Karum-Creevagh, Swedish-Irish Experimental Heritage Explorations

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Experimental Heritage Explorations New ways of combining art, archaeology and heritage

About Karum-Creevagh We are a group of archaeologists and artists, based in Ireland and Sweden. We work together with an environmental consultant and a graphic designer. We are exploring new ways of combining art, archaeology and heritage. Our focus is on the landscapes of the Burren in Ireland and the island of Ă–land in Sweden. Starting points for our explorations are: stone and water, movement and time, and tangible and intangible aspects of landscape experience.

The Burren


Swedish-Irish Experimental Heritage Explorations Experimental Heritage has developed as a collaboration between artists and archaeologists in Ireland and Sweden, with the aim to develop a shared artistic and archaeological practice in the landscape. The process involves Swedish-Irish explorations with a cross-cultural approach, aiming towards combining art, archaeology and heritage in a landscape setting. The artistic-archaeological expressions on display are results of a methodical approach developed from experiencing landscapes by focusing on the use of bodily senses – vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch and the sense of bodily position. Movement-based explorations are important to reach an understanding of our relations with the landscape. The expressions we use are poetry, music, performance, dance, movement, visual arts, physical surveys, writing, mapping and excavations. We work from materials such as stone and water and we are exploring concepts of movement and time. The multitemporal, that is, our world and its many layers of different times at the same time, is a consciously chosen perspective. We do not wish to work from traditional timelines and spatial divisions. We strive towards integrating tangible and intangible aspects of art, archaeology and heritage, finding matter inbetween and behind the immediately accessible. The idea is to merge our practices in a combined expression that in turn reveals previously unknown, or hidden, aspects of heritage and landscapes. Together with people and communities inhabiting the Irish and Swedish landscapes explored, we try to unveil relationships between us all and the surrounding landscapes and their contents relating to both nature and culture.

Front cover image: a still from the film “Experimental Heritage #1, Moving the Ship�. by Hans Gurstad-Nilsson, with Bodil Petersson and Maria Kerin.

We wish to challenge our current worldview and defined identities, to better understand other times and cultures as well as our own, through this translocal collaboration between Ireland and Sweden. We wish to cherish and practice respect for diversity and to break with traditional hierarchies relating to ideas of what is central and what is peripheral. We have consciously chosen the rural as our point of departure, as a mindful choice in an urban-centered world that needs other perspectives than urban and global ones. Important to this project is the idea of equality and coherence between expressions in the world of both nature and culture. We wish to see the world of nature-culture as united and a continuum instead of as separated parts. This Swedish-Irish collaboration is named Karum-Creevagh. The name emanates from two specific areas: Karum on the island of Ă–land, Sweden and Creevagh in Clare, Ireland. We explore art, archaeology and heritage through an embodied, sensory and emotional lens. As we work together in a landscape setting, we do so to come closer to landscape-related expressions of the nature-culture continuum. The combined and equal roles of artists and archaeologists, nature and culture, individuals and communities, are core to this ongoing process of exploring heritage in experimental ways, as a direction towards previously unknown knowledge about worlds and life forms past and present.

We see the development of the process itself as the explicit aim. The approach can be seen as an alternative to the pressure to adapt arts and humanities research, and community activities to just measurable quantifiable outcomes.

Inside front cover

Between Time and Place – Karum-Creevagh work on performance and ritual in Kilshanny, Ireland. Public sharing, June 2019.

Archaeology and fiction – a return ticket to untold stories I am an archaeologist who found my home in fiction writing. My interest is centered around the dualistic relationship between people and landscape. In particular how human engagement, and dwelling in landscapes, shape the physical as well as the psychological aspects of being human. In my authorship, I often work with stories that are set on cultural heritage sites. This includes oral traditions and written sources, but also the silent, hidden stories. In the Karum-Creevagh project, I want to explore how the translocal and transdisciplinary collaboration between art and archaeology, Ireland and Öland, can bring forward a broad mosaic of untold stories. This can deepen the understanding of which stories we tell of the past, as well as why we choose to tell particular stories. Communicating cultural heritage to various target groups is a vital part of my work. Together with the Karum-Creevagh group, I look forward to develop and experience multiple ways of how cultural heritage can be communicated. Anna-Karin Andersson Archaeologist, author, Sweden www.annakarinandersson.se info@annakarinandersson.se

