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FREE Arts and Culture of the South East

Altered Images Amiina Screen Talent Joe Ambrose

Summer 2009

Reviews David Beattie Student Shows The Lions Mane


MA Film Production & Direction MA Screenwriting MA Digital Media MA Public Advocacy & Activism MA Film Studies (Film, Culture and Society) MA Arts Policy & Practice BA Connect Film Studies National University of Ireland, Galway. Ireland Tel +353 91 495 076, info@filmschool.ie

www.filmschool.ie The Huston School of Film & Digital Media is supported by Coca-Cola HBC.


Contributors David Banner Ita Morrissey Sarah Ryan Joseph Kielthy William Lyons Joe Ambrose Photography Todd Field Paddy McGrath Paolo Cabalisti Shane Serrano Front Cover Amiina by Egill Kalevi Karlsson Design www.designassociates.ie Editor Brendan Maher The views expressed by individual writers are not necessarily those of start magazine. start welcomes contributions from writers in the South-East area. Please contact the editor in advance, at the address below. startmagazine The Heritage Centre, Main Street Cashel, Co. Tipperary Email startmagazine@eircom.net Web www.startmagazine.ie Thanks to all at the Heritage Centre and Town Council in Cashel for their support. start is published by startmagazine limited © startmagazine 2009 Printed by Lionprint, Cashel www.lionprint.ie start is supported by The Arts Council, South Tipperary County Council and Cashel Town Council.

contents 02 Editorial 03 News: A round-up of what’s going on and coming up in the cultural arena in the South-east over the summer months. 06 Prime Numbers: start talks to Waterford based drum and bass trio Number Theory. 08 Altered Images: Brendan Maher reports on an innovative touring exhibition which begins in Clonmel. 10 Reel Teen: David Banner talks to Nicholas Sheridan, newly crowned as Ireland’s Young Film-maker of the Year. 13 Lost In Thought: William Lyons deals with the heady subject of Existentialism. 14 K  urr Blimey: We have short chat with Kilkenny-bound Amiina 16 A Sort of Homecoming: By water and land, Joe Ambrose travels home. 18 Reviews: David Beattie at the Butler Gallery; Waterford Institute of Technology and Wexford Art College student shows; Wexford Art Centre’s anniversary exhibition; Aidan Dunne at Garter Lane; ‘Strands’ by The Lion’s Mane; Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots festival and more…


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t the launch of Tipperary photographer John Crowley’s exhibition recently, I sidled up to two old photographic hands – one a press photographer for the local paper and the other a retired cameraman with RTÉ and they were engaged in what initially seemed a strange discussion about storage. The storage in question related to how photographic images are now stored, or not, as it turned out and how the ongoing rapid developments in technology were on the one hand, making it easier to create and store more images and on the other hand, dismantling and making obsolescent the technology that previously created and stored them. Take the zip disc for example. I could safely say that about ten years ago, every company in Ireland would have used them to store files. I’m sure too, if I looked in the deepest recesses of start’s files, there will be zip disc of some shape or megabyte size lurking around. I’d be damned though if I could find the drive to actually run the disk or that I would have the cableing to attach it to my current computer. For all of us, a whole swathe of stored material has been left abandoned, because of the obsolescence of floppy disks, zip drives, compact discs (soon) and that’s only in the computer area. It’s happened in still and moving film too, with the changing of formats from video to digital cd to memory card and dvd. It’s not that these storage devices have become unuseable in themselves either, it’s just that they’ve been superseded and their hardware has been removed from use along with them, making the retrieval of their data a far more difficult task. This process of obsolescence has speeded up to a huge degree and has lessened our ability to

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archive information or images for retrieval as my two photographer friends bemoaned. Despite the advantages of digital storage, they believed it would be better to store images in a physical manner, printed and filed away, in order that they could be retreived in a manual system. But then again that threw up the question of the physical storage required and I got to imagining vast warehouses piled high with boxes of images within them and nobody with the time or inclination or perhaps a ladder tall enough to get at them. And then I wondered if we actually only stored what was of ‘value’ at a specific time in this regard and perhaps it was good and proper that images and information weren’t kept and were lost in a laissez-faire manner. There was in effect a natural cull of these images and information. Perhaps we are unconsciously creating new technologies that would lose this information – in essence giving us an excuse to forget, or even giving us permission to forget. I didn’t say any of this aloud, so as not to appear like a complete Philip K. Dick about it, but I guessed that the final equation meant that storage=memory and with much of human consciousness built on memory, the photographers were concerned that we were losing the building blocks that allowed us to retrieve our collective memory Brendan Maher Editor start is now available on-line at www.startmagazine.ie


news

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ilkenny Animation company Cartoon Saloon’s ‘The Secret of Kells’ has come away with two awards in the last few weeks. It received the prestigious Audience Award at the Edinburgh Film Festival (with producer Paul Young picking up the award from Sean Connery) and from their peers, the Audience Award at the Annecy Animation Festival in France. G o to w w w.f lick r.c o m/p hotos/e d f ilmfes t /t a gs/ paulyoung/ to see pics from Edinburgh

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lonmel is to host the International Film Festival Ireland held in the lovely grounds and rooms of Knocklofty House from 6th - 12th September. Films, in an eclectic mixture of shorts and features, include Phil Scapacii’s experimental road movie ‘Blue Bus’, Bernd Rendic’s hallicinatory ‘When Seagulls Cry A Song’, Eileen Nelson’s ‘American Dumpling’ and Wyatt Weed’s vampire drama ‘Shadowland’. More details on the whole week from: www.amritsa.com/eire/

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núna perform at the Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre in Kilkenny at the annual Bank Holiday weekend event on August 1st. Anúna’s mystical stylings allow the group to mix classical and celtic genres and they have worked with a wide range of acts such as Elvis Costello, Sting and Sinead O’Connor in their time. Buses leave Kilkenny town for the event and details are available on the following site: www.ballykeeffe.com

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ore winners – this time literature: Ciara Gorman (14), from Castleknock in Dublin was the overall winner of the Sean Dunne Young Writers Award at the recent event in Waterford. Her win for her prose piece ‘Escape’ makes her the youngest entrant ever to have received the award. Luke Sheehan also from Dublin came in second place overall for his poem ‘All the Queen’s Men’

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each concer t and with Collins, play the incredible Schnittke Piano Quintet at a late night concert. Italian Roberto Prosseda’s solo recital includes some rarely heard works by Mendelssohn. Young Irish pianist Sophie Cashell, winner of the BBC Classical Star competition, will also give a solo recital. More updates from: www.newrosspianofestival.com

