We’re delighted to launch the programme for FALL /OUT at Cork Midsummer Festival 2021. This year, we are working with six artists who are responding to our theme through interrogating ideas of work, climate change, our relationship to technology, fantasy and nature, and interrelationships.
The festival runs in Cork City between 14-27 June. For more information on locations, times and tickets see https://www.corkmidsummer.com/whats-on/pluck-projects
Jessica Akerman: Cork Caryatids
Cork Caryatids celebrates the history and strength, physical and symbolic, of female labour in Cork. This series of banners makes reference to the Shawlies, Cork’s famous street traders, but also points to larger stories of changing labour practices and the ways in which these changes to the ways in which we work impact the urban landscape. Akerman’s imagery draws on the history of caryatids, carved female figures which were used as pillars in Classical architecture. Caryatids were mythological women subjected to the hard labour of holding up a heavy temple, but were also associated with celebratory rituals where the women would wear baskets of fruit on their heads. The graphic design of the banners uses the layout of Excel sheets, each cell filled with vivid colour, to engage with contemporary office based work practice and the new architectural landscape in Cork that accommodates
this digital labour.
Pádraig Spillane: Define Silver Lining
This window-based installation, occupying the old Argos premises on the Grand Parade, will jostle between shop windows occupied and not-occupied. Incorporating abstract imagery derived from consumer packing and using the structures of commercial display, Define Silver
Lining invites us to think about the ways in we are affected by the technologies that support our lives. The title, Define Silver Lining, prompts us to consider the acceleration of technologies of communication and commerce both before COVID-19 and those being
amplified due to the pandemic. Define Silver Lining is accompanied by a soundscape by VEINS (Karen O’Doherty, Marc Rensing, Pádraig Spillane). The viewer is invited to follow a QR code that leads to a website (www.definesilverlining.com) which holds a sound clip comprising a melody line within noises made from the workings of electronic devices, electricity, the sounds of connectivity, the hums and statics of interfaces we increasingly connect with in our daily activities.
Anne Ffrench: To Hold Still
To Hold Still is a sculptural installation made from briars which spills through the doll’s house space of the Lord Mayor’s Pavilion. The work draws on the idea of suspended time in fairytales, where brambles surround and protect a castle’s sleeping inhabitants. During the first lockdown Anne Ffrench spent a lot of time in young woodland overgrown with gorse and briar, two impenetrable barriers. Briars, she reminds us, have a vital protective function, saplings need the time of the briar to establish and grow strong before the briars recede and trees take their place. During the first lockdown we heard reports of nature reclaiming space as humans stood still. To Hold Still wonders what if ‘lockdown’ could mean the briars were free to grow and encircle us until the threat had passed, much like the castle in Sleeping Beauty. Accessible to a family audience on the imaginative level of the fairytale, To Hold Still is a visually striking meditation on time, threat and care, and further, a prompt for us to be still and allow nature to grow wild around us.
David Mathúna and Andrew McSweeney: As Above, So Below
‘As Above, So Below’ is an interconnected audiovisual system comprised of two individual real-time scenes – clouds above, water below – each unfolding digital panorama influencing the behaviour of the other. In hermeticism the phrase “as above, so below” indicates that earthly matters reflect the operation of the astral plane, or in a more secular context it refers to the idea that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm. In its establishment and examination of minute relationships of cause and effect, the system takes causality and chaos theory as formal devices, building its structure around action and consequence.
Conceived of in Berlin by Cork-born artists Andrew McSweeney and David Mathúna, ‘As Above, So Below’ brings together different aesthetic and technical aspects of each artist’s practice and is a continually evolving project, changing its form in response to the nature of physical space and the influence of new creative technologies.
Vicki Davis: We’re So Lame
Sited in the Port of Cork, We’re so Lame is an immersive living sculpture that references the live deportation of cattle from Cork and draws on processes proposed by industry to counter the environmental impact of cattle farming. This work developed from research into one of the Argentinean government’s solutions to the climate emergency: a balloon that collects methane gas emitted from cows. It is an invasive process, involving the insertion of a pipe into the intestinal tract of a cow, creating a hybrid between animal and machine that speaks to the agricultural industry’s relationship to global warming. The ‘living’ sculpture takes the form of a balloon made from specially screen printed cattle feedbags, which will inflate and deflate slowly over the course of the festival. We’re so Lame prompts us to examine the ways in which climate change impacts our imaginations.