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APRIL 2020

marking a moment in time spent in isolation for the arts community of West Cork sharing the creativity and comradery that is the hub at Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre.

APRIL 2020 is a project that creatively recorded experiences as they happened during the COVID-19 global pandemic. It invited individuals from the community directly connected with Uillinn West Cork Arts Centre and the Arts for Health Programme to explore their connect and disconnect, personal and professional lived experience during this very challenging time.  Artists, participants, staff and colleagues each recorded one day during the month of April in 2020. The record took many forms each true to the moment experienced.

The Long-Eared Owl

 

Oh no!

It can’t be!

But it is…

 

The lifeless body of our crepuscular neighbour

Found on the ground

Where it hadn’t been

Earlier on in the morning.

 

Was it another bird?

Or a fox?

Or poison?  Probably poison.

 

I cried.

Not only for the loss of this beautiful creature

And the gentle call that accompanied our early morning and late evening dog walks,

But also, for the broken promise of the ‘squeaky door’ cries of the owlets in July.

 

The hope that everything will be OK,

That life goes on

And Nature will help us through

These strange days.

Dreams shattered,

Like the remaining feathers scattered on the breeze.

Another life lost

Gone but not forgotten.

I recently found myself as an ‘insider’in Bantry Hospital. I had difficulty breathing and found myself in the COVID isolation room attached to a nebuliser. While this was scary, it was a lovely to be recognise a familiar voice behind the disguise. The fully masked up health care attendant turned out to be Mary one of the students on the ‘Introduction to Arts for Healthcare’ course that I taught. I know Bantry Hospital well and I was due to be working on a ten week project in St Joseph’s ward there starting this month.

As I lay in my bed I watched the crows outside flying with sticks to build nests. I could see the winter heliotrope taking over the rough ground outside. I watched the clouds. This gave me great peace in my connection to nature. Biophilia is the term that describes this innate human desire to be in connection with natural world. I had planned a ‘biophilic’ project to be part of the Ellen Hutchins Festival , part plant printing and part film making with the residents and staff. The festival celebrates Ellen Hutchins as ‘Ireland’s first female botanist’. I have a connection with her having once lived on her family land in Ardnagashel among the amazing arboretum planted by the Hutchins family.

In front of my bed there was a faded bluing print of trees. I wished I could take it down and recolour it, make them vivid and alive. They looked cold and dead and already a distant memory. It hung beside the clock like a momento mori. The power of art !

I mused on what art I would like to see in front of me. What picture would give me comfort ? Later was taken to have a chest scan, and as I was rolled along the corridor I was admiring the artwork . I sat outside the scan room waiting on my wheelchair noticing the difference in viewing from this eye height. Becky Keyser’s photo on glass of a naked female back was touching in its delicate scale and talked to me of vulnerability . Inside the room was a pleasant surprise. In a room dominated by the huge machine in which I was going to pass through lying on my back, there on the ceiling were beautiful photo light box panels depicting birds flying through apple blossom. Heavenly. An image that inspired memories of moments of bliss looking at the blossom of my own garden, lying on a blanket, looking up at blue sky. Perfect medicine for this moment as I was urged to take a deep breath and hold, as a laser drew a picture of my inside.

I am musing on my time spent in the inside, there will be something made of it. I tested negative for COVID and I’m tucked up in my own bed now recovering with the help of lots of steroids and I’m drinking a cup of nettle tea with local honey. I am looking out at my apple trees and giving thanks to all those who took such good care of me in Bantry Hospital. Keep well everyone. You are blooming marvellous !

07.04.2020

The Art of Unintended Consequences

By

Pascal Ungerer

When asked to take part in the Uillinn’s creative initiative ‘APRIL 2020’ where artists that are connected to the Uillinn are asked to creatively record one day of there working practice during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, I immediately thought about uploading a diary entry. I have been keeping a diary anyway as part of my current residency at the Uillinn so it seemed like the logical thing to do. The diary I keep is intermittent and doesn’t have the tangental linearity that a traditional diary would have. I sometimes edit and add to older entry’s if I have ideas or information that is relevant to that topic. It is also a way for me to compile, ideas, thoughts, information, photos and research together.

