Papaveraceae (Poppies) is a dynamic sculpture of sleep-walking women who traverse city spaces with helium balloons in their hair; an other worldly bouquet.
Papaveraceae has been performed at St. Patrick Day's Big Day Out at Merrion Square, Dublin 2013; as part of The Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, ‘Tribes’ event in 2015 and at IMPACT Festival Macedonia, 2015. In 2022, a forthcoming Papaveraceae dance film features Anica Louw of Shawbrook Dance, filmed in 2016.
"And now my beauties,
something with poison in it I think,
with poison in it.
But attractive to the eye
and soothing, the smell.
Poppies will put them to sleep.
Now they'll sleep"
The Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz.
The original idea for Papaveraceae emerged while living and training circus in Belfast, Northern Ireland, which has an artistic and political culture of marches, parades and street performances. The performance was originally intended as a nighttime event, with the passivity of sleeping women contrasting the subterranean violence of the urban night. We had also used helium balloons in performance as part of a PaperDolls Performance show in 2011.
Papaveraceae was first performed alongside an aerial performance ‘In Rainbows', adapted from another 2013 piece performed at Smock Alley Dublin with experimental vocal accompaniment by four singers. It then travelled to Prague in 2015, with a smaller ensemble (black and white images). From there Papaveraceae was invited to Macedonia where I worked with a team of local teenage girls.
All photos by Emily Aoibheann, except the 2013 performance which features an aerial performance by Emily. Photographers from this event include: Yan Bourke, David Soanes and Malgorzata Wielogorska.
Helium balloons can be hazardous to animals in rural environments and although I love to work with balloons and have used disposable inflatables in several creative projects, with consideration of plastic waste and pollution, I no longer use balloons in performance.