Brought to you by the Arts Council, funded by the Government of Ireland and curated and produced by Schweppe Curtis Nunn.
A ten day, nationwide season of arts experiences, Brightening Air | Coiscéim Coiligh announced its programme today, bringing together some of Ireland’s most exciting artists and arts organisations in a celebration of renewed optimism and brighter days ahead. The programme, with experiences both live in person and available to enjoy at home, runs from 11-20 June 2021 in all sorts of venues, casting a light from coast to coast and creating bright sparks of enjoyment throughout the country.
The programme will bring meaningful arts experiences to people where they live, whether in urban centres, on the periphery, the islands and Gaeltachts and in their own homes, with experiences on rivers, in front gardens and botanic gardens, at quay sides, on islands, at handball alleys, in apartment buildings, swimming baths, arts venues nationwide and through smartphones and computers.
Speaking on the launch of the programme, Maureen Kennelly, Director of the Arts Council, said:
“The phrase ‘brighter days ahead’, abundant in our recent communications and conversations has given us much hope. As a central part of The Arts Council’s national response to our emergence from the pandemic, Brightening Air | Coiscéim Coiligh, aims to add to our sense of optimism and spark our imaginations with new creative ambitions. Taking place in diverse and surprising locations nationwide, from island communities to inner cities, and employing over 150 artists and arts workers, it will bring exciting and exceptional experiences to audiences and will be embedded in the places where they live”.
Brightening Air | Coiscéim Coiligh is produced by Schweppe Curtis Nunn. Directors Maria Schweppe and Naoise Nunn said of the launch, "We're thrilled to have the privilege of working with these exceptional artists, makers and producers to create Brightening Air | Coiscéim Coiligh and excited to launch this programme, giving people nationwide a long-overdue breath of fresh air when they get to enjoy these arts experiences and look to the future with hope."
A major highlight will be Light Ballet, created by Irish Light Artist Mick Murray and Lighting Designer Matthew Cregan, a continuously moving light installation on a fifteen metre vessel floating down the River Shannon through eight counties, over eight days. Through its powerful physical presence, Light Ballet will surprise and delight everyone who encounters this spectacle of light and sound as it voyages through hidden countrysides. Produced by Culture Works with a soundscape by David Kitt, the floating installation will appear as a sculptural presence through the manipulation of light, colours and shadows. Each evening from dusk, the skies and surrounding landscape will be transformed and illuminated with a hope-filled, ballet of light.
One of Ireland’s leading dance companies, CoisCéim Dance Theatre, will present In The Magic Hour, a durational dance installation in which unique, spontaneous performances will take place at dusk, the magic hour, in airy spaces that are natural, honest and unadorned – handball alleys. The work investigates our kinetic conversations with the landscapes that surround us. The core creative team comprises David Bolger, media artist Christopher Ash, composer Michael Fleming and four exceptional dance artists Lee Clayden, Justine Cooper, Ivonne Kalter and Jonathan Mitchell. Viewers nationwide can tune in, for free, to each performance over the course of five evenings. Limited tickets will be available to attend the live performances at handball alleys in five counties (pending Government guidelines on gatherings at the time).
Woman In The Machine, co-created by VISUAL and Carlow Arts Festival, will unfold through film, exhibitions, sound works, light installations, digital native events, a 360 virtual exhibition space, performances, talks and community engagement projects created in response to Carlow’s landmark former Braun Factory site, and inspired by the film about female pioneers in sound Sisters With Transistors by Lisa Rovner and women working at the intersections of art, science and digital media. Audiences will be invited to experience the programme both online and in limited numbers at the abandoned Braun factory in Carlow.
The Butler Gallery in partnership with Kilkenny Arts Festival will present two acclaimed installations about the ongoing migration crisis in the Mediterranean by the award-winning Kilkenny-born artist Richard Mosse, brought together for the first time in his home city. Both works were created with the aid of a military-grade thermographic surveillance camera designed for long-range border enforcement. Mosse subverts the camera’s purpose creating an unsettling yet mesmerizing experience that aims, in Mosse's words, “to implicate the viewer within the work’s gaze, to force the viewer to confront their own participation on many levels.” Incoming – a triple-screen, immersive installation – will be displayed inside the gallery at Evans’ Home, while Grid (Moria) – a 16-channel installation – will be mounted in the grounds beside the River Nore and available to view by passers-by.