Often when I am stuck for ideas about things to photograph, draw or write about I go through some of the books I have read in the past in which I have outlined certain passages. One of my go-to books over the years has been ‘Industrial Ruins: Space, Aesthetics and Materiality’ by Tim Edensor. For me, this is one of the seminal books in this area of Cultural Geography. In it he writes:

Accidental sculptural forms emerge from violence or collapse and the effects of hybridisation. Twisted metal, a bank of shattered windows, a trail of differently coloured paperwork, a container spilling its contents, a fallen beam, an isolated machine, stacks of ageing boxes and a multitude of unidentifiable objects lie inscrutably across floors.

I have often come across the decay and destruction of rusted metal and broken concrete on abandoned sites which have very sculptural forms and qualities, a sort of accidental art – that can be very visceral and visually imposing. I really noticed this on a recent trip to Chile where I visited an abandoned mining town there. The town is called Chacabuco, and used to be a nitrate mine in the Atacama Desert. I subsequently found out that Chacabuco became a concentration camp during the Pinochet regime in1973 – something I wasn’t aware of when visiting the place. The actual town itself was closed down in 1938 having only functioned for 14 years.
The most interesting parts of this place are not the quotidian of houses and domestic buildings that were abandoned there but rather the twisted and rusted remnants of the industrial infrastructure left behind to gradual decay over time. There is something so sculptural about these structures, you could almost imaging them being supplanted into the Turbine Hall at the Tate

Modern. Mike Nelson’s exhibition at the Tate Britain in 2019 comes to mind, where he filled the Duveen Galleries with old industrial machinery. There was something very polished and preserved about the machinery on display there. Its careful curation set it in contrast to the brutal and haphazard destruction and decay of the structures left behind in Chacabuco.

 

( Image 1 ) Some of the mining machinery left behind in Chacabuco.

 

The rusted machines at Chacabuco also have a scale that makes them dominate the landscape, and somehow their rusted decay seems apt in the vast desolation of the Atacama desert. The sand and the empty landscape act as a sort of blank canvas or white gallery wall to frame these structures. Because of its scale, function and its brief working life as well as its different guises Chacabuco feels like it is in many ways incommensurate with it history. It is a place that is intrinsically ephemeral, vast but yet brief and in constant flux.

French Academic Jean Baudrillard wrote in his book ‘America’:

Desert: luminous, fossilised network of an inhuman intelligence, of a radical indifference – the indifference not merely of the sky, but of the geological undulations, where the metaphysical passions of space and time alone crystallise. Here the terms of desire are turned upside down

each day, and night annihilates them. But wait for the dawn to rise, with the awakening of the fossil sounds, the animal silence.

The broken and dilapidated mining structures of Chacabuco, have also crystallised into the geology of the desert, their rusted sepia complementing the scorched ochre of the desert ground. They too have been ‘turned upside down’ in there twisted state of alterity in the unending vastness of the Atacama desert.

( Image 2 ) The remnants of Chacabuco Mine.

 

The idea of ‘traces’ and ‘remnants’ has always fascinated me. Places with a storied history or a hidden past. For my residency in at the Uillinn I had planned on traveling extensively around Cork and West Cork gathering images and stories to use as source material for my painting work. West Cork is full of traces from its past, some are visible others are hidden with barely any signs of their past history. Over the years I have happened upon, explored, read about and researched many of these places – abandoned famine villages, or clachán’s, old mines and industrial infrastructure, ruinous castles and great houses as well as more recent ghost estates, empty factories or burnt- out hotels.

 

A couple of weeks ago when I started the residency and before the lockdown – which seems like a long time ago now – I drove down to the Beara Peninsula. I wanted to photograph some of the old military batteries on Bere Island. These batteries were originally built in 1898 to protect a British fleet which was anchored at Castletownbere. The whole of the Bere Peninsula has really interesting structural legacies from previous times. It has a rich history in mining from the bronze age era to the 19th and 20th century where copper was mined extensively. There are a couple of chimney stacks that still remain at Coom mine and Mountain Mine near Allihies which I plan on investigating further when the lockdown has been lifted. I started doing some sketches of the Mountain Mine this morning to get a sense of the place and its structure without actually going there. I have always been interested in the topography of mines and the way that much of this landscape is shaped and altered by industry. This kind of industrial topography feels like a battleground between man and nature and this fractured and broken landscape is a testament this legacy of conflict.

