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MURMUR / SUMMER CATALOGUE / 2015 / NO. 1 l 10 GRANGEGORMAN SQUAT l 44 EAMONN DOYLE l 82 DAVID MCSAVAGE l 98 テ!NE STAPLETON Murmur catalogue is produced by Edwin Bowe and Bryan Meade l Facebook: www.facebook.com/Murmur Book l Vimeo: Murmur_film l Twitter: @Murmur_Ireland l Instagram: Murmur_gram l Soundcloud: Murmur_ings l Enquiries and submissions: murmur.hq@gmail.com l Advertising enquiries: 087 957 3691 / 087 295 1151 l Printed by W&G Baird l Copyright: All material appearing in Murmur is subject to copyright l Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission from the editor is prohibited l Published in 2015 by Black Street Media, 9 Black Street, Dublin 7. l ISSN 2009-8510.

Front cover photograph by Eamonn Doyle, courtesy of the Michael Hoppen Gallery, London.


GRANGEGORMAN SQUAT


living


IRELAND’S HOME OF THE YEAR

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Tucked away in Dublin’s north inner city wasteland lay one of the finest examples of a post-Tiger urban dwelling. For over two years the abandoned site served as a rent-free sanctuary for artists, eco warriors and drifters. Then, one morning, the owners came knocking.

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it’s not always about breaking into a house. In a lot of these places the doors and windows are open, they’re just left to rot. Meanwhile, there are people homeless on the streets.

The Grangegorman squat was located in Dublin’s north inner city, at the rear of Smithfield market square and backing onto the building site of the planned Dublin Institute of Technology. The site was considerably large, taking in a number of abandoned terraced houses on the main Grangegorman Road, extending back to three converted office buildings, five warehouses, a main courtyard and two smaller yards. Back in 2008, the site had been earmarked for a €100 million residential, retail and office scheme with 164 apartments. But plans fell through after the economic crash and planning permission expired. In the following months the site lay abandoned. Up until recently, the site was occcupied by a group of 30, mostly young people, who decided not to pay soaring Dublin rents. The squat ran for about two years. Street artist Emily Nayhree was there from the start until it ended a few weeks ago. How did the squat come about? Myself and a couple of girlfriends were looking for a place, just for the girls, where we could set up a couple of studios. Then one of lads said that he had found a place with three attached houses that were all empty and he was moving into one. What sort of people squat? Some people just want a free place to live. Some people want a roof over their heads so they can pursue their career or creativity and some people do it for political reasons. A lot of different reasons. What a lot of people don’t realise is that

What was your plan when you moved in? I’d been throwing an idea for a couple of years of having a creative space that was alcohol and drug free. Me and most of my friends were hanging around the festival, rave and art circuit in Dublin for a while and a lot of it does focus on either getting wasted or getting drunk. We were sort of tired of it and had come out the other side. In my head it was like this has to happen. We called it headspace. A place you could go to do your art and creativity. Headspace meaning the space was free from intoxicants, a place you could go and not be interrupted. So the the focus was just on the art. We also set up a recording studio and rehearsal rooms. Did the squat influence your own work? I half do and half don’t like calling it a ‘squat’, in one way its ‘home’. With me, everything I see and everything I do influences my work. The freedom of it was a big influence on my work. For my exhibition, Transcendence, I was able to paint the floors and walls. No other gallery that I rented in town would have let me do that. So, it made me braver and a bit more happy with

my creativity. It also meant that I didn’t have to produce for money, I didn’t have to follow the path of artistic prostitution. It’s nice to be able to create and then hand it out. If people love it it’s coming from the heart. You get it? Take it, give me money. If you don’t have money, take it anyway. What are your plans now? My plans have always been to get off the grid, find a field, a build a house and studio from muck and straw ... because you can. Do you think the Grangegorman ‘squat’ will have a legacy? When there was an attempt to evict us we became news and we got a lot of visitors and we were able to use it as a bit of a showcase. It became a nice educational experience. People could see, firstly, that this could be done in Dublin and, secondly, it could be done for more or less nothing. It made people happy and gave them hope. It’s all about holding space. If you hold space you can open it up and let people come in – great things happen. We did something interesting and special.

