imagine practices, re-think purpose, values – or even a new vision for realising creative work?
We invited self-recorded contributions from artists whose medium is live performance, from dance, music, performance art, theatre and opera, to reflect on what's important to them now.
For performance artist Amanda Coogan this is a time to recalibrate and to value the unique charge of live performance, more than ever.
Amanda Coogan is an internationally recognised and critically acclaimed artist working across the medias of live art, performance, sculpture and installation. The Irish Times have said, 'Coogan, whose work usually entails ritual, endurance and cultural iconography, is the leading practitioner of performance in the country'. Her extraordinary work is challenging, provocative and always visually stimulating. Using gesture and context she makes allegorical and poetic works that are multi-faceted, and challenge expected contexts. The body, as a site of resistance, is the centrality of Coogan's work.
Film footage: Bernard O’Rourke, The Ladder is Always There live at CIACLA
Image: Ballad of Now live at Kunstcomplex © Nicole Bardohl
This fallow period will pass, say Junk Ensemble’s co-directors, Jessica Kennedy and Megan Kennedy. Reading and reflecting, they aim to return to work with new ideas.
Junk Ensemble was founded in Dublin in 2004 by twin sisters Megan and Jessica Kennedy. The company is committed to engaging diverse audiences through the creation and presentation of brave, imaginative and accessible work that sheds light on important human issues relevant to society today. Current Project Arts Centre Associate Artists & Dance Artists-in-Residence at Firkin Crane and previous Artists-in-Residence at The Tate, Junk Ensemble is a multi-award-winning company that has built a reputation as one of Ireland’s leading voices in dance.
Image © Ted Jones
Opera and theatre director Tom Creed finds a deeper sense of connection and solidarity with other people, down wires and across borders, in these strange days.
Tom Creed is a theatre and opera director, festival director and independent producer based in Dublin. His productions have been all over Ireland and at prestigious venues and festivals on three continents. He has been Festival Director of Cork Midsummer Festival, Theatre and Dance Curator of Kilkenny Arts Festival and Associate Director of Rough Magic Theatre Company. He sits on the steering committee of the National Campaign for the Arts and the board of GAZE LGBT Film Festival.
Image © Ste Murray
Performer, writer and director Gina Moxley makes an inventory of objects that capture this moment and spark memories, creating a museum of things she holds dear.
Gina Moxley is a writer, actor and director. She recently contributed to the Abbey’s Dear Ireland series. Her play The Patient Gloria, co-produced by The Abbey Theatre, premiered at DTF 2018 and played Traverse Theatre at Edinburgh Fringe 2019 where it won a Fringe First and a Herald Angel. Recent performances include Pasolini’s Salò Redubbed for DTF 2019 and LIPPY at Wuzhen Festival, China. She directed Spliced by Timmy Creed; My Magnetic North by Gary Coyle; How to Keep an Alien by Sonya Kelly.
Video editor: Sean Lynch
Image © Damian McCann
Performer and creator Olwen Fouéré sends ‘dispatches from the desert’, asking what is uncovered when so many of our habitual preoccupations are stripped away.
Olwen Fouéré is a performer and creator whose extensive practice navigates live performance, film, the visual arts and music. Upcoming projects include The Last Season with the Sydney based company Force Majeure in January 2021. She created the internationally acclaimed riverrun co-produced by her company TheEmergencyRoom with Galway International Arts Festival and Cusack Projects Ltd. Feature films include Sea Fever, Mandy, Beast, The Survivalist, This Must be The Place.
Credits: Text and voice: Dispatches from the desert by Olwen Fouéré. Music: The Song of Separation and Waiting by Pandit Sultan Khan with Matthew Barley (cello) and Sukvinder ‘Pinky’ Singh (tabla). Image © by Luca Truffarelli
Missing the togetherness and concentration of rehearsal and performance, choreographer Liz Roche also sees possibilities for a slower, less complicated way of working.
Liz Roche is Artistic Director of Liz Roche Company. Her choreographies for the company have been performed at festivals and venues throughout Ireland and internationally since 1999, including Baryshnikov Arts Centre New York, Brisbane Powerhouse and South Bank Centre, London. Her work, Bastard Amber commissioned by Dublin Dance Festival in 2015, premiered at the Abbey Theatre. This was the first time an Irish choreographer had been commissioned to make a full length work for the Abbey stage. She has also been commissioned to make new work for the Cork Opera House, National Ballet of China, Goethe-Institut Irland, National Gallery of Ireland, Scottish Dance Theatre, Maiden Voyage Dance and CoisCéim. She directed Embodied for DDF2016, commissioned by An Post for the 2016 Centenary Celebrations. She is a recipient of the Peter Darrell Choreographic Award, Bonnie Bird Award and selected for the European project - Modul Dance. She has also choreographed in opera and theatre, most notably for the Abbey and Gate theatres, Landmark Productions, Wexford Festival Opera, Rossini Opera Festival, Opernhaus Zurich and Irish National Opera.
Image © Alan Gilsenan
While composer David Coonan is excited about new ways of sharing work online, he believes that experiencing live art together has the potential to transform lives.
David Coonan's music has been performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the London Symphony Orchestra, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Choir Ireland, the Choir of the Chapels Royal HM Tower of London, and at the Abbey Theatre. He has won numerous awards including the Irish Arts Council's Next Generation Award, the Jerome Hynes Composition Award (NCH, Dublin) and the IMRO Composition Award. He is currently collaborating with choreographer Liz Roche on a large-scale work for musicians and dancers.
Credits: words and music by David Coonan. Photo: Enda Rowan
For dance artist Philip Connaughton, solutions to this crisis must include the possibility of live performance resuming, rather than rushing to find alternatives.
Philip Connaughton is a choreographer and performer from Dublin. He trained at the Rambert School of Contemporary Dance in London. In 2013 he made his first piece, Mortuus Est Philippus for Dublin Dance Festival. In 2014, he formed Company Philip Connaughton and made Tardigrade which won best design in the Tiger Dublin Fringe Awards. In 2015 he created Whack!! which toured extensively throughout Ireland and France, was performed at MOMA NYC in September 2016. In 2017 he created Extraterrestrial Events, which previewed at Le Regard du Cygne, Paris before its premiere at DDF 2017. ASSISTED SOLO was made for Dublin Fringe Festival 2018. Following that Mamafesta Memorialising was created for the festival Question de Danse at KLAP Maison pour la danse in Marseille before its Irish premiere at Cork Opera House. He has also worked extensively in opera, theatre and musical theatre. Philip is a resident artist at Project Arts Centre.
Image © Enda Rowan
Helen Meany is a journalist and an arts consultant working with a wide range of organisations. As a theatre critic she writes for the Guardian, and has contributed to www.theartsdesk.com and Variety, among many other publications. She was Literature Advisor to The Arts Council for seven years and Curator of Critical Voices, The Arts Council’s international programme of public events and debate on culture and ideas, 2005-2006. Previously she was Editor of Irish Theatre Magazine, and arts journalist and commissioning arts editor with The Irish Times. She was Chairperson of the Board of Dublin Dance Festival from 2011-2019.
Additional Video and Sound Editing: Luca Truffarelli