 

( Image 3 ) One of the decommissioned military batteries on Bere Island.

Though the mines around the Bere don’t have an immediate visual impact on the topography of today, in the past they would have had a huge affect on the visual appearance of the landscape and how it was shaped.

In 2018 I visited the Llanberis slate mines in North Wales, where shelves of rock are etched out of the mountain side like enormous stone rice paddies. The Llanberis Slate mines are an ethereal

landscape, but it is also a landscape of change. Once teeming with people living and working in the area with the noise of production and industry echoing through the mountain valleys. Now it is just a landscape of abandonment and silence. I got lost on the mountain at Llanberies and only just managed to find the small mountain road I had taken to reach the top of the mountain before the last of the evening light faded. It felt quite ominous with the rain and mist rolling in and limited daylight left with such precarious ground underfoot and steep ravines and drop-offs so nearby.

 

( Image 4 ) The Llanberis slate mines in North Wales which is no longer in use.

 

I think there is something almost haunting about these places despite their immense beauty. These are ruinous landscapes where the waste ground of past industry has somehow morphed into the natural ecology of the landscape, creating a strange kind of hybrid landscape that is almost lunar and otherworldly.

Tim Edensor writes:

Ruins are already allegories of memory, but in addition, the involuntary memories which ruins provoke and the ways in which they are haunted by numerous ghosts foreground experiences of memory which are contingent, frequently inarticulate, sensual and immune from attempts to codify and record them.

For me this landscape and other post-industrial landscapes are haunted by the ghosts of the past, the people who worked there and the scared landscape left behind to posterity.

When I drove back to Cork after spending the day taking photographs on Bere Island, I passed the burnt-out Reendesert Hotel near Ballylickey. I had passed this place countless times before but had never stoped to have a look, so this time I pulled over and parked up so I could explore the area. It is a really strange place, across the road is an old derelict house, to the right of the hotel is a small ghost estate of around a dozen houses, almost totally hidden from the road by overgrown trees and shrubs, and further behind that there are the ruins of Reendesert Court which is a nice example of an early 17th century fortified house. It is almost like the ruins of Reendesert Court have somehow metastasised and enveloped the surrounding areas. Dereliction can have a contagion effect. It is as if the whole place has a hex of failure, dysfunction and dereliction – I am sure in times past this would have been attributed to some kind of ghost or curse adding to the layers of history and mythology to the place.

 

( Image 5 ) The derelict and partially burnt out Reendesert Hotel.

 

One could look at ruins as being mundane – a banality of the everyday, but it is their eccentricity and unpredictability that contradicts this assumption. They are untethered, like self-perpetuating organisms that are at ease with their own degradation, their pestilence unyielding to all notions of

order and control. They are subversive structures, usurping their own function and place history. Ruins are interlopers, but in a pernicious way, gradually taking hold, slowly chocking the life out of their original design and function. Ruins are misanthropic and are the outsiders of the built world. They are portents of an uncertain future with their foundations set in a past that has already been laid to waste. They are a testament to time and decay. But there is a dichotomy to ruins because they also coincide with nature and regrowth. Often a road’s verge or a derelict house, an abandoned building site or waste ground can function as an unofficial sanctuary for a wide array of plant and animal life hidden in the undergrowth. It always amazes me how quickly nature can regenerate and ‘take back’ and there is something very comforting about that idea.

 

Reflecting on time, counting my blessings in times of challenge and moments of joy…

Text of Poem in Film:

Today sitting on a sofa

In front of a story

To write

To watch

To witness

The strong smell of cut grass

Freshly cut,

scent of Spring In the air

as a lone plane flies overhead

A rarer sight these days

Moments or minutes later a birds wings beat

I lament and then I live through those beating wings

I breathe the cleaner air of today

A day unlike any other

Unique in it’s time, it’s place

In the midst of this moment of history

Today the 9th day of the 4th month

Of the 2020th year since Jesus was born

Or something

Today exactly 2 months away

from the day I was born

35 years ago

Today the sun shines bright

Blood in my cup

Super pink moon brought it to me like

A gift.