In a new innovative approach to programming, twenty-one young curators have been engaged by a consortium of arts venues nationwide to programme a festival of work for children and young people delivering for the first time, a national arts programme curated entirely by young people: Lasta. Under the guidance of theatre artists Maisie Lee and Fionn Foley, these young people will work collaboratively to deliver an ambitious programme of work for young people across the country. Featuring multiple disciplines and reflecting the diversity of modern Ireland, this pioneering project offers a unique opportunity to develop our future arts programmers and producers. The NASC Network Venues are An Grianán (Letterkenny), glór (Ennis), Siamsa Tíre (Tralee), The Pavilion (Dun Laoghaire), The Lime Tree Theatre (Limerick), Dunamaise (Portlaoise), Town Hall Theatre (Galway), Backstage (Longford).
Cork Midsummer Festival will present Art Gifts, an endearing response to the challenges of presenting art in venues by presenting short performances in people’s front gardens! Order a surprise Art Gift for yourself, a friend or a family member performed safely on your doorstep; a unique short live performance of music, theatre, poetry, opera, circus or dance just for you and your loved ones delivered to your door. Twenty Cork artists will deliver more than 300 Art Gifts around specific areas of Cork city, in front gardens, doorsteps and driveways of lucky gift recipients.
In Wexford, The Blue Whale 'Hope': Chainies Across The Sea project, produced by Wexford Arts Centre in association with artist Helen McLean, involves the creation of a large-scale whale mosaic and four accompanying buoy mosaics made with local and global Wexford community participation to be installed permanently on the quay of Wexford. The materials used in the making of the mosaics are shards of pottery or “chainies” from Stoke on Trent that have, for more than a century, washed up on the shores of Rosslare harbour from shipwrecks, including a ship bound bound for Savannah, Georgia, USA in 1857. The steel whale that will be filled with chainie fragments recalls the 25-metre blue whale beached in Wexford 1892, subsequently sold to the national history museum in London where it now hangs in the entrance hall. This public art piece will be installed permanently on the quayside in Wexford.
The Ballad of a Care Centre is a site-specific theatre work delivered via live performance and virtual reality to previous residents of the Naas Day Care Centre. Since 2019, John Conway has been developing this work built around the individual and collective oral histories of older people who attend the Naas Day Care Centre. Their stories, under Conway’s vision, have become this work of art that reconnects the day care centre residents with their memories and stories. Strands of their memories and life stories are entwined to form a new narrative which explores the romanticising of certain experiences and the minimising of others, whilst acknowledging mortality and the challenges of social isolation, aging, and age related illness. This unique event will be presented to previous residents of the Naas Day Care Centre.
A City & A Garden is a state-of-the-art sonic installation commissioned by Sounds from a Safe Harbour Festival, in association with Body & Soul. This audio experience considers the myriad lives lived and the stories, songs and sounds held in the histories of the streets we walk every day. This audio walking experience invites people to rediscover the urban environments they know in an entirely new way, shifting perspectives of place, connectedness, environment and history. Using only a smartphone, audiences will discover stories and songs that lie hidden in the trees and bricks of our city spaces, interwoven with narratives and soundscapes guiding them along a Cork city street or The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland in Dublin. Gavin Corbett, Louise Hegarty, Lisa McInerney and Melatu-Uche Okorie are the four exceptional writers who have been commissioned to write these stories with accompanying musicians and voice artists to be announced shortly.
Digital experiences, available to audiences nationwide, form a key part of the programme. One such experience, The Corner Of Scotsman's Bay, by Elizabeth Kilroy, is a browser-based, interactive, online experience inviting visitors to contemplate a layering and compression of time, space and place, as they explore a visual, art-based, interpretation of the former Dun Laoghaire baths. Through mixed media and photography, stories and memories from local people who grew up swimming in the baths, and an engaging interface, audiences nationwide will float backward and forward in time in this exciting augmented reality project.