A deeper landscape Place has been a departure for my art since the beginning. I am interested in place and landscape and have collaborated a lot with architects and landscape architects. To encounter archeologists – and biologists – who have another point of departure when approaching landscape, has been very fruitful. I have become aware that there are other qualities than spatial. My point of departure is in how people use the landscape, and it has been interesting to imagine people using the same landscape as we use, but thousands of years earlier. It gives a richness and depth to the landscape, which I value. The Irish connection enhances the experience. I get to enter into a landscape which has been revealed for me, with all its layers, with help from our Irish friends. I intend to work with my old topics, but influenced by the richness of the landscape, that these meetings have presented to me.

Gunilla Bandolin Sculptor, Sweden Gunilla.bandolin@gmail.com www.bandolin.se

Landscapes, identity and movement I am interested in finding alternative avenues to approach landscapes in all their forms in relation to identity and movement. As an archaeologist I have focused much of my research on how landscapes have been used and actively transformed to meet different needs in society. A central aspect of the interplay between people and the physical landscape is that it strongly influences people in their daily routine as well as in the construction of their cosmologies. The character of the physical ‘natural’ landscape would have had a profound impact on prehistoric people’s world views and religion as well as on the formation of their relationship with that landscape. People create places. Landscapes create identity. In the context of Experimental Heritage I am interested in exploring perceptions and interpretations of movement in landscapes on various scales and via different media. The choreography of landscape. I am also interested in how landscapes can create identity and how this identity can be interpreted and communicated to a wider audience. Stefan Bergh Archaeologist, Ireland stefan.bergh@nuigalway.ie

photo of yourself in combination with your work.

Listening for echoes of the intangible Worldviews don’t change overnight and even when centuries have elapsed traces of earlier worldviews can be held in communities, families and individuals. These worldviews can be quite localised, ecological one could say, suited to their niches, to their landscapes, and they assist the individuals and communities in living in their local environment, which I suppose, is why these traces persist. I feel that understanding ecologically localised lifeways is vitally important now, before they get crushed under the heedless homogenising onslaught of globalisation. Kilshanny Parish, in the south of the old kingdom of Corcomroe, is a place where the past and the present exist in constant proximity, and I hope to be able to explore more deeply the past-in-the-present with the people of this community through the monuments and landscape which they move through in their daily lives.

Danny Burke Ireland dannyburke@gmail.com

“Clints & Grykes Gynge & Mysinge & Singing Stones of Kotel” “One drop of sacred light in a ray penetrating clint & gryke in Burren, Stora Alvaret & Al Buraq wall makes a thousand flowers erect blooming out and up Christ – Rose, Gentian & Kotel Caper sacredly abundantly honourable.” I am exploring themes of flora and Archaeology of limestone sites. Of three heritage sites Burren & Öland and juxtaposing Jerusalem limestone sites. Collection of poems and oil paintings: “Clints & Grykes Gynge & Mysinge & Singing Stones of Kotel”. Collaboration: Making sound piece of the different heritage sites with Bodil Petersson and Patricia McKenna. Collaborating with Hans Gurstad-Nilsson on producing a film “Land of Promise #1” exploring the landscapes of three world heritage sites Burren, Stora Alvaret and limestone Kotel of Jerusalem. Merge: with Mary Nunan and Ros Ó Maoldúin on their next session. Team up: with Anna-Karin Andersson on “Stone Poem”. Déirdre Carr Artist and poet, Ireland deirdrecarr@live.com https://deirdrecarr.wordpress.com

Photo: Karin Bergman

The Field The Field is a transdisciplinary work in progress involving music, sound, film, text and choreography. The work revolves around the World Heritage landscape of the Great Alvar on southern Öland, Sweden and the Burren National Park in Ireland. In The Field, I intend to explore the multitemporal and poetic dimensions of these archaic landscapes in a phantasmagory, where the borders between natural history and human evolution, science and art disappears. The point of departure is a neglected modern heritage site on the barren habitat of the Great Alvar related to the exploration of Space. I’m interested in how collaborative transdisciplinary engagement with cultural heritage sites can inform artistic method, process and expression. In Experimental Heritage I work with music, soundscapes, and film in relation to heritage sites and themes, at present in translocal collaborative projects with Irish artist Patricia McKenna, artist and poet Deirdre Carr and choreographer Maria Kerin.