Today I bleed for you Mother

Today I bleed for you and I breathe for you

I get down on my knees for you

I spin around and around and I thank God

I have your soft, steady heart beat underneath my feet

I feel your embrace as I propel myself into your arms

Your body beneath me grass covered

Deer droppings and other droppings beneath my bare feet

As I run and run and run ankles twisting a little

Me spinning around and around and falling to the ground

Dizzy from the amount of ifs and buts and maybes

Tomorrow another day not to be played out today

Yesterday my electronic pocket device pick pocketed

Not from my pocket but from my hand into another hand

Connected in more ways than one

We are

All in this together

Together we can turn the world around

Together we can turn upside down

See things anew

Let go, let it all go,

Let it all go because today

Today is a new day

Until it ends and then there is..

Another today.

Tomorrow doesn’t exist

Neither does yesterday

Only today and today is my day

…the now…ever changing…ever becoming…being

Flow
Freedom
Openness
Change
Decision
Reaction
Movement
Flow

Rest…be open…trust…believe…feel…

APRIL2020 StellaJust Give Me a Break – Please!

At 6 in the morning, they tear me out of oblivion. I hate it. At least it is only music they want from me. That I can do. I kind of enjoy it myself, I have to admit… some soothing piano music. Out of experience, however, I know this nice relaxing state won’t last long. Usually they start to annoy me half an hour later…And I am proven just right: 6:35 my inner clock tells me. What is wrong with them? As usual, they force me to write some text about hair. Pages and pages full of hairy information. Why? Who will ever want to read that? And they won’t even let me play music to distract myself – no, they like silence. Crazy if you ask me. For me now it is searching the internet as they tell me to, editing this annoying text about hair according to their wishes – which, by the way, I have had to deal with for three months now! – and working with some literature database. I suppose no one can imagine how hard that is for me. Not only because I cannot stand producing another page about hair, but because it takes a huge effort and a lot of energy to do all that all day and all at once! They think if I run out of energy they can just plug me in and charge me and that’s it. But no one ever thinks about my feelings. Maybe I need a break from time to time, have they ever thought of that? A little bit of time to myself to cool down and get my thoughts in order. I don’t think that is too much to ask. But somehow they never listen to me, or, well, they never ask and I don’t really know how to tell them. But if they thought about me for just one second, they would know that I JUST WANT TO HAVE A LITTLE BREAK FROM ALL THAT HAIR! Since they obviously don’t care about what I think, I don’t see another solution. I will show them how it feels to have their will forced on them all the time! I will be lazy today, slow. Let’s see how they like that. Ha! …I know I have to be subtle. If I overdo it, they will just shut me down. So instead of opening the tab in my browser right away, I just wait a tiny bit longer than usual. And for the next one a bit longer again. And a bit longer for the next tab…That’s funny. I know they are getting impatient. Ok, what’s next… Ah, they want me to open a pdf document. How about I just don’t do that? This is so exciting! I haven’t had this much fun in ages. I should do this mor… CLICK CLICK CLICK CLICK… Stop that! What are they clicking me for? Do they think I don’t understand what they want from me? CLICK CLICK… OK, ok, I will open this boring document. I wonder what it is about. Hair of course! No, that is just too much. I refuse to let them use me for this. Enough is enough! I am old, I feel hot, I am tired, my battery is running low and I definitely have had enough hair to deal with! I will take a break now! Like it or not. I tell them I need updating. If I take my time with it, this should give me at least an hour.

And finally I have some relaxing time just to myself…

Bright times, shaded by gloom.
Seconds, hours. Hours, days.
Freedom paused with Spring to bloom.
Burdened minds, heavy they weigh.

Just out of reach, my loved ones wait.
I’ll see them when the road is clear.
Beyond a mile or a golden gate,
One day coming, I’ll have them near.

In a swift future, boundless and free,
A true heart to you, a heart you’ll see.
My friend, my father, my brother, my mother.
Be it this side, the other: one way or another.

