• 1iing heaney in collaboration with Emily Aoibheann


What is my inheritance?

Is it what the naturopath told me, that carrageen is in my genes? That my body is thirsty for nettles in February because something in me knows they are good for what ails me? What is this feeling in the space between: the yearning that comes up my throat in the distance between a word I thought I knew and the desire to put my hands on the land, to cultivate it for myself, to claim it? 

What did it feel like to wear those heavy clothes, a pleasurable weight on the nervous system, to labour over the household butter, to kill the chicken? What did it feel like to lose your teeth one by one? To grow suspicious of the neighbours? To spend six months in Loman's Hospital and many more years on the doctor's medicine? 

The space between me and my grandmother is vast, while I can name on three fingers the patriarchs that connect me to a mill our family ran during the Great Hunger... 

I want to spend time creatively exploring my heritage, particularly experiences of my paternal grandmother whose story is a family mystery. My parents left the rural life, my mother says "There wasn't room for everyone". Now I watch peers desire desperately to return, to simple, rural ways of living. 

What happens to the body in that widening space between two women? Was her body ever separate to her place or was it in a continuous semi-permeable dance? Since mine is divorced from any ground or plot, and often from any concrete reality at all, the distance continues to widen.

With a close team of collaborators and mentors, I want to explore the space between; between the dynamic living environment and the inert matter of industry, between the tangible and the digital, between what John McGahern called 'the green and real' and the complex fabric of human institution, between the English and Irish languages. 

Drawing on Ivan Illich’s concept of 'vernacular living', a vital physical relationship to land, language and body through the act of dwelling in place, I will collaborate with artist Eithne Ní Chatháin (Inni-K) as an Irish language and musical mentor to explore Irish song and poetry, often connected to labour and the land. By extension, I plan to develop embryonic visual, sculptural and musical ideas in dialogue with harpist Aisling Ennis, with further contributions from folk musician Niamh Bury. In order to fully explore and experiment with the transdisciplinary design, sculptural and fabrication aspects of my work, I will to collaborate with digital artist 1iing heaney, harp maker Brian Callan and metal worker and craftsman James O'Toole. 

Belgian artists Aline Breucker and Quintijn Ketels, whose work merging circus and visual arts I greatly admire, will act as mentors during this period of work.

Image of upside-down harpist by 1iing heaney in collaboration with Emily Aoibheann