Roberto Prosseda Photograph: ©Paolo Cabalisti

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he New Ross Piano Festival is lined up for September 24th - 27th. Five prize-winning pianists will perform over a weekend of concerts. Included from Finland and Korea respectively are Antti Siirala and Sunwook Kim who will share the three main concerts with Artistic Director Finghin Collins. The Callino Quartet will perform with one of the pianists at

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he Booley House Show is a traditional Irish event featuring music, dancing and caint (from a stor y teller) that runs in St. Michael’s Hall, Ballyduff in west Waterford every Wednesday until August 26th. The ninety-minute show features a cast of sixty including many member of the local Comhaltas. Of course, tea and homemade cakes are also available. More news from: www.thebooleyhouse.com

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he Blackbird Gallery in William Street in Kilkenny hosts renowned Irish artist Patrick Scott’s ‘Works on Paper 2002-2009’ from August 7th. Scott trained as an architect and had his first exhibition in 1944. His work is characterized by his use of square and circular motifs often with the inclusion of gold leaf in the pieces. He was conferred with the title of Saoi in Aosdana in 2007. This exhibition gives an opportunity to see his most recent works. More information from the gallery: www.theblackbirdgallery.com

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usic for Wexford brings Gillian Williams (violin), Arun Rao (cello) and Elizaveta Blummena (piano) to perform on Friday, 25th September. The trio will play works by Donizetti, Britten, Brahms, Schumann and Deane. Venue is St. Iberius Church in the centre of the town. More details from: www.musicforwexford.ie


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omposer Eric Sweeney will accompany, on organ, a screening of the film version of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ on Friday 31st July 2009 in Waterford Cathedral. Notwithstanding the fact that start loves this natural mix of artforms, we also look forward to getting a good look at this 1925 classic directed by Rupert Julian and staring Lon Chaney Snr and Mary Philbin. Tickets are €12. Early booking is advisable – at the Cathedral gift shop or by calling 051 858958

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eritage Week runs from the 22nd to the 30th of August this year, with events taking place all over the region and country. William Cummings, the Senior Conservation Architect in the Dept. of Environment gives a lecture at St. Patrick’s College in Carlow on 27th August dealing with how structures are assessed and rated for preservation. The event is organised by Carlow Historical & Archaeological Society. More information on Heritage Week events at www.heritageweek.ie

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otter Jack Doherty exhibits at the Crafts Council Gallery in Kilkenny from 8th August to 27th October. Doher t y is one of the most respected ceramicists in the UK and is Lead Potter at the Leach Potter y in St Ives, Cornwall,

the refurbished former studio of the iconic craftsman Bernard Leach. On Friday, the 7th August there will be a one-day workshop with Doherty. Go to www.ccoi.ie for the exhibition and email: byrnetina@hotmail.com for the workshop

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astlecomer Discovery Park, Co. Kilkenny has its Open Day on August 3rd. The estate of over 30 km of wood has a number of interactive elements for the family but also includes a stables and famyard buildings which house craftspeople and artists who sell from their workshops. Crafts include pottery (Hilary Jenkinson at Crannmor), jewellery (Carl Parker), painting (Ross Stewart), as well as textiles, millinery, photography and furniture restoration. The open day is a goo d op p or tunit y to have a look . G o to www.discoverypark.ie for more information


Interview: Joseph Kielthy

Prime Numbers Waterford band Number Theory take us through their electronic world and introduce their new e.p. Start: It’s difficult to say how many are in the band. Could you name the members please? Simon: There are three of us: Amy on vocals; Bota on bass and programming; and me on guitar, bass, and programming Bota: And the laptop ‘Lahey’. When did you begin making music as ‘Number Theory’? About three years ago the three of us were in a band called ‘Simon Says’ playing jazz and funk versions of well known songs with a drummer named Dave Duffy. We stopped doing the Simon Says stuff after a year or so as Dave and Bota were concentrating on another band called ‘Goat’. When Goat disbanded the four of us decided that we wanted to start doing original music and begin including programming and electronics. The final step came when Dave decided he wouldn’t be able to play with us anymore; at the time we already had a couple of gigs lined up and had no option but to begin programming like crazy. It worked out pretty well as the laptop keeps good time, knows the song and has volume controls. It’s obvious that you have been inspired by the likes of Aphex Twin, Portishead etc., but have you been in bands of other genre’s before, or considered making other sorts of music?

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I studied jazz for four years in college so I’ve played in quite a few jazz groups over the years and I’ve also played in a number of different musicals around Waterford. I’ve absolutely no patience so I tend to get bored of things very quickly which means I want to do something new pretty much every week. I satisfy my cravings to continuously make noise through some side projects, alone as Molotov Ape and in collaboration with my friend Le Haine as Anti. Anti have just remixed every band from Waterford and are releasing several tunes a month over the summer which will culminate in a big gig for the Intravenous Music Exhibition in October. So, what equipment do you use? There are some pretty great, layered and complicated beats in there and I’m interested to hear how you make them… A lot of the beats and synths are created in Reason (music software-Ed), everything else comes from Ableton (as aboveEd) and we sequence it all in Ableton too. The layering is just a simple way of creating drum patterns which extend over many bars; for example if you’ve got your basic 4/4 drumbeat and you put another snare pattern in 5 over that you’ve got a 5 bar loop, if you then put another simple pattern in 7 over the top it won’t repeat for 35 bars. It’s an idea I stole straight from Messiaen, although he used it in a slightly more sophisticated way...


I’m interested in the sounds of malfunctioning machines. I have a lot of time on my hands and I’m a bit obsessed. It must be tough to take this intense and atmospheric music to a live setting. Do you enjoy playing shows or do you feel your music works best on record? Also as I presume you use drum loops live; is this troublesome? I think the biggest trouble we have is the fact that only one or two of our tunes are in 4/4, and if we can’t hear the tracks from the laptop when we’re playing live, we’re fucked! Playing live is weird, you can’t expect people to instantly click with your music on a first hearing but it’s still a bit disheartening if they don’t. On the other hand when a gig goes well it’s great and feels so easy. I don’t know if we sound better on record than live – maybe we do but I’m always embarrassed listening to myself playing so I don’t know. It is a good challenge to try to play the tunes live, and it helps us spot flaws or bits we don’t like with them. We are hoping to start trying some different things for the next series of gigs and improve the audio and visual side of things. How do you find being from a relatively small place such as Waterford with regards to getting recognition and gigs? Well myself and Bota are actually from Kildare and Amy’s from Canada so we’re all very much outsiders to the “Waterford music scene”. There isn’t really anywhere in Waterford to play gigs – we’ve played The Candlelight Sessions at Phil Grimes quite a few times which is just a beautiful room to play in. The sound is great but other than that we’ve very much just been looking for stuff outside of Waterford, which has been going well. But it does mean you’re playing to a brand new crowd each time... There’s not a massive audience for 11/8 drum and bass and as Simon said earlier it’s not something that clicks with everyone immediately so getting gigs can be tricky, but we’ve been doing alright recently oddly enough. The internet has been good to us, and while we are still an insignificant blip on the radar we’ve met lots of good people and had some great experiences through getting the tunes uploaded and being offered gigs. What do you think of the music scene in the South East as a whole? Do you think that a “scene” exists? To be honest I think it’s very impressive that there are so many bands in Waterford but I don’t really consider it a music scene. As I already said there’s nowhere to play, and when there are gigs on you never know whether people are going to turn up or not. Pretty much everyone involved in music in Waterford are friends with each other.