Bénédicte_17thApril_Diary Entry

I started a project with my friend and fellow artist Trees Gevers, spontaneously, on the 25th of March, following a phone conversation during which we discussed sharing art-making on a daily basis, at least for the duration of the lockdown, with the possibility of continuing beyond that.

We text each other a word every morning, each in turn, and we both ‘make art’, or even just ‘make something’, or ‘do something’, based on that word. In the evening, we send each other photos of what we made during the day, and have a discussion via text message about our responses, both creative and affective.

We straight away found that the project worked in ways that we hadn’t anticipated – it gives a focus to, and through, the day; it puts things in a slightly different, slightly broader, and deeper, perspective; it provides space and opportunity for reflection. Some of the words to date have been: weed, hole, turn, foot, connect, circle, close, balance, torn.

Since the start of the pandemic I check the coronavirus worldometer every night, so the background of my 17th April ‘diary entry’ comprises all the data for that evening, the chaotic arrangement reflecting the state of the planet right now. The images are largely taken from our joint project. Of the images: the take on Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, the tree becoming toilet paper, and the dandelions are Trees’s, the rest are mine.

2020_04_21 1_10 pm Office Lens

LOCATION: TRAGUMNA, SKIBBEREEN, COUNTY CORK. 51°30’09.8″N 9°15’52.4″W 51.502718, -9.264558

One need only glance at social media, news streams or a television screen to learn of the enormity of the current health challenge. Those of a certain disposition will of course point to other and arguably greater challenges faced around the world and decry the reaction to this virus. I resist for today any temptation to be drawn in and reserve this time to examine my own reaction to the situation I find myself in.

I am well, as are those I live with and my children and grandchildren are likewise. I would be considered in the at-risk category but having a fatalistic optimism about my mortality I refuse to be concerned about the unavoidable and inevitable and dedicate my energy for the present.

 Social isolation is not a new thing in my life and indeed in many ways I like it. Where I live and, in the community, the idea of not crowding people and keeping your distance is quite normal outside immediate family. Restriction on travel is welcome in that I am forced to occupy myself positively which is good for my sense of wellbeing. I am reminded that enough is sufficient and self-sufficiency is contentment.

One of my acquired rituals involves feeding wild birds and in a more involved way our local seagulls – they who are always ready to remind me of their presence. Raucous scavengers they are but not the unpleasant creatures they are considered by many town dwellers. Every day they remind me that there is joy in living in the moment and it is only necessary to satisfy need. Want is reserved for humans and should perhaps be returned to the place it belonged in my childhood when my longing for new things would draw the rebuke that I was building castles in the clouds.

 “In Old Gods Time” was often interjected to his stories by my father, to such an extent that I remember the insertion while many of the stories are long forgotten. It is an interesting phrase, an incantation, a mantra to lead the spirit where perhaps we belong more comfortably.

There is a belief that Danú, mother of Dannan and others was in fact the mother of Earth, and all of mankind to whom she entrusted care of her creation and all that live on earth.

I am thinking now of a magical place which I can only visit from memory today where perhaps Danú was given her due and we had a window to her domain our Mother God.

I am reminded too of some lines I wrote some time ago when thinking of summer days and our strand and the multi layered nature of our being.

Whisper.

Standing on the outside

Looking in

Seeing the places

I have been

Uncomprehending

How was I there

How could I share

In so much that

Was so pointless

And so wrong.

 

Sitting on the seashore

In the chill

Feeling all the warmth

That it brings

Sounds that can be

Gentle can be harsh

But always a companion

To my thoughts

 

Lying on a rock

Looking up

Beyond what I can see

What I can touch

The winds rushing

Silent roar

I could lie here

For evermore.

 

Curled up on the inside

Looking out

Dare I reach

Or speak

Or shout

Out all that is wrong

That I can see

Perhaps if I whisper

You will hear.

LOCKDOWN   DAYS   IN SCHULL COMMUNITY  HOSPITAL.