Hans Gurstad-Nilsson Composer and archeologist, Sweden hansgurstad@gmail.com www.gurstad.se

Performance Anne Hamrin Simonsson LIV no 8 (LIFE no 8) Algutsrum 2017. Photo: Per Hamrin Copyright Š Anne Hamrin Simonsson

Bacteria and chewinggum now and then I am interested in the similarities and interconnections between Ireland and Öland both of people, landscape and history – linked together over time in a cycle. Especially I want to explore the circumstances for the beginning of life and possibilities for survival and growing. It’s very exciting to find the meeting points and connections where contemporary and past tense come together in, for example, my bacteria objects. Patricia McKenna and I will collaborate and see what ideas evolve about amber. I have returned to, and explored, the theme of life–death from both a micro and a macro perspective and through different materials, techniques and expressions. Through conceptual art which deals with existential questions, shaped both in the abstract and in real life, I want to highlight and remind about the basis and core in our lives – the environment and the premises for life.

Anne Hamrin Simonsson Artist, Sweden www.annesimonsson.se annehsimonsson@gmail.com

Trace fossils within My first trip to Öland in 2016 at the kind invitation of Helle Kvamme ignited a hearty connection with landscape lovers there. As we hold similar ethics of care and values, I wish to nurture this precious connection through sharing, gifting, and creatively exploring the deeper layers of time/space IrishSwedish interconnectivity, in both my role as artist-curator and dance choreographer: – Sharing methods for deeper receptivity and collaboration, through an embodied creativity process based on somatic principles. – Co-creating live and participatory performances and films that go beyond the known through deep listening, to reveal traces of belonging and identity. A dream of eels led Danny Burke and I to Kilshanny holy wells and community, to make Dowsing for Eels. With Bodil Petersson and Hans Gurstad-Nilsson, we created choreography for the film Moving the Ship, unveiling trace fossils within, as patterns of interconnectivity, joyfully to be further explored with Karum-Creevagh. Maria Kerin Artist-curator, choreographer, Ireland kerinmaria@gmail.com mariakerin.blogspot.com

New book Learning to read the landscape as a new alphabet we can sense and place the relationships between the earth and the immaterial. Looking, finding new eyes. Eyes that the group form as a collective vehicle. The group Experimental Heritage KarumCreevagh will open dialouges that question the individual mindset. A diverse experiential support creates the platform where it is possible to read time as a circular form. I depart from Karum Alvar. Through photography, film, sound and performance work. Finding the water – tasting searching for pattern moving across Digging meeting drawing finding the in beetween time sensing time reading no time times

Helle Kvamme Artist, Sweden hellekvamme@gmail.com www.hellekvamme.com www.hellekvamme.se

Transformation zone I am fascinated by the multidimensional way of exploring the landscape. Through the sharing of experiences in relation both to the land and to all participants. To discover our inner landscape in relation to the whole. Transdisciplinary meetings and how to transfer bodily knowledge to everyday life. How to connect the wonderful force and strength of biodiversity in both personal development as well as leadership to our future challenges. I would like to share experiences from exploring the landscape in the zone where the water meets the land and through that also reflect the discoveries made by all participants. The greater picture gets richer even though it is impossible to overview as an ant in an anthill.

Kristina Kvamme Environmental consultant, Sweden Kristina.kvamme@calluna.se www.calluna.se

Amber I am interested in the interconnectedness of things. How ideas, beliefs, cultures move over vast distances trickling down over time, shaping identities, becoming the everyday. The impact of cultural heritage and the questions and dialogues it raises has been at the core of my work. I work with materials, video and drawing. I am researching amber. As a material, it has the capacity to exist as a functional productive commodity, economically viable, while at the same time taking on symbolic, spiritual, cultural and ritualistic meaning. Existing between spaces, the seen and the unseen. Mythological and scientific. In collaboration with Hans Gurstad-Nilsson we are creating a sculptural sound piece exploring aspects of amber. I am also working with Anne Hamrin Simonsson in developing new work also dealing with amber.