While this is great in one sense, as an outsider you can see that the whole thing is a bit stale because it’s always the same people at gigs. There are some really high quality musicians around the area though such as Peter Vogelaar, Le Haine, Dylan Bible, Katie Kim, Mark Dudley and Jazz Panda from Kilkenny. The recordings on myspace sound really great; the quality of the recording is phenomenal and really helps create an atmospheric and almost creepy feel to the tracks. How did you record them? The tunes are all recorded in Bota and Amy’s house (the audiotoir) through a firewire mixer and into his laptop. I’m always irritated by people who pay loads of money for recording time (mostly because I’m broke) without having made a name for themselves yet. I always think people would be much better served buying new gear or financing a series of gigs. Thanks very much, we must have pressed the right button at some stage. We have a new batch of tunes almost ready for our second EP ‘Dysrhythmia’ and I think the production has come on a bit as we figure out what we’re doing. There’s a long way to go yet though... How does the song writing process work for you? Is there a set way in which you write songs or does it vary? Most of the songs begin as either something on guitar or bass and just expand from there, although of late we have been star ting with the electronics first. I think the vocals are pretty much always the last thing to go on, with Bota writing the lyrics and myself and Amy coming up with t he melo dies and phrasing. Each song is kind of given its own form, which wasn’t exactly a preplanned concept but came about because of the nature of the songs. We’re very much democratic in how we write the songs. I think we are finding our feet now after a year of doing things. Ideas form and develop in slightly different ways and we’ve a better understanding of what we like the sound of, so it’s becoming quite interesting www.myspace.com/numbertheoryband

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project by South Tipperary and Mayo County Councils in conjunction with the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Altered Images brings together work by seven artists including newly commissioned pieces, with the specific intention of expanding the opportunity of all to interact with an exhibition. This ‘multi-sensory’ approach has its basis in using works from the organisers existing collections and having them re-interpreted by Topografik, a company who specialise in creating interactive installations for those with disability. In relation to the show, sculptor Loz Simpson from Topografik, deserves much credit as he crafted the various tactile pieces, made from a variety of materials, marble, metal and marmoleum amongst others. The original works by Thomas Brezing, Alice Maher, David Creedon, Daphne Wright, Caroline McCarthy and Abigail O’Brien, all two-dimensional works are translated by Simpson into relief pieces with the new marmoleum/lino pieces based on Brezing’s work and the retranslation of Wright’s video musing on a piece of sculpture both working especially well.

Wright’s piece ‘Plura’, a close - up of a classical sculpture set to a soundtrack of phonetic sounds voiced by older adults, is a moving piece that suggests the inability to communicate as memories in old age become fragmented. Wright says: “I’d seen this small classical sculpture in Bath in England and was interested in it for the detail and suggestiveness of the work itself rather than the myth it depicted. We filmed it in close-up, so there was no background evident and no context to the piece. In relation to the sounds used, I was interested in phonics and how children learn to read by voicing the individual letters of the alphabet to make words. It’s like a magic key but the child learns without understanding or context. Using older people’s voices in the piece reflects the idea of deterioration of memory as the voices are using phonics again, as if the ability to use language has been lost. The sounds provide the emotion for the piece.” F o r t h e ex h i b i t i o n, t h e f il m p i e c e is reconfigured in three dimensions in a series of panels

another view Brendan Maher reports on a striking mix of media at the ‘Altered Images’ exhibition in South Tipperary County Museum

‘Plura’ Daphne Wright. 2008 – 09. DVD. Collection South Tipperary Arts Service Commission, 2008 – 2009. © Daphne Wright

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topographical images somewhat akin to contour lines. set in a revolving ‘magic lantern’ type hexagonal shape This idea of remapping the image links strongly the with allied sounds provided on headphones. Swatches notions of displacement which are at the core of the work or frames of the moving image are recaptured in marble of this German artist living in Ireland. with each panel fragment again disallowing the person Following her opening of the exhibition in June, touching the piece any overall context. Arts Council Director Mary Cloake spoke of the project Performance artist Amanda Coogan contributes a commissioned film piece ‘Seven Steps’ which discusses “not compromising on standards of artistic quality, curation contemporary art, via the works included in the exhibition, and presentation.” With the current economic backdrop, she pointed out how the arts through such an exhibition, through sign language and performance. More difficult to can give a lead to the relaunching or kickstarting of translate is the visual joke inherent in Caroline McCarthy’s broader activity by showing the inventiveness and the ‘The Luncheon’ – a public favourite of the IMMA collection skills of collaboration evident in the project. and recently on view in Wexford – a large scale photograph Essentially the exhibition works as testament of a table of food, reminiscent of 17th Century still-life, to the artist’s work, their willingness to reinterrogate the but made from coloured toilet paper. The digestive transit work to broaden it’s visual language and the success of is turned on it’s head with the direct linking of the toilet the technological application to achieve that expansion paper and food. But this is a concept related by visual effect primarily and when translated into a metal relief, of language. tends to lose it’s inherent value. Thomas Brezing’s two oil paintings however, Altered Images runs until at the South Tipperary County work well in linoleum, with Simpson employing a collage Museum, Mick Delahunty Square, Clonmel until August 5th effect of layering the cut sheets of lino, building up new More information: www.alteredimages.ie

‘The Snail Chronicles (Double Drawing)’ Alice Maher. 2005. Intaglio print, 53 x 49.5cm. Collection South Tipperary County Council. Purchase, 2008. © Alice Maher

‘Seven Steps’ Amanda Coogan. 2009 Film work. Dimensions variable. Commission, IMMA, South Tipperary County Council, Mayo County Council. 2009. © Amanda Coogan

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David Banner

Seventeen year-old Wexford youth Nicholas Sheridan is Ireland’s Young Filmmaker of the Year. Here he tells David Banner how he won the Award.