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“What a lot of people don’t realise is that it’s not always about breaking into a house. In a lot of these places the doors and windows are open and they’re just left to rot. Meanwhile, there are people homeless on the streets”

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“For my exhibition Transcendence I was able to paint the floors and walls. No other gallery that I rented in town would of let me do that. So, it made me braver and a bit more happy with my creativity�


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EAMONN DOYLE


photography


Eamonn Doyle’s new book ON is like the picture album of a somnambulist. The images are dreamlike and unexpected but as with all the best dreams, no matter how surreal, are always based in reality. The photographs are alien and, at the same time, deeply familiar. Here is a selection of work taken from the new book and others he produced at around the same time.

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DIRTY OLD TOWN

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Interview with photographer Eamonn Doyle What were you doing before photography? I studied photography in the late 80s but ended up working in the independent music business for the next 20 years, producing music, running record labels [Dead Elvis and D1 Recordings] and also an arts festival – DEAF [Dublin Electronic Arts Festival].    Was i your first project? Yes, although it wasn’t initially conceived as a project. The series evolved quite naturally out of my day-to-day photography on the street. Quite a few images already existed before I started to recognise the patterns emerging.    Who did you approach first with the work? I submitted the project to a few magazines, galleries, festivals, and one international publisher.  It didn’t get much attention until I went ahead and published the book myself.    Did you have a high level of confidence in the project when you first started to show it? I was confident enough myself to submit the work, but had no idea what the reaction would be. There seems to be an over saturation of street photography online, but very little in the art photography world so it was difficult to gauge what the reaction might be.    With no track record in the fine art photography world how were you received initially ? It hadn’t really reached an international audience until the book was published. Martin Parr picked up on it straight away and after that the reaction was instant and mostly positive.   The quality of print and design in i is very high. Did you see it as a risk to commit so much resources to your first book? The images, design and print are all integral to the final work, so it was always a priority for me to make sure we didn’t cut any corners. The printing was very expensive so it was a huge risk, but in hindsight, well worth taking.

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Personality and identity have been removed from most of your subjects in i. Why? In taking these photographs, I tried to strip away many of the elements often expected in street photography - context, obvious biographical cues and signifiers, general ‘background noise’. I shot from above, mostly, and tried to flatten the figures into the pavements and roads, and I usually tried to avoid showing the face. Not showing faces seemed to be a way to evoke the very unknowability of these people and, perhaps, by implication, of all those with whom we have such fleeting, urban encounters. It could be argued that revealing so few faces results in a ‘turning away’ from the people in these photographs. My intention is quite the opposite. Portrait photography usually finds its expressiveness in faces; I want the viewer to look elsewhere, to find cues other than the obvious ones, to look harder and, if needs be, to infer the missing faces. I was also conscious of the tradition of aniconism - the ban in certain religions on figuratively depicting the realm of the sacred, understood to include gods themselves, but also the human figure or aspects of the human, such as the face. Not showing the faces of most of the people I photographed seemed to express an attitude of ‘hushed reverence’ towards them, which seemed appropriate for subjects about whom

I knew nothing, or almost nothing. They are hidden, the better to be respected.   The prints you exhibited last year on the hoarding of the Carlton site on O’Connell street are very close to where you actually took the pictures, do you see this as returning the images back to wild? Well, there’s definitely a sense that the images have found their way back home. It’s been great having them exhibited in such a public space, especially the exact location where they were made.    Your success has been very rapid, What’s that like then? It’s been much quicker than expected. Most people have been great, really encouraging and supportive, especially the other photographers I’ve been meeting here in Ireland and overseas.    Was Martin Parr giving i a good review on his blog the big breakthrough ? Very much so! His influence in the world of photography seems quite unique. I was starting to get some interest in the book in the first few weeks of publication, but after Martin got behind it everything changed. 