Patricia McKenna Multimedia artist, Ireland patriciamckenna54@hotmail.com patriciamckenna.ie

Ritual inversions Ethnographic observations on rites of passage reveal them as common cross-cultural phenomena in which rites of separation, transition and incorporation are often performed. In the Bronze Age, inversion, such as in the architecture of Kilshanny barrow, may have served as a liminal device in such rites. After several engaging discussions with contemporary dance artist Mary Nunan, using Kilshanny barrow as a focus, I believe we have found some common and fertile ground. While we can never fully know how past peoples understood the world, I hope we can build imaginatively on what we do know to create performative work that will blend, reflect and challenge aspects of each other’s practice and understandings. We have invited visual artist and poet Déirdre Carr to join our next session where we hope to further develop our collaboration.

Ros Ó Maoldúin Archaeologist, Ireland ros@prehistoricfieldschool.ie www.prehistoricfieldschool.ie

Inversion Following a dance of circumstances I find myself in conversation with archaeologists and artists from Ireland and Sweden. Everything is very open. What might fall out of how we understand and misunderstand each other. Exciting. Ros Ó Maoldúin makes a rough drawing to illustrate how archaeologists map sites. I am drawn to the map. No words. Great. Signs and symbols none of which I understand. Even better. We start to dig – the surface marks on the page open up as we listen to each other. The Kilshanny barrow, Co. Clare is the site we will work with. Ros distills our exchanges to a single word: Inversion. My current explorations into spatial-awareness, the way it impacts on the body/mind and its relationship with the environment in which it moves, seem relevant. It’s a particular kind of knowing that does not come easily into words, perhaps importantly. Visual artist and poet Déirdre Carr will join our next session.

Mary Nunan Dance artist, Ireland nunan.mary@gmail.com www.marynunan.com

Community archaeology and a giant limestone phallus An excavation is always guided by scientific purposes, but it is also a scene for interaction and communication with the public. The excavation is often a major event in the community in which it takes place. This was particularly evident in an excavation I carried out with students in 2016. In Albrunna on Ă–land, an ancient phallus-shaped burial monument served as a landmark and a visual symbol for the local community. In 2014, the monument accidentally fell and the community lost a major feature of its skyline. The villagers managed to get the authorities to commission a copy of the giant phallus to be erected. The preceeding excavation proved it to be part of a 30 m stone ship, with the giant phallus as the prow. The Albrunna case is a strong example of the role of heritage in rural communities. https://youtu.be/FBDS4aNLaUo

Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay Archaeologist, Sweden ludvig.papmehl-dufay@lnu.se

Sensory explorations of multitemporal landscapes The similarities and differences between Sweden and Ireland are intriguing. In my work I explore landscape-related identities as multitemporal, of all times, and through a practice of merging art and archaeology. I am fascinated by water and seas, constantly connecting different areas of the world, flowing and forming our lives through time. Similarly, I am intrigued by the long-lasting material of stone that links us over time through visible monuments and buildings and via hidden structures uncovered by archaeologists. I am inspired by the phenomenological approach to understand how identities are formed and related to body, place and time. Sensory and sensual explorations in the present are combined with archaeological and historical knowledge. The work is inspired by comparative vandalism as formulated by artist Asger Jorn, where aspects of time and place are subordinate to patterns of cultural and artistic expression. I wish my archaeology and heritage experience to contribute to our joint Experimental Heritage transdisciplinary effort of artists and archaeologists.

Bodil Petersson Archaeologist, Sweden www.bodilpetersson.se www.experimentalheritage.com

Cartographer, sailor, farmer, gardener, bee-keeper, scribe‌. My dance ecology work explores interfaces between dance, sustainability and geological practices. Much of my research has taken place between Sweden and Ireland, through immersive and site-responsive dance projects that explore various relationships between the physical senses and the land. My work evolves in direct relation to climate change issues, by engaging communities from often separate and diverse disciplines to generate practical and verbal tools for real change in the physical world. For me, the concept of experimental heritage identifies both the long-enduring and ephemeral elements of our living past which might offer new ways to re-imagine and re-invest local historical narratives with current ecological information. The title reflects the manifold disciplines that many of our ancient Celtic monks may lay claim to, suggesting an historical precedent that we might yet follow, through working consciously at the borders of change.

