Gregory McCartney’s question is thought-provoking and provocative, suggesting a change and sense of loss. 2012 is Tulca’s 10th year. If this question had been posed in 2002 the answers would have been strikingly different. Although there is a sense of looking back, McCartney’s programme is also about forming a critical position in the present. McCartney’s curatorial programme aims to give agency to the viewer while presenting a range of works from local and international artists. We are delighted to have new partners this year: Ealaíon na Gaeltachta and the Galway County Council Public Art programme. We also have continued support from partners on a local, national and international level. The three aims of Tulca: are to engage an Irish curator, commission new work and bring a critical and contemporary focus to the West of Ireland. These partnerships mean that even in a time of economic uncertainty, we can still achieve our aims. On behalf of the Tulca Festival of Visual Art I would like to thank you, our audience. Whether you have been with us from the start, just come on board with us or begun supporting us somewhere in the middle, Tulca exists for you. Thank you to our staff and volunteers who conjure Tulca up every year out of nothing but a vision, hard work and a lot of plywood. Thank you to our funders, who have supported us and believed in our vision for Tulca. Thank you to the artists, both this year’s and all of the artists who have participated in Tulca since the first festival in 2002. It is your belief in Tulca, your hard work and trust that has made our festival what it is today.
What Became of the people we used to be?
‘What became of the people we used to be?’ is a line from the theme tune of ‘Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads?’ a BBC sit-com set in the general bleakness that was the 1970s. The line seemed to sum up the rationale behind what I wanted this year’s Tulca to become. It suggested puzzlement over where we were going personally and a lack of control over how our world has ‘progressed’. It also suggests a divorce from our dreams, from ourselves; something odd and a little surreal...
“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then” Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
Imagine every time you made a decision a new universe came into being. Apparently it’s possible. There’s considerable difficulty it seems tying down how to accurately measure quantum material (the basic (and smallest) material of which the universe is composed) as it seems to react to being measured and observed and alters its form accordingly. This theory, known (after its creator, Werner Heisenberg) as the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle was elaborated upon by the Danish physicist Niels Bohr who postulated that all quantum particles don’t exist in one state or the other, but in fact in every possible state at the one time. Another intriguing theory was forwarded by Hugh Everett who considers the object doesn’t change but an actual split in the universe occurs. When a physicist measures the object, the universe splits into distinct universes to accommodate every possible outcome. Everett’s ‘Many-Worlds’ (as it is called) interpretation has in theory consequences beyond the quantum level. If an action has more than one possible outcome, then -- if Everett’s theory is correct -- the universe splits when that action is taken. This holds true even when a person chooses not to take an action. So in principle there’s a Greg McCartney that didn’t write this… and there’s a ‘you’ that didn’t read it. That ‘you’ came into creation when you decided to pick this magazine up and has your memories but has a different, maybe better future. I wonder what that future is?
“I can’t explain myself sir, I’m afraid, because I’m not myself, you see” Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
This is undeniably all very sci-fi and of course it could be all rubbish but it’s true we are all at times haunted by the choices we made and the decisions we didn’t take. Fear haunts the pre-sleep landscape and the hazy justawake moments when we aren’t quite certain exactly who or what we are, when we seem to be between states and are momentarily convinced that we don’t belong in this world. I chose the Tulca artists because they all articulate or create a particular landscape; subtle little worlds (even if portrayed in an epic manner) that I hope will echo with the Galway viewer. The work can be read in many ways of course but I’m not really interested in taking a particular political position, at least not explicitly so. Rather I hope to present an opportunity for people to immerse themselves in the environments these artists create and take away something they can use from the experience. Maybe even the building blocks of a new universe.
What Became of the People we used to be?