Sarah Browne is an artist based in Ireland. Her practice includes exhibitions, public projects, publishing and critical writing, and she also works collaboratively with Gareth Kennedy as Kennedy Browne. Sarah has participated in residencies and artist exchanges in Finland, Thailand, Japan and the UK. In 2006 she was awarded the apexart international residency in New York and in 2009 she co-represented Ireland at the 53rd Venice Biennale. Her latest solo show opens in Project Arts Centre in May 2011. We met when we were paired for discussion at a conference on Public Art organised by Create and subsequently were board members of Create. Tabernacle is the first time we’ve taken our many conversations into a shared artistic realisation.
Jason Byrne is a director and founder of Loose Canon Theatre Company. I met him at an interdisciplinary workshop called Thread organized by the Fringe Festival at Annaghmakerrig in 2004. We started working then on a piece that would become Cosán Dearg. I have also performed in a piece of his called ‘H’.
Dan Dubowitz trained as an architect and cultural masterplanner. He has also developed an artistic practice as a photographer and it was to his atmospheric photographs of wastelands that I responded when I first saw them at a conference in London in 2006. I approached Dan telling him I wanted to put myself into his photographs and he invited me to participate in a project called Fascism in Ruins, in which he was photographing disused children’s holiday camps that the Fascists had built in Northern Italy. We subsequently applied together for a public art commission under Fingal County Council’s Per Cent for Art Scheme and developed Tattered Outlaws of History as a result. We continue to work together on extending the Tattered Outlaws project to other Martello Towers around the world.
Julie Feeney is a composer, singer, orchestrator, conductor and producer. Her debut album 9 songs won her the Choice Music Prize and her follow up album pages has been released recently to similar critical acclaim. I met her at an indisciplinary workshop organized by the Fringe Festival in 2004 and worked with her there on the development of Cosán Dearg.
Rachel Holstead is a composer of instrumental and electronic music from Corca Dhuibhne in the southwest corner of Ireland. We worked together on a project called Casadh Arís, commissioned by the Ionad Cultúrtha in Baile Bhúirne. We share an upbringing in the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area of Ireland) and commitment to the contemporary artforms through which we nonetheless maintain a connection to our heritage.
Iarla Ó Lionáird is a renowned sean-nós singer from Cúl Aodha who has brought his vocal skill and understanding of the tradition of Irish music to contemporary projects such as the Grammy-nominated Afro Celt Soundsystem and Crash Ensemble’s “Grá agus Bás”. I had been aware of and inspired by Iarla’s singing through recordings long before I met him in Baile Bhúirne, when I was Dance artists in Residence there in 2003/2004. We worked together subsequently when he contributed music to the interdisciplinary project Idir. In 2010, I invited him to contribute music also to my Dance on the Box commission, Mo mhórchoir féin.
Roberta Lima is an artist and researcher who focuses on her own body. I met her in Beijing when we were both in residence at the Red Gate Gallery studios and she invited me to invade her work space. Together we have been using digital and analogue technology to investigate how the energy of our bodies is transferred through and mediated by technological intervention. Roberta has exhibited our collaboration and we have continued our research during a further residency at Daghdha’s space in Limerick.
Dearbhla Walsh is a film and television director who has worked on drama series in Ireland and in the UK including East Enders, Shameless and The Tudors. She won an Emmy in 2009 for her direction of the BBC’s Little Dorrit. I was introduced to her when I was looking for a director with whom to apply for the first Dance on the Box commission. Our successful application resulted in Match and when I thought about applying for another Dance on the Box commission in 2010, to make Mo mhórchoir féin, the experience of working together on Match made Dearbhla a first choice as collaborator.
Xiao Ke is an conceptual artist working with movement. Since graduating from Fudan University, she has been a pioneer of independent dance in China performing internationally in the work of Zu He Niao, as well as making her own choreography, live performance and ‘conceptual dance’. I saw her perform when I first visited China in 2006 and we have collaborated regularly since, developing Dialogue in a variety of incarnations. She has taught me a great deal about China and showed me a different way to dance.
I was Dance Artist in Residence for Dublin City Council from 2007 to 2008 during which time I developed my research on the relationship between bodies and buildings in the context of urban regeneration. The investigation was particularly appropriate to Dublin in those last years of the economic boom, when the city’s physical infrastructure was being transformed rapidly. Thanks to that residency I was able to develop new work that included Three+1, Dialogue and Niche, as well as establishing professional and artistic contacts in Dublin that remain an important resource for my work.
Ionad Cultúrtha Baile Bhúirne is an arts centre in the Muskerry Gaeltacht in West Cork, run by Bríd Cranitch. I first went there as Dance Artists in Residence in 2003 and from that residency developed a relationship with the area. The Gaeltacht community there reminds me of Ring where I grew up and its abiding appreciation of traditional artistic culture. After my residency I returned to work on the performance installation, Idir, which the Ionad Cultúrtha produced and for Casadh Arís that the Ionad Cultúrtha commissioned and produced.
Ealaín na Gaeltachta supports and develops traditional and contemporary arts in the Gaeltacht. Its support has allowed me to have my first experience in making a dance film: Cosán Dearg-Cúil Aodha. It supported other projects in which I’ve been involved including Idir, Duan Déiseach, Idir Eatarthu and Casadh Arís
In 2001, Project Arts Centre was the first theatre to show my work in Ireland.. Since then, Project has become my artistic home and I premiere many of my works there. I was one of Project Arts Centre’s first Associate Artists, now called the Project Catalyst scheme. As a result, Project not only shows my work but helps me produce it too, extending its support to me even when I am in presenting work in New York or Shanghai. As an independent artist, this kind of back up is invaluable and allows me to have the flexibility and creative independence that inspires me, coupled with the security and stability that an established organization can provide. Project Arts Centre is my artistic home.
The Arts Council of Ireland/An Chomhairle Ealaíon is the national agency for funding, developing and promoting the Arts in Ireland. It was Arts Council funding that helped me fund my training at London Contemporary Dance School. Subsequent bursaries, commissions, travel and project awards from its schemes have allowed me to develop the career I have. Even as we try to diversify income sources for the arts in these difficult financial times, the Arts Council’s support remains a vital condition for new artistic creation in Ireland.
Fingal County Council supported the making of Tattered Outlaws of History through its Per Cent for Art Scheme.
Dance Ireland is the resource organization and representative body for dance in Ireland. I have benefited from its support in a number of ways that include professional advice, reduced rental on studio space at Dancehouse and partnership on the creation of Dialogue that premiered in Dancehouse in 2008.
Culture Ireland is the Irish State Agency that promotes the best of Ireland’s arts and culture internationally and assists in the development of Ireland’s international cultural relations. I was fortunate that my interest in international collaboration, born of my experience of internationalism as a student of the United World College Movement in the late 80s, coincided with the formation of Culture Ireland in 2005. Thanks to its support I have been able to perform Match in the US , Spain, Scotland and China; I have been able to develop relationships in China that have resulted in the first collaboration between Chinese and Irish dance artists with performances at the Edinburgh Fringe and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai; and I have been able to present my work at APAP in New York in the inaugural showcase of Irish contemporary dance at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. The international exposure that such opportunities provide is invaluable to the development of my work, not only because it leads to new performances but because it leads to new artistic stimuli that push my work to evolve.
Cork County Council supported my 2003/2004 residency in the Muskerry Gaeltacht and a tour of Belgium under the Eurofuturoscope scheme in 2004.
Waterford County Council’s Arts Office commissioned Gach Mac Máthar, one of my first pieces in Ireland, with the support of the Arts Council of Ireland.