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What did you show in Paris Photo? I showed a grid of nine prints from the i series.   Who represents your work now? The Michael Hoppen Gallery in London.    Have collectors started to take an interest ? There was quite a lot of interest at Paris Photo for i and, most recently, at the Arles 2015 festival - Les Rencontres de la Photographie for ON. So the prints seem to have found their way into some interesting collections already. This edition of Murmur features a selection of black and white work that appears in the new book ON. There’s also some colour work done around the same time. How far have

your new projects advanced and what can we expect? There seem to be a few different strands developing in my recent street work that may end up as coherent groups of images, I’d like to make some new street books over the next couple of years. After the success of i do you feel more pressure for your new book ON to be a hit? There’s certainly a lot of interest in the new book. I made the last project for myself, so I’ll just keep working that way and see how things go from there.

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All images courtesy of the Michael Hoppen Gallery, London www.michaelhoppengallery.com

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The new photobook ON by Eamonn Doyle. Limited edition of 999. Three different covers printed with colour foils and deboss. 333 of each cover. 28cm x 35cm Portrait. 104 pages / 51 Black & White tritone printed images printed on Lessebo design naturel 150 gm paper. Design by PONY. Print by MM Artbook printing / Luxembourg. Binding by Van Warden / Netherlands. On sale at The Library Project, Dublin or available to order at: www.eamonndoyle.com

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From Eamonn Doyle’s new photobook ON.

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From i by Eamonn Doyle.

P R E V I O U S

W O R K

Eamonn Doyle talks about last year’s book i. The photographs that from i gestated as I started to feel my way back into photography following a long break. Around that time I was re-discovering the work of Samuel Beckett, specifically the trilogy comprising the novels Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnameable. I began to be drawn towards a number of solitary ‘Beckettian’ figures I saw on the streets of Dublin, people I had seen passing me every day, who seemed to be treading the same ground, day in, day out.   Mindful of the words that preface Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, ‘Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain silent’, I wondered how I might approach the photographing of these people, who were after all (and who remain) near-total strangers to me. But rather than understanding Wittgenstein’s words as a cautionary note (i.e. if you don’t know people, you shouldn’t photograph them), I read them as an exhortation: specifically, to photograph against all odds, against the limits of knowledge and experience, as per the double-bind of Beckett’s ‘I can’t go on, I’ll go on’. The question then became: is it possible to take photographs of these people in such a way that will honour their essential, even existential, distance from me? Is it possible to photograph them in a way that says ‘I won’t gain knowledge of them by photographing them, but maybe something will come from the attempt to, maybe even from the failure to’?

“The shadow cast by a regular, vertical i; a diminutive self falling, or moving forward to counteract a falling; or a lone figure leaning into a stiff wind on a Dublin street”

This tension between, on the one hand, the attempt, and subsequent failure, to gain knowledge and, on the other, what happens in the act of attempting-then-failing is something that interests me. It’s a contradiction with which many of Beckett’s characters seem to be familiar. It’s also a point at which a representation, in reaching a limit point, acknowledges its status as an act. The title of the book, i, is a direct reference (or mis-reference) to the title of Beckett’s  play, Not I. But, not wanting to assume any comparability between my work and his, I further negated his negative, the double negative leaving me with a lone i. Lower case, it seemed to suggest anti-heroism, even stoicism. Italicised, it suggested further possibilities: the shadow cast by a regular, vertical i; a diminutive self falling, or moving forward to counteract a falling; or a lone figure leaning into a stiff wind on a Dublin street.  

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DAVID M

C

SAVAGE


comedy


“The only good thing about being drunk is it puts you in situations where you can write about later�. TV star, stand-up and former busker Dave McSavage on booze, creativity and his new show.