eyes wide open start: You recently won the title of Ireland’s young film-maker of the Year at the 2009 Fresh Film Festival. Can you tell me about your film ‘The Grim Trials of Vida Novac’? Nicholas Sheridan: The film is, I think, a progression that I’ve made both in terms of story-telling and filmmaking. When I look back on my other two films, ‘Revelations’ and ‘The Golden Crucifix’, I can definitely see a progression. The film centres around a single mother who comes to Ireland as an immigrant from the Czech Republic, and it basically tells the story of her struggle to fit into the country, and try to make it a home for her young son, Abir. She has to overcome many problems and obstacles. It’s a very human story. The title is pretty pretentious I suppose, but I like to spend a lot of time thinking about titles, and trying to make them stand out and on this film I certainly pushed that to the limit! It’s definitely my favourite. How did you shoot the film? What crew did you use and how long did it take to shoot it? It was a fairly low budget shoot, “no budget” would be more appropriate, I think. I received a grant from the Diocese of Ferns just before I started making the film, so that helped a great deal and I concentrated on making the technical side of the film more practiced. Technical skill and poor equipment are what let down a lot of young film-makers, including myself! The crew consisted of myself, and basically whoever could make it to the shoot. Brothers of actors and mothers of actors and all sorts. It’s very intense and nerve-wracking, but there’s a great sense of community on a film like that. Everyone knows everyone so it’s nice.

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I was extraordinarily lucky while casting this film. The main actress in the film, Mairead Ryan, has been very successful on the Amateur Drama Circuit and as she works with my dad, she was the ideal choice. I was very lucky with other young actors such as Joe Mahon and Eva Farrell as well. It’s brilliant when you can give performers a script and they can make the characters come to life. It’s a very fulfilling experience and everyone threw themselves in 100%. You worked previously with Wexford artist Michael Fortune on a film. What was that like? Mick was the facilitator of several film-making courses in which I took part, and was a huge influence. Without Mick and these courses, I certainly wouldn’t have this interest in film that I have. Mick is very generous with his advice and time and it’s great to have someone like that who will help you. Mick also put me in touch with Terence White, a film-maker who runs Reel New Ross, a project based here in Wexford. Terence is a great guy too, very generous and honest. They’re both very cool guys. Tell me about your film heroes, what films you like? How do they influence your work? All three of my films so far have been human-interest stories, and that’s the genre I feel most comfortable in. I think I am drawn to film based on realism, indie films if you like; ‘Little Miss Sunshine’, ‘This Is England’ and ‘Once’ are some of my favourite films. Not that I don’t enjoy a good comedy, but they’re few and far-between I think, nowadays! In terms of film heroes, I have a huge respect for the writers in the industry, who don’t get the credit or respect which I think they deserve. Of course, people like


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Photograph: Shane Serrano


Shane Meadows and John Carney write and direct their own work, but I think more credit needs to be given to the writers of the film. Directors tell the story, but writers create it, and I think that’s important. There’s nothing better than a good piece of music played at the right time in a film and I love doing it. Tarantino, I think, has mastered this particular skill. It’s hard, I suppose, not to imitate certain director’s styles, but there’s no particular director that I would try and copy. I understand you met Choi Min-Sik the actor from ‘Oldboy’ in Korea with Fresh last year. What was that like? Korea, on the whole, was a brilliant experience. I’ll never forget it, and all credit goes to the Fresh Film Festival down in Limerick, without which, all young Irish filmmakers would be lost. Respect to them! It was great to meet such people as Ilmar Ragg, and Choi Min-Sik from ‘Oldboy’, and of course other young people who love film. Two of the guys who were with us, Laurence and Kevin were really excited to meet this ‘Oldboy’ actor. I myself haven’t seen the film! But he had great advice and stories and it was clear we were in the presence of an experienced performer. It was great! I hear that you have also been working with the Young Irish Film-makers in Kilkenny on script development. How did this come about and what exactly are you doing?

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I was at the Fresh Film Festival earlier in the year, and Darragh Byrne from the Young Irish Film-Makers contacted me soon after and said he had enjoyed ‘… Vida…’ and asked if I would come up for a script meeting, as they were starting to plan their summer feature film. I went up and met all the guys and we bashed around a few ideas before settling on one, and now the guys have written a draft script. I’m looking forward to reading it and seeing what they’ve got. They’re a good group up there, very energetic. The film is shooting later this summer and you never know, I might go up and see them in action. What are your plans at present? Are you making any films at the moment or do you intend to go to film college in the future? I’m slightly dubious about film college at the moment, I don’t want to pigeon-hole myself into anything too narrow, so I hope to do a broad course to start with. I have another year to worry about it but I do have some possibilities in my mind. I would love to work in film or television. As for another film, I am playing around with a few ideas at the moment, which hopefully will have a higher production quality. It’d be great to try something different storyline-wise and I do have a certain freedom now, as I’m not making a film for any par ticular competition. I can experiment, which I think is a very healthy thing to do


Philosophy William Lyons ponders on the perennial appeal of Existentialism.

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hile there were precursors, to whom he always made due acknowledgement – Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Heidegger – the philosophical movement called ‘Existentialism’ reached its maturity only at the end of WW2 with Jean-Paul Sartre's now famous address, “L’Existentialisme est un humanisme”, to a packed audience in the Club Maintenant in Paris in 1946. In the course of that manifesto, Sartre said “Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist, and man is in consequence forlorn, for he cannot find anything to depend upon either within or outside himself. He discovers forthwith that he is without excuse. For if indeed existence precedes essence, one will never be able to explain one’s actions by reference to a given and specific human nature; in other words there is no determinism – man is free, man is freedom…That is what I mean when I say that man is condemned to be free. Condemned, because he did not create himself, yet is nevertheless at liberty, and from the moment he is thrown into the world he is responsible for everything he does.” Sartre was telling his audience that, since “existence precedes essence”, we humans are not shackled by any predetermined nature or destiny but must continually create ourselves as humans through the conscious choices we make each day, rationally but without guidelines. “Man is the future of man”. If, on the other hand, a human lives his life with eyes averted and ears plugged or lives a predetermined role in accordance with some custom or fashion or creed or ideology, then he or she is living an inauthentic existence that involves a betrayal of their humanity. With such a betrayal, Sartre asserts, we become like an object which has its existence already mapped out, already predetermined, displaying only reactions not actions, and so having its existence ensoi (in itself). To be human, on the other hand, we must at each moment make and remake ourselves according to our own vision and through our unfettered choices, and thereby exhibit an existence pour-soi (for itself). In shouldering the frightening burden of living aright,