BY Róisín

 

 

SUNRISE

CLEAR SKIES

OPEN OUR EYES

WATER LAPPING

LAUGHTER

CHATTING

BIRDS SING

BELLS RING

DOCTOR CALLS

BUSY HALLS

FRESH SCONES

ICE CREAM CONES

MOBILE PHONES

VIBER,SKYPE,WHATS APP,

EAGER VOICES,NEWS,CHAT

NO HAND HOLDING,NO TOUCHING,

EYES SEARCHING

HEARTS ACHING

ALL UNDERSTANDING FOR A  TIME

BUT…

HAS ANYONE SEEN SOMEONE OF MINE

FAST ACTION

DISTRACTION

MUSIC,MOVIES,PUZZLES,GAMES,LETTERS WRITTEN,STORIES READ

SOON IT COMES TIME FOR BED

DREAMING,HOPING FOR THE TIME

I WILL HOLD,HUG AND TOUCH SOMEONE OF MINE.

A Movement Writing…

Emptying to breath and wind circling in, out, through to dissolving bone to stone, limb to branch, eye to crevice, lip to moss, container of mixed material composition.

No beginning, no end, underlying openness. Layers of rock and bone, folds of fissure and skin, surfaces leaking, one pouring into another, brow to blanket spongy softness.

Above, a puffy sky with tracing ink jet slowly evaporating. Below, spine softens into vertebrae holding ground. Skull support, melting scalp to hair rib of grass blade, entwining, submerging, green brown foliage. Drawn down into sinking earth core, unfolding dark space.

A timelessness, sucking up out of depth to lightness of swift birdsong, shifting from remoteness to ease, the sinking emerging, the emerging vibrating, the vibrating resounding to ever present invincible earth – still alive inside of her. Her core melts into mine to solidify.

Opening thought

The national emergency that we are in due to the Covid pandemic puts all our lives and the importance of our health and wellbeing into sharp focus.   One thinks first are those who are seriously ill, the dying and those who have passed on.  Also their families and the health care staff caring directly for those most vulnerable at this time.

The saving of lives through social distancing and personal hygiene as per Government protocols remains the priority.  There are also understandably very high levels of public anxiety, given the uncertainty that exists at present in all domains of life.  The website www.yourmentalhealth.ie has useful and practical advice on how to manage anxiety and build resilience.

When this acute phase of the crisis passes, our communities and society will continue to face enormous healthcare and economic challenges. Covid 19 has brutally smashed our world into smithereens.  Below are some thoughts around how we can work together creatively and help each other to pick up the pieces of our changed world.

Covid Days extracts – April 2020

Stange days – these.  Just as the run up to Christmas carries a distinct vibration and energy, these days of the Covid 19 pandemic carry a very different, but distinct vibration of their own.

What makes things difficult is that unlike waiting for Christmas day, which always falls on December 25, we do not know when our day of redemption and freedom to return to ‘normal’ life’ (if there is such a thing?) will come.

So here we are – many days in glorious Spring sunshine, with some daffodils still gently dancing in the soft breeze.  On a sunny day like today, nature and life seem idyllic, but as an Irish proverb states:  Ní mar a shiltear a bhítear.  All is not what it seems.  That is certainly true in days heavy with uncertainty and loss.

Yesterday while out walking the winding country roads near to Drimoleague,  I noticed a small and crumbling ruin of an old stone cottage – like the ones you used to see dotted around the country when I was a child.  These ruins are rarer now.  I have walked this road many times before, but yesterday, it seemed to jump out of the landscape in a way it hadn’t before.

It plunged me in to thinking about the famine, which decimated this area in the 1840’s.  This cottage seemed to bridge the gap between those black days of the past and the daily news of death and loss around the world due to Covid 19.  Not far below the surface of these country roads are resonances of collective suffering and trauma that often go unnoticed.

Things are not what they were.  Here or there.   Many of us have visited some of the worst affected countries and cities such as Spain, Italy, London and New York. To listen to and imagine the scale of loss and death in these places is like being hit with a body blow to the stomach. The body keeps the score.