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What have you being doing since The Savage Eye? I went back drinking for eight months. Which was great for the first three months, because I felt like I was winning, like Charlie Sheen. Then, it was a slow descent into all the things that remind me of what a raging alcoholic I am. So I stopped drinking. I’m writing again. It’s important to say you are writing. You’re either writing or you’re not writing. You are either doing something or not doing something. When people say: “I’m trying to write this ...” – what they are really saying is: “I’m not writing ...”. When you went back drinking how did that affect your creativity? Really bad. Anything that is mood-altering, a drug, alcohol is a drug. But people who drink think it’s a better class of drug than the dirty drugs, the powders. Well, some people take cocaine recreationally. Recreationally? You play tennis ‘recreationally’. Look, anyway, alcohol is the opposite of creative – it’s destructive. So, I’ve never written anything when I was drunk. The only good thing about being drunk is it puts you in situations where you can write about later. But, genuinely, the reason I did drink is that I didn’t want to remember anything. I wanted to take a vacation from my worries, my problems. A friend of mine said to me (I think it’s a Freida Kahlo quote): “You drink to drown your sorrows, but the problem is, your sorrows are very good swimmers and they can’t be drowned”. You can’t escape from escape, from your truth. Once you acknowledge what’s eating you up – thats a good thing. The drinking thing for me, there is a misnomer, a misconception, that a lot of creative people are drinkers. But that’s just a side effect of having a lot of free time on your hands. It dosen’t increase creativity at all. My issues are no different from anyone else’s. I think we put on theses brave faces. We’re grand, we’re fine. But, you know, I’m very vulnerable. I’m very lonely and I’m wrapped up in my own head. I’m contradictory and I don’t want to admit it to anyone. If I recognise that in myself and I’m truthful ... er, so that’s why I drank – to get away from my issues.

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Did you think to yourself when you went back drinking that it was going to help you be creative? No, the reason I went back drinking was that I was down for such a long time. I just had enough of it. Was drinking in any way a spur to your creativity? In one of the episodes of The Savage Eye we asked the question: why are the Irish so influential in the world of arts? And in one of the chapters we explored the connection between drinking, drugtaking and creativity. I talked to psychiatrist Michael Fitzgerald and he told me there was absolutely no link between taking drugs, drinking and being creative. Drinking for me was very destructive. Before I stopped drinking I was having a lot of blackouts so I couldn’t remember a fucking thing, which really defeats the purpose of having experiences if you can’t remember them, so, it was almost like a temporary suicide. I mean, that’s a bit extreme, it was amnesia. But no, creativity is hard work. Working very hard on something and it not being right for ages, then eventually getting it right, is tough. And if you are drinking a lot and having hangovers, you’re this, you’re that ... Maybe you can do that when you’re young, but I’m 48, so my body sort of said, “hey, could you stop drinking every 10 seconds? Because we can’t handle it”. Do you see a greater purpose for your work? Well, Jesus Christ ... I do want to create something original. The track rate for TV comedy in Ireland is poor. If the Irish are so gregarious then why have they got such a poor track record in terms of film and TV output? I’d like to create something that Irish people could be proud of. So, a greater purpose ... Do you see your work as political? You seem to target certain personalities. The work that we did was sometimes political but I’m disinterested. While working on The Savage Eye we did have targets in terms of attacking politicians and so on. After a while you see a cycle, you know, they say the same things. Nothing really changes, then you just get bored because satire dosen’t change anything. It just makes people laugh and go ‘huhaha’. That’s it.

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What’s the new project about? It’s called Poor Me And The Bastards (working title). It’s about the sort of empty attentionseeking people that gravitate towards performing. The type of people that when their careers aren’t going well they begrudge other people’s success. All these sort of embarassing pimples and psychological scars that people try to hide from each other. It’s all about that sort of stuff. What’s the overriding emotion attached to it? Well, I would say that I wanted it to be black and white because I don’t like sitcoms. I don’t like the sort of forced, quirky, all the colours are primary colours, ‘isn’t it great and exciting’ style. I want to strip that away and have it very dark. In terms of Poor Me And The Bastards I think the characters don’t need help in terms of being funny within a situation. It’s about broken people and how life can beat you down over time.

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Who is in the cast? I’m working with Pat McDonnell and Paul Woodful and various actors and actresses and comedians. I haven’t being commissioned but I’m making it anyway. I’m my own TV station. I’ve given myself the green light, I’m my own commissioning editor. Not many people are going to see it. But fuck it. Why did you go ahead and commission it yourself? Because what else am I going to do? I’m not going to sit around. I mean, in AA, they’ve a saying: ‘the mind is a dangerous neighbourhood’. If I don’t have a goal? I think a man needs a goal, a little bit of hope. A short cut to feeling good about yourself, drinking heavily, but over time it’s going to kill you. So, let’s say this gets commissioned and I get five series of Poor Me And The Bastards, in five or six years I can go back drinking. Fuck! David McSavage – Comedian, street performer and TV star. Facebook: David-McSavage Twitter: @davemcsavage

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テ!NE STAPLETON


dance


DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME

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テ(ne Stapleton has pushed the boundaries of dance more than once. She took time out from preparations for a new show to share the things that inspire her with Murmur.