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we ourselves create, with our choices, the values and standards of our morality, political life and art. Since we are, as Sartre puts it, without our permission, flung into a world not of our making, without guidelines and with the only end in sight a sentence of certain death without any possibility of reprieve, we need great courage to live authentically. Yet it is up to us to create meaning in our lives against the background of an absurd nihilist world. Sartre incarnated his own philosophy like no other philosopher since Socrates. He practised what he preached. He played only a minor part in the French Resistance during WW2, as a writer and disseminator of pamphlets, but he was no collaborator. Indeed for the whole of his life, he refused to collaborate with what he thought of as the inauthentic bourgeois existence around him. He lived much of his life in rented apartments or hotel rooms, and had little or no personal possessions. After a short period as a school-teacher, he declined all offers of a permanent academic post and lived instead by his writing. His study, where he produced not merely notable philosophical studies, such as Being and Nothingness, but also his great plays and novels, was one or other of the cafés of left-bank Paris where he ate his meals. Uninterested in wealth he gave most of his money away to his lovers, friends and hangers-on. He refused all honours, including the Nobel Prize, the Légion d’Honneur and membership of the Académie Francaise. Yet, while refusing to get married and forming many passionate liaisons, he remained all his life the loving companion of the other great Existentialist of that period, Simone de Beauvoir, author, among other texts, of the feminist classic The Second Sex and that moving tribute to her mother A Very Easy Death. Never afraid to voice his support for those set upon by oppressive governments, Sartre supported the Algerians in their fight against their French colonial occupiers and survived a resulting assassination attempt, supported the Vietnamese against their American imperialist invaders, and in May 1968 joined the students protesting against the French Government. When, because of his support for Algerian independence, he was threatened with arrest and imprisonment for treason, President Charles de Gaulle, comparing Sartre with another famous French philosophical gadfly, declared, “You don’t arrest Voltaire”. For being a great writer and thinker but above all for living authentically the existentialist life he described so passionately, Sartre was loved and adored. More than 50,000 people attended his funeral in 1980. His ashes are now buried, next to those of Simone de Beauvoir, in the Cimetiére de Montparnasse in Paris, and a small city square, near Sartre’s apartment in Rue Bonaparte, has been renamed Place Sartre-Beauvoir

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How is the artistic community in Icelandic getting through the economic crisis in the country? I think the economic crisis has possibly affected artists less than others, in terms of money. We're used to being broke and most of us didn't participate much in the spending spree that has been going on for the past few years. If anything there's even more interesting things going on at the moment. The shock of the crisis has stirred everyone's minds and actually set a lot of interesting projects and dialogue in motion. 

The use of the harmonium and pipe organs in religious music, is much reflected in your work. Can you tell me how that has come about? Our use of those instruments has no religious references. I think our fascination with those kinds of instruments started with a ‘crush’ we have on a small old portable reed organ we borrowed from friends.

Photo by Egill Kalevi Karlsson

Amiina play in St. Canice’s Cathedral as part of Kilkenny Arts Festival on Sunday 9th August. More details: www.kilkennyarts.ie

Are you happy with your new Prime Minister (Johanna Sigurdardottir-ed) so far? The situation in Iceland is really difficult at the moment, so I don't envy her for her job. But she's someone who's been in politics for a long time in Iceland and has been known for acting on what she believes in. And that's something we need right now.

However, it has made touring more difficult for Icelandic musicians. Because of the crash of our currency, everything is twice as expensive as it was a year and a half ago... 

songs from the cold seas

How has the use of your song 'Seoul' in the Hitachi advertisement helped the band? Not sure, really. Maybe a few people will notice the music and learn about amiina that way?

Start: We love ‘Kurr’ (Amiina’s album). I wonder if there is any symbolic notion to the never-ending scarf you are knitting on the cover? Well, there are a few references there I guess. Firstly we have been known to actually knit on stage... On one of our first tours with our friends in Sigur Rós (who we've collaborated and toured with more or less for 10 years) there were a few songs in the set that we didn't play in. So we had our knitting with us on stage.  A nd secondly, and this is more relevant, around the time we made ‘Kurr’ our music making was a bit like that, collectively knitting a scarf. We always compose our music all four of us, and it's all about "knitting" different textures and layers together.

start has a quick chat with Sólrún from Icelandic band Amiina in advance of their visit to the Marble City.


Joe Ambrose’s Diary

a sort of homecoming I

have to, reluctantly, leave Marrakesh behind for a while because it dawns on me that I’ve been down there so long that I’ve let things slip in London. While one can do many things on the Internet, you can’t collect money you’re owed by sending people emails. It requires a more hands on approach. Similarly, despite the fact that writing is a profession which, most of the time, I’ve recently practiced on a computer on the fringes of the Sahara, you need to come to a media town if you want to get new contracts and meet people who’ll advance one’s cause in a variety of ways. So after drifting through Marrakesh airport, around which are nice stylish apartments available for €30,000, I get on a Ryanair plane. After a bumpy flight I’m back in London where everything is bumpy; lots of crap shops have gone to the wall, and its difficult to collect money owed, get book contracts, or meet with the people I want to meet.

*** A publisher I’ve been talking to for twelve months about a book project, a publisher I’d like to be published by and who have more or less said that they’d like to publish me, finally decide that they can’t do the book because of the economic climate. They’re now not planning to do any new books this year, merely a few paperbacks of titles

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they brought out in hardback previously. This is a bit of a blow because the work in question is a niche piece of product that was ideal for this company. They specialise in Arab and Islamic interest books with relatively popular appeal. I can’t think of another publishing house that might be interested in my project. There are lots of publishers doing Arab/Islamic related titles, but most of them are pretty stuffy or academic or disinclined to publish books by what Moroccans call an Ishranee, which means a Christian but by which they mean a foreigner. Luckily my idea is merely that; I’ve not put pen to paper yet and, with this bad news, my idea goes into a digital drawer where it must rest until things get better or I work out another angle.

*** I have a meeting in Notting Hill with a putative new literary agent. I first came across him about seven years ago when I had a short story published in an anthology put out by the publishers that he worked for as a senior editor. They were, and are, one of the biggest UK publishing firms. At that time he approached me and asked if I had a novel he could look at. I didn’t have anything suitable and, when I eventually did got back to him, he’d quit his job to set himself up as an agent. I read in the trade press that his resignation came as a surprise to the


entire industry as it was predicted that he was about to be appointed CEO of the company. He just got a pal of mine a deal with a major conglomerate which has resulted in my pal writing a hardback biography of a young rock star whose work I hold in contempt. Nevertheless it’s a real book with a real publisher and, given the indie/intellectual cachet that the superstar in question enjoys, it should do well. We meet at the Record and Tape Exchange’s bookshop and go for a coffee nearby. All our previous dealings had been by email; this is our first face-toface encounter. He is, as I’d been advised by my pal, an exceptionally pleasant fellow. He likes the idea for a novel that I pitch to him, Hollywood movie style, and mentions editors at three firms whose lists I’d love to be part of who should be interested in my idea. He warns that the industry is going through its most conservative phase right now and says that I’m going to have to write an extract from the book so that he can go sell the idea. “How long should the extract be?” I ask him. “How long is a piece of string?” he says. “A few thousand words at least.” “Should I write a few chapters at various stages in the novel?” “No,” he advises sagely, “write the start of the book, enough to give people a good feel for what you’re trying to do. Enough to make them see what sort of a book it will be.” I undertake that I’ll get this extract to him within a month and I decide to go to Ireland to start work on this.