Eerie days too.  So many of us are sharing intense feelings of uncertainty and loss at the same time.   I try to take each day as it comes. Thuas seal, thíos seal – up a little, down a little.   Walking helps and trying to stay positive – focusing on what I have rather than what I am without.  On the internet, the legendary GAA commentator Mícheál O Muirchearthaigh  brings a smile to my face.  He recalls on, what he learnt from his grandmother about the art of remaining hopeful in life.  This is to wake each morning and begin the day with an attitude of hope and gratitude as encapsulated in the phrase: Dúiseacht le dúthracht ag breacadh gach lae.  Music to my ears.

The elders of the Hopi nation offer another interesting perspective.  This collective trauma they remind us, is nothing that indigenous peoples the world over have not experienced and survived.  These cultures have kept creating art, making music and dancing in the midst of their sorrows as paths towards healing.  Just like singer Rebecca Winckworth has been doing with her balcony ballads in Columbia every evening – singing to keep spirits high.  Music that comes from a place of pain and suffering seems to carry extra power and hope.

And yet at the moment, in many ways I also find silence the most appropriate of sounds.  While social distancing is difficult, it is also an opportunity for reflection and maybe as a society this is what we need to do most.  Stop and re imagine where we are going as a species?

Stories such as the blue skies re-emerging out of the smog in China and the fish returning to the canals in Venice, as a result of the global lockdown are heartening.  As the Hopi elders advise: we can view this experience of the pandemic as as a hole we have dramatically fallen into, or a portal to new world and a new way of thinking.  Hopefully a way of thinking that is more in tune with our environment.

It feels like we are idir eatharthu or between worlds.  This is a time of uncertainty but also of possibility.  This thought is the starting point or working title for the musical sketch attached.  It contains an improvised and a structured section.  This reflects my current working days and the challenge of creating structure out of uncertainty.

In some ways, it feels like I and the community of people I work with at 49 North Street are re-emerging from this fog of uncertainty.   Though it is not possible yet, to gather together, people are connecting via digital platforms. There is a generosity of spirit in the air to find new ways of making anything happen that will help people.  Artists such as Sarah Ruttle and Rebecca Keyser have found innovative ways of keeping creative projects and connections alive.  So many others have contributed through small acts of kindness and we are thankful to all.

Today I am working on plans for a collaborative project with the Happiness Ensemble.  We are close to beginning a project entitled ‘In Tune’ in with the artists Aoise Tutty and Maggie Ryan.  The ensemble has always been a space of music, recovery and healing.  During this time, we are gathering our energy for the difficult days still ahead.  To help, we can engage in the arts and with each other to create spaces of collective hope and healing.  We all have a part to play. Keep tuned in with us via Uillinn/North St on facebook if you wish.

To conclude, I would like to express again gratitude to healthcare colleagues and workers in other essential services, who have risked their lives for us all.  Our sympathies – Suaimhneas sioraí rest with all those who have lost loved ones during these dark days.

 

Lockdown – Me versus Cat

Day – day – day who knows what day it is? Get up same times as always – no need to break with
routine! Hmmm why do I get up so early? Pull on the leisure wear – someday I will glam up again.
What will I do today? The same as everyday – I’m going to take over the World. In my mind perhaps
but in reality I know the routine:
Breakfast
Work
Lunch
Walk
Work
Dinner
Relax
Eat my weight in junk food.
Deciding on which of the 3 optional walking routes to take and what to have for dinner and lunch
add intrigue and excitement to, an otherwise mundane, day

Then there is the cat. She seems to be completely oblivious to the lockdown and proceeds about
her daily business as if the whole world hasn’t actually changed!!! Whats that all about? Food takes
priority in the morning and once fed the day is her own. Today she decides to partake in a bit of
sunbathing before embarking on her daily adventure. Then, as suddenly as she appeared for
breakfast, she is gone, returning 6 hours later with a smug look on her face (or maybe that’s my
imagination).

I wonder where she has been? – I hope she has stayed within the 2km boundary. She doesn’t seem
to care. I imagine all the places she might have ventured. In reality she was probably in the garden
5 doors up. Maybe outside the 2km isn’t all its cracked up to be..

Tomorrow I’m going to change my attitude and be more like my cat.

ISOLATION

A huge thank you to all the contributors for generously sharing your experiences of April 2020 in West Cork

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