Rachel Sweeney Dance ecologist, Ireland rachelsweeney@yahoo.com www.rachelsweeney.org

Wild bathtubs I have always had a strong interest in art, architecture and built heritage as a way of understanding cultural history and past lifeways. Meeting like-minded Irish and Swedes has provided fascinating insights into the origins of contemporary society. Exposure to the concept of “experimental” heritage provoked me to think of how future archaeologists may interpret the exponential changes of our early Information Age. While exploring the back roads of County Clare, I noticed many bathtubs which are currently being used as cattle watering troughs in the fields. I have started mapping and photographing these bathtubs. I see this as a form of contemporary archaeology, visually presenting this “found art”. As a graphic designer, my other role with Karum-Creevagh is to photographically document the project over time, build the website, promote events and support group members with their presentations.

Michael Walsh Graphic designer, Ireland/Estonia www.emajoedisain.ee michael@emajoedisain.ee

Meeting points of movements Pushing the boundaries of what archaeology can be and do has always interested me, and the meeting point between archaeology and art opens up so many possibilities. I plan to use this project as an opportunity to move into uncharted territories. What can archaeology bring into art, and what can art bring into archaeology? Both art and archaeology are oriented towards a process: a process of making and a process of discovery, a process of being challenged and a process of challenging, a process of revelation and a process of silencing, a process of creation and a process of destruction. Experimental Heritage has opened up the possibility for two exciting processes to merge and create something new. My point of departure is the written word – I have always loved to write – and we will work with visualizing the written word through images and sounds. The past will be present – as it always is, has been and will be.

Gustav Wollentz Archaeologist, Germany/Sweden. gustav.wollentz@nckultur.org https://uni-kiel.academia.edu/GustavWollentz

Summary of activities Workshops

2016 December. Maria Kerin: “Time traveling through embodiment, a somatic journey” with Öland Think Tank members. Öland, Sweden. 2018 September. Maria Kerin and Helle Kvamme, “Receptivity and collaboration”, creative decision-making through somatic principles. Öland, Sweden. 2018 December. Alexandre Rafferty: “Object relations”. Monreal North, Ennistymon, Ireland. 2019 March. Mary Nunan: Z(ero)ing Kalmar, “An exploration of ‘spatial awareness’ as an integrative force in the relationship between the moving mind/body.” Kalmar, Sweden.


2018 March. Site-specific arts practice, embodied timelines and experimental archaeology in the Burren. Curator: Maria Kerin. Speakers: Patricia McKenna, Danny Burke and Patrick McCormack. Followed by discussion with members of Öland Think Tank, Sweden. Courthouse Gallery, Ennistymon, Clare, Ireland.

Peer to peer networking

2019 March. Courthouse gallery Dinner; meet and greet event, with over 36 artists attending, gifting and dining on local seafood, supported by Anne Mullee, curator, and delicious food by Una O’Dwyer, Wild kitchen.

Community gatherings and public sharings

2019 June. The local community were invited to an information evening “Between Time and Place” with presentations from Bodil Petersson, Danny Burke, Deirdre Carr, Michael Walsh, Hans Gurstad-Nilsson. Kilshanny House, Clare, Ireland. 2019 June. Kilshanny National School, visit by Karum-Creevagh to explain our process to the senior classes.


2019 September. Patricia McKenna and Anne Hamrin Simonsson are collaborating on amber research and were offered a residency together at Black Sheep Silos, Öland, Sweden, with a return residency at the Burren Art College, Ballyvaughan, Clare, Ireland.

Journal Articles

2019 Autumn. Submission of text for publishing “Experimental Heritage as Practice” authored by Bodil Petersson and Danny Burke, with contributions from Karum-Creevagh members.


2019 September. Creevagh go to Sweden to meet Karum and Dutch artists and archaeologists for a symposium, with presentations and meetings and partake in a group exhibition of commissioned work from some members of Karum-Creevagh in Öland Museum Himmelsberga. 2019 September. “An experiment in Art and Archaeology”, the launch of work in progress by collaborators in Karum-Creevagh, Burren Storehouse, Lisdoonvarna, Clare, Ireland.

Conference presentations

2019 September. EAA Archaeology Conference, “Experimental Heritage – translocal art and archaeology practice in communities in Ireland and Sweden”, Bodil Petersson with Danny Burke, Maria Kerin and Helle Kvamme. Bern, Switzerland. 2020 June. Arts in Society Conference. Bodil Petersson and Maria Kerin presenting: “The intersection of Art and Archaeology in Experimental Heritage”. Galway, Ireland.


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