*** An Irish friend had mentioned to me that one could simply show up at Euston Station and, for £29, purchase a train and ferry one way ticket to Dublin. I decide to do this.

I’ve not taken this route since my earliest days in England. The train is full of these disenfranchised Irish emigrant types for whom time has stood still. They’re still stranded back in that Big Tom/Larry Cunningham world which doesn’t exist anymore beyond the confines of the ageing London Irish. These jokers were thick on the ground when I first moved to London twenty years ago. They represented an embarrasment to the art school/ punk rock Irish crowd who moved into London in the late 80s, a clique that I was part of. I guess I have a little more sympathy for them now, being older myself, but part of me still sees them as a sort of national disgrace. Perhaps this is an unworthy notion but I feel sorry for the families they're going home to visit in a country which has moved on.

*** I reach Dublin at 7.00 a.m. I walk up a wonderfully deserted Grafton Street and I note the many empty shop units. At 8.00 a.m. I go into Bewleys for a restorative coffee and they try to charge me a €10.00 minimum charge. After a fractious conversation I leave €3.00 on the counter and walk out. It’s because of this kind of gangster overcharging that I dislike modern Ireland. Capitalists here are so hungry for money that they’ve killed the goose that laid the golden egg. They deserve what they get. The middle income and working class people who’re suffering the most don’t deserve the countless mini-tragedies they're going through every day. After a week I’ve done the groundwork on my novel extract. Now I’m traveling again. I’m heading back to Morocco to finish this work in a room in a Tangier hotel room where Jack Kerouac stayed when he went to Morocco to visit William Burroughs and to do some work for him. I’m no Kerouac fan but this room is a great one for writing in www.joeambrose.net

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reviews

Visual Art

From ‘Stations’ series - Declan Breen

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our Artists presented work at the ‘Inside Out’ Exhibition (May/June) in Garter Lane Arts Centre in Waterford. Dolores Lyne’s landscapes were the more traditional of the four, but that didn’t stop the artist from including interesting aspects within the pieces particularly the hieroglyphic-type markings of the two ‘Reed Notes at Ballyquirke’ or the eerie isolation created by the individual rocks in the ‘Lakebound Rocks’ set. That sense of isolation was added to by Declan Breen’s five stations sculptures. These were small scale scenarios created in plaster (ostensibly related to the stations of the cross) with individual figures standing in different areas of architectural formations. Perhaps with a nod towards Antonioni, these pieces were high on a sort of existentialist drama, with the additional discernment of various washes of colour -blue, green etc. – differentiating the pieces somewhat. You know an artist is ambitious when they have reduced their name to a single surname, well in advance of the outside world doing it. However Cody’s graphics and logos did bear an individual signature. This may be related to scale, as the works rest somewhat out of the world of graphic design where they would naturally exist. The pieces are hip signs and symbols related to Manhattan, three figuratively based and four others hardedge works, not in the Cecil King vein but in a reductionist

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graphic. The ‘Liberty’ piece – the famous statue’s crown depicted on it’s own or the stairs of the ‘Tribeca’ piece work well within their own simplicity and the use of colour is effective throughout. Kathleen Delaney’s canvases used a set colour palette for her series of idiosyncratic images of dresses. Each dress has a purpose, a p e r s o n a l i t y o r e v e n a s t o r y t o t e l l . T h e r e was a baroque richness about the pieces, like overripe fruit falling from the canvas, a notion of drama within the pieces with additional background images/symbols of caged birds, cross shapes and a scissors adding a sinister aspect to the work. Dresses of ‘Decay’, ‘Fire and Water’, and ‘Tears’ tell of constraint and despair under a patina of glamour - these works would spontaneously combust such is the vibrancy exhibited (DB)

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he BA in Art Degree Show of Carlow IT’s Wexford Campus was held in a VEC building in the town. The building was a bit of a labyrinth and as such aided the unexpected. One naturally wants to make connections between the disparate elements that exist in a group show and I was struck by the interest in the use of light sources depicted by the painters in the exhibition: in Martin Redmond’s small scale interiors;


found items were recrafted into new pieces, a chair, a ‘bed’ of cones, but still retaining a totemic sense. Back downstairs, Derek McCloskey presented us with videos of normalcy, a trip on a boat projected using a door as a screen. The viewer concentrated harder because of the context, but does the event gain more value or less? Indeed what value can be placed on representations of normalacy in a world requesting constant agitation? Finally into the strangest of all the works: Richard Carr’s dark booths, where four individuals could sit with headphones listening to a disssonant sound of drilling, while also having the ability to control the lighting of another’s booth. GuantanamoBay-lite attempts to disassociate the individual from a constructive meaning of the present were at play here and this piece and it’s progeny hold bountiful opportunities for this artist to explore. One last point on this show; it was good to see in the exhibition catalogue notes that the students seemed to be reading a lot, using source material and developing themes with some rigour (DB)

David Booth - Oil on Canvas

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reviews

Emma Murphy’s decrepit houses and warehouses illuminated by the glow from a television set; even Dee Walsh’s arcitectural investigations has a touch of Edward Hopper about them (her piece on paper worked especially well to illustrate her subject matter). On the other hand, David Booth’s attractive portraits were notable by the absence of colour, with gridded figures blending in a blur of motion into the plane of the canvas. Emmet O’Sullivan took a constructivist approach, an almost mathematical delineation of lines and rectangles floating on a vague Rothkoesque backdrop. This idea of gridding was repeated in Kate Redmond’s photographs where images were cut in a patterned way giving a sense of repetition, explosion and flux to the pieces. Michelle Brannigan took landscape photographs through a funnelled mechanism, which gave an ethereal, sometimes beautiful quality to the images. Fergus Doyle mapped a stretch of reclaimed landscape in photographs. The use of surveyors tools like characters in the foreground suggested a powerplay between nature and man, as if this act was a haughty matter of reclamation by map rather than the brute force required to control natural forces. The outcome perhaps still to be decided. Rebekah McCarthy’s treated video pieces dealt with her own social life, a key area of course, of the student world. Bernie Hassett in video also, looked at a cultural quirk – a small house beside a holy well where people leave supplications in notes and holy statues to the Saint of the well. The work as a piece of documentation worked well. Craig Bell used digital images to show the duality that exists in aspects of personality. This work slinked edgily along mental collapse dipping it’s toe gingerly at times. It worked best at an Emin-style room – crouch down to enter – where a small desk and chair were set. The desk vibrated with loud music – a teenage rebellion perhaps, embodied in the shaking drawers. Using video again Erin Donoghue escaped through the reflected waters of Wexford’s rivers; Emma MacLoughlin animated a family of locks, Pixar-like, to give them individual personalities; Michelle Murphy’s installation was a table of discarded utensils, plates and cups set to a soundtrack of everyday life; Tracey Costello installed the detritus of a house, bringing together the disparate, now collected, to create new connections in a public space. Valerie Kilroy’s sculpture attempted a poetic assemblage of bone, wood and feather. These