Streaming live from The Ark in Dublin directly to homes and schools across the country, What Did I Miss? Is a new show by The Ark Artist in Residence, Shaun Dunne, offering a window into children’s experience of the pandemic and the milestones they’ve missed along the way. Developed and informed by ongoing collaborative work with The Ark’s Children’s Council, What Did I Miss? is a celebration of rites of passage, exploring how we reconnect as we adapt to a new way of life. This free show will be live streamed and accompanied by a national engagement project reaching out to children in primary schools across the country to deliver a unique child-authored snapshot of their experience of life during the pandemic. In addition to the classes participating in the workshop programme, schools across Ireland are invited to take part and contribute to the project using The Ark’s bespoke activity pack, available at ark.ie from 10 May 2021.
Celebrated theatre company Pan Pan will present MESPIL IN THE DARK, a sensitive, surreal, voyeuristic investigation into the lives of eight artists who live in the same complex of flats in Dublin. Follow the solo rat runs of each of their normal days as they tread in and out of each other’s lives. Experience with them their dreams and nightmares, hopes and fears; observe their daily habits, both private and public. From trimming their toenails to cooking a meal to how they do their laundry, discover the small coincidental accidents that shape their destinies. Part fiction, part cinema verité, MESPIL IN THE DARK shines a light on these lives of quiet desperation. Unfolding over four episodes, presented free online via Vimeo, nightly from 16th - 19th June. The cast includes regular Pan Pan performers Andrew Bennett, Ned Dennehy, Olwen Fouéré, Tadhg Murphy, Anna Shiels McNamee, Ashley Xie and Karim Tamu.
Ar Ais Arís is a virtual reality presentation by Brú Theatre, commissioned by Galway 2020 / Áistriú project. Filmed throughout the stunning virtual landscape of Connemara, Brú Theatre has created three unique 180° films which will be shown on VR headsets in arts centres and coastal venues along the Atlantic coast. Irish language literature and visual poetry combine to create this immersive experience, inspired by texts from Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Pádraic Ó Conaire and Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill. The VR presentation will tour to Gaeltacht and island communities in Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Kerry and Cork. Small audiences will be invited to enjoy the scenery, soundscape, atmosphere and energy of the Atlantic before adorning a headset and losing themselves in these magical short films. Through performance, music, song and contemporary dance, each film is a powerful, evocative and contemporary take on some of the finest writing in the Irish language, produced by Brú Theatres team of composers, designers and performers led by artistic director James Riordan.
Available online nationwide, no_matter_here is a digital artwork, web zine and exhibition that connects the work of artists exploring pre-millenium networks as potential sites of technological emancipation. Throughout Brightening Air | Coiscéim Coiligh, the works will be presented on a purpose-built website, taking its visual lead from early internet Geocities pages, in which visitors are encouraged to unearth mysterious pages, hyperlinks, images, videos and electronic ephemera. Centred around a film project by Frank Sweeney which explores the privatisation of Telecom Éireann from the viewpoint of shareholders communicating on early online forums, no_matter_here is a subversive exploration of pre-millenium ideologies of technological emancipation. Contributing artists include Roo Honeychild, Eva George Richardson McCrea, Coilín O’Connell, Rachel O’Dwyer, Paul O’Neill and Frank Sweeney.
Imagine walking by a mural and seeing it come to life before your eyes… The Waterford Walls Project is making this an (augmented!) reality, using Waterford’s existing public street art as the starting point for this exciting digital experience. Ten murals previously created for Waterford Walls International Street Art Festival will come alive during, and beyond, Brightening Air | Coiscéim Coiligh. Students in St. Paul’s Community College Waterford and Limerick School of Art and Design have worked with The Walls Project and Italian non-profit BEPART to transform street-art murals into augmented realities, experimenting with and extending the possibilities of public art to make street art even more relevant and accessible. The augmented reality app, in which viewers can experience the digital transformation of these artworks, will be available to download by June 11.
Brightening Air | Coiscéim Coiligh is brought to you by the Arts Council, funded by the Government of Ireland and curated and produced by Schweppe Curtis Nunn.
For more information on the programme visit www.brighteningair.com
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