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When did dance become the medium for you? When I was seven, my best friend’s family owned the local chipper. She was going to modern dance classes and invited me along, which helped to keep me active alongside my love of chips! My teacher advised me to take up ballet although I never really enjoyed it. It felt too regimented, and I remember feeling ridiculous having to curtsy to examiners! When I was 14, I trained in contemporary dance with Dublin Youth Dance Company and soon after I left secondary school for my transition year and attended the dance course at Inchicore College Dublin in order to train full time. We danced technique class everyday and I also began to focus on creating my own choreography. That same year my mother died. Looking back, dance was a great means of expression and release, and since then I have become increasingly interested in creating work from personal story. I returned to secondary school for the Leaving Certificate and then moved to London in 2001 where I completed a degree in Dance Studies at the University of Surrey, Roehampton. Had you been interested in any other means of expression? I loved drawing and painting up until the Leaving Certificate, but then focused specifically on dance as a career. I also attended gymnastics as a young child, which landed me the chance to leap frog the length of Wicklow main street for the St. Patrick’s parade, a much sought-after role ha. Over the last few years I’ve started to experiment with music and currently play in an electronica band called Everything Shook.

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Do you use the same process to devise each new work? My process has started to vary more, for example, this year I’m creating an hour-long film Medicated Milk about Lucia Joyce which doesn’t necessarily feature a lot of dancing, but requires similar skills such as devising imagery, creating a specific tone, structuring the work, choosing a sound score and text. One of my main inspirations is an American choreographer called Deborah Hay who has endless insight about the body, performance and choreography. Hay also uses score writing as a choreographic tool which is how I work with Fitzgerald & Stapleton – a dance theatre company I run with dance artist Emma Fitzgerald. The text in these scores guides the dancer for the duration of the performance and has instruction for movement, spoken word and song in a similar way that a script would for a theatre production. When did you first develop this approach? I first workshopped with Hay in Dublin in 2006 and commissioned a solo called The Runner from her in 2007. Emma and I formed Fitzgerald & Stapleton in 2008 and have worked in this way since then. What affect do you wish to have on the audience? I want people that attend my shows to get whatever they get from it. There is rarely an obvious narrative, but this is an attempt to allow each individual viewer the space to engage their own imaginations so that the work can speak for them also.

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Do you think your work can have a separate life when discussed with someone who didn’t attend the performance? Yes, the motivations behind the work seem clear to me so I feel I can discuss them on their own terms, but It’s very different from experiencing the live performance. It also has a separate life through the choreographic scores which are published online and in hard copy. Does ordinary-lived experience greatly influence your dance? Yes, I create most of my work from my own life experiences as a woman growing up in Ireland. It can be hard to expose so much personal detail but it always feel like worthwhile material. I really appreciate being able to share these stories with an audience and to have their presence direct them also during live performance. How does the experience of being a dancer effect your day to day life? I think performing, performing naked which I have done for many years now, and exposing a lot of personal history within the work can be very healing. Sometimes when I dance I feel like I’ve just landed back in my body, and that awareness of being present has had huge positive effects on my everyday life. On the other hand it can also leave me feeling over exposed and that’s something which can create feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Living in a country where women are so often sexually objectified and undervalued, dance is my means to tackle these perceptions and create some social change. You can see more of Áine’s work on her blog www.renaissancepineapple.com

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WE

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PARTIED.

Join us on: Instagram Murmur_gram l Vimeo Murmur_film l Twitter @Murmur_Ireland l Soundcloud Murmur_ings


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M U R M U R  

Welcome to M U R M U R – a new quarterly printed/digital catalogue showcasing the best in Irish arts and culture. Summer 2015, Issue #01 fea...

M U R M U R  

Welcome to M U R M U R – a new quarterly printed/digital catalogue showcasing the best in Irish arts and culture. Summer 2015, Issue #01 fea...