reviews

Visual Art

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tart also got to see the BA in Design in Waterford Institute of Technology (June). Here the students work from a number of projects set throughout the year, some of which end up on display or in folders for the exhibition. It’s always difficult to assess this show as the students exhibit strengths and weaknesses in different measures. But...we liked Aoife Dunne’s arty and striking shopping centre photographs and Raymond Doyle’s derivative updates of Hitchcock’s Vertigo poster for his Riverside Fox Theatre series. Niamh Cronin’s strong point seemed to be illustration judging by her Mill Hag Poems collection (we liked the use of thread in her grey eating disorder/health presentation, also); Rowena Leavy won a deserved award for the quality of the treated artwork for the Songbird series; Mikhail Farelly’s timely Amnesty International poster of Robert Mugabe was noted; Paddy McGrath’s celebrity portraits for a road safety job were suberb, fabulously crisp and styled images; we also liked Chris Luton’s computerised storyboards and we loved the

blissed out children’s food and clothing packaging and design from Karen Sullivan (BM)

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imerick artist Nuala O’Sullivan had a small show, ‘Other Peoples Lives’, in the upstairs gallery of the Watergate Theatre in Kilkenny (April/May). The exhibition of five paintings used old family photographs and movies from the 1950’s depicting family members in social settings or attending events. O’Sullivan uses thin translucent layers of paint to get the effect of celluloid or the washed out colour of some photographs from the period. The techniques and images used comment on and heighten the already tense constraints of 1950’s Ireland and the use of titles such as ‘The Other Woman’ and ‘Innocent Voyeur’ serve to drive the pieces into Douglas Sirk territory. One is left with the impression that these are variations on the Strand cigarette advertising images of the period where a cool exterior is deemed useful, despite the unsettling butterflies that might exist underneath (BM)

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‘Shane Lynch’ - Paddy McGrath

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ypsy Ray is a survivor of breast cancer and Laura Gladney suffers from an autoimmune disease called Systemic Lupus Erythemathosus (SLE). Both created artworks for a show entitled ‘Hide and Seek’ that featured on the Waterford Healing Arts Trust walls (April/June). Hide and Seek was a clever title for the exhibition because it suggests the private and internalised nature of illness, one’s wishes perhaps, to keep it hidden and as depicted in these works, the actual biology and microbiology – the often unseen nature of illness. Gladney’s oils focus on the flesh, but in close-up, the wear and the casual break-down of the surface of the skin – the rashes that SLE causes amongst it’s other traits. Ray, a highly regarded photographer looks even closer at her illness, depicting the altering cells in her body. The works, g r a p h i t e o n p a p e r , s e e m t o t r a c k t h e changing circumstances of the condition – with the pieces exhibited alongside each other as if chronologically. Both artists’ images deal with the subject matter abstractly and in thatmanner hold to the theme of the show. In this way, they don’t try to ‘name’ the illness as if they can control it through art, but attempt to bring out an alternate visual language that can describe it more – to approach it in another manner and attempt to understand what has taken place within their bodies (SR)


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‘Cover Up #5’ - Gypsy Ray

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he Wexford Arts Centre celebrated thirty five years in existence with an exhibition of promotional material and photographs from across the years. The posters and flyers on display showed the changing qualities of design over the past number of years as well as depicting the broad range of activities the Centre has been involved in. In the misdt of it all, we saw programmes for a pre-Artemis Fowl Eoin Colfer play, a photograph of a youthful Neil Jordan at an event and a shot of Billy Roche performing in one of his works. I expect the people of Wexford would delight in spotting the great and the good that have passed through the building over the decades and are depicted across the exhibition. The show ended with plans for an upgrade and refurbishment of the Centre. Always a hopeful sign. Downstairs in Wexford Ar ts Centre was ‘Between the Lines’ an exhibition of work by Angela Frewer and Michael Moore. Moore’s seven white ceramic pieces in the central part of the Gallery had a solidity to them, but with an altering silhouette as one moved around them. Sometimes suggesting a closed vessel shape, with

avid Beattie’s ‘Remote Control’ exhibition at the Butler Gallery (June/July) has a Wilhelm Reichian feel about it. Not content with making mini-clouds appear in one piece, he lends tacit credence to Reich’s mysterious theory of orgone with basic constructed experiments that relay and capture energy. The pieces tend to be minor experiments – the disparate reflections of the mirrored ‘Circle of Triangles’; the aforementioned ‘Cloudmaker’, where a drop of water falls on a electric hob and naturally turns into a puff of steam upon contact or ‘Drum Roll’ – a visual play on words where a plastic bag, attached to a circular motor drifts around a drum. ‘Under laboratory conditions’ may not be the cry, because Beattie is aware of the changeable nature of the factors involved – the pastic bag will never travel in the same way twice, or the cloud of water vapour will never be repeated in the same manner - the rudimentary application of science in the work exists in a world that plays with it too. The large piece ‘Controls for the Hear t of the Sun Part 2’ which fills the final section of the gallery confirms the elements of chance that are key to the works. A Super 8 film is projected through a lamp (outside of a normal film projector’s gate), the reel passing in an extended and unprotected manner over spools in a cyclical fashion – a triangular section of aluminum captures the sound (modulated through a sound desk) which exists as a dull drone at the apex of the aluminum panels. The work is so extended and variable by nature, that it cannot accurately prove or disprove any fact. Apart from the fact that it exists and is witnessed by other people. But perhaps this is a proof in itself?

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reviews

a tapering towards the base, othertimes multilayered sculptures in their own right, the works grew and receded to the eye, clinically attractive at all times. Frewer’s paintings took their lead from the lines that made them. One, two and three panelled pieces hinting at music as a source, the lines played out in bursts of excitement or came together, as in ‘Host of Pilgrims’ into depictions of near three-dimensional forms. Against washes of colour, there was physicality of markmaking on display, somewhat rhythmic but also with a liquid languidness or a sense of contemplation about them. This work in all it’s freedom and gestural expression seems to have been learned and honed over a period of time (DB) DB


reviews

Visual Art

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One of the images on display in the exhibition ‘Sky’ offers a final clue. Yes, there is science, and there is the whimsy of play, but Beattie gives us an image of a plane against a blue sky which suggests the sense of mystery that also exists within the work. How does the plane stay in the sky? Why does the water evaporate? These are childish questions scoffed at by engineers and meteorologists, but even when answered tend to leave us wondering still. Beattie with a child’s eye and some basic equipment tries to figure it all out again. Reich would be proud (SR)

ar ter Lane in Water ford also housed Aidan Dunne’s exhibition of paintings and photographs ‘Sight Unseen’ (May/June). Dunne’s photographs capture natural phenomena, especially the interplay of light on foliage and the ravages caused by time and man on surfaces. Four paintings in the main exhibition space in Garter Lane are painted with a deliberation and equalness of brushstroke that belies their natural subject matter. Dunne abstracts them almost into pattern. This is reflected too in many of the photographs, where light and it’s interaction with surface, leaves a confused impressionistic screened image with no figure or ground to allow distinction. The urban photographs allow more clarity, such the buildings of ‘The Hague’, but Dunne always returns to the abstract, often to the microcosm the torn surfaces in ‘Plywood’ or the shadows of writing on the blue door ‘Off Harrison Row.’ As viewers we become keenly aware of Dunne’s role in image-making, where a broader concrete reality is mediated by the artist. Dunne asks us to look anew at the surface whilst cleverly obscuring the totality of the image, leaving the viewer to deliberate alone (SR)

‘Cloudmaker’ David Beattie. Electric Hob, water container, wood, electrical cable. 220 x 120 x 120 cm. 2009. Courtesy Butler Gallery

‘Off Harrison Row’ (Detail) - Aidan Dunne

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The Lions Mane

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trands is the debut album of The Lions Mane which began as a project dreamed up by Kilkenny’s Alan Dawson who wanted to make ‘music for music’s sake’. Despite wanting to remain anonymous from the music, to allow it to speak for itself, it wasn’t long after he began posting his songs on myspace that there was a strong demand for live shows which meant he wasn’t going to be left in his chosen obscurity. Originally he played all the instruments himself but to help with live shows, drummer James O’Brien was drafted in. Local musicians from bands such as South and Pigeon Hole were also recruited to play. ‘Strands’ is the culmination of over a year’s labour. According to the bands’ myspace, the Lions Mane sound is inspired by the likes of King Crimson, Yes and also the Seattle grunge bands such as Alice in Chains and Soundgarden, the latter being obvious when you listen to the album. The whole album was produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Alan Dawson. This is no mean

feat and has to be admired. The album opens with the instrumental ‘DNA 1’, which for me is actually one of the highlights. The opening few seconds sound almost as if the album is going to be some form of ‘drone-rock’ like some of the later ‘Earth’ stuff, though this quickly changes as the song goes on, featuring a bodhrán and layered vocals. Overall it’s quite a nice track. As soon as you hear Dawson’s rugged vocals on the second track ‘Leaf’, you recognise that the album is very reminiscent of grunge, right down to the vocals. There’s no denying that Alan Dawson can sing, he’s got a powerful, grainy voice very similar to Layne Staley/Chris Cornell. There’s five tracks called DNA – (DNA 1, 2...) and they almost feel like breaks between the other songs in the album rather than songs unto themselves which makes the album feel like one entity rather than just a collection of songs. However, when you hear ‘Pullitout’ and ‘Buddha’ the album starts to feel a bit samey, almost as if it’s ‘grunge by numbers’. This isn’t helped by the fact that each song is so long. ‘Leaf’, ‘Buddha’ and ‘Pullitout’ are all over six minutes long, with ‘Pullitout’ clocking in at nearly nine minutes. The album does get better as it goes on as it begins to shed the tired grunge sound. Parts of ‘Kingdom’ sound almost like ‘math-rock’ bands such as Don Caballero. The final track ‘Smegma’ is one the albums’ better tracks for me, drifting in and out of varying styles such as reggae and metal. The clean guitar in this song is really lovely. The project has to be admired; what started out as a small project blossomed into a well-developed and professional sounding album. The multi-instrumentalism and the quality of the production of ‘Strands’ shows that Dawson is a man with obvious talent and there are flashes of good songwriting throughout. Personal highlights for me are ‘DNA 1’ and ‘DNA 3’. There are some really interesting sounds in both these tracks, however, you can’t help but feel when listening, that most of the songs are just too long and sound too similar to one another. It’s difficult to distinguish one song from another. That being said, I’m sure fans of Alice in Chains, Soundgarden or Tool would be much more appreciative of the Lions Mane debut album and I would recommend they give it a listen (JK)

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here have been plenty who agree that the unique at tributes that make the Rhythm & Roots Festival (Kilkenny/May) a success for the twelfth year running, has to be both a modest and inconspicuous essence and its’ towering calibre of talent.

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reviews

Music


reviews

Music The only lasso around one’s neck here when it comes to the Rhythm & Roots weekend, is that there is just too much to hear in one jam-packed weekend. Folks who waited with baited breath got an early taste of what was to come with a pre-festival gig in Cleeres on Thursday evening. TV Jones and the Tomahawks started pumping out some rockabilly roars to warm up the early dwellers. This talented bunch of hicks, had just about every bar in Kilkenny bouncing by the end of the weekend. Turning it down a notch and adding the sweet vocal stylings of a lady, Melissa McClelland supplied those looking for some moody alt country harmonizing with a nice set on Sunday afternoon. Considering that her singing pipes were somewhat under the weather, she still transcended her tunes in a charming and reposeful manner. Then came the hard working threesome, The Deans, who not being restricted by the confines of a pub, set up shop at the Town Hall and had their sounds of blues-rock sliding down High Street. Anyone that was lucky enough to survive a whole Sunday full of acts from The Pilgrim Sisters at

The Field, B & The Honeyboys in Ryan’s, Peter Broderick holding up at The Clubhouse and Otis Gibbs in the back of Cleeres were among the special ones to witness a troop of well dressed mad men down in the underbelly of the Ormonde Hotel. Well the Jim Jones Revue sure showed folks what real rock'n'roll mayhem is like. As lead singer, Mr Jones, swung violently around the stage while bellowing and howling into the microphone; he had the crowd in a frenzy. There were a select few that didn’t particularly enjoy the sound, but those who like it loud and arduous, left with their feet burning and double dosed up on rock‘n’roll. For the die-hard fans of the festival and those whose bones hadn’t shattered or fractured, the boundaries of Paris Texas put the festival to a close with a bang, quite literally. This year had the return of Hillbilly Casino doing their thing. The packed house quaked and shaked to the last sounds of the festival. Tired and brimming; murmurs of next year were already on the tongues of punters. There ain’t no darn festival like this; that’s just the way we roll down here in the South East (IM)

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START Magazine Summer 2009