If the Ground Should Open (2016)
8 Channel Video Installation
HD 16:9 B&W
Total Duration 48 mins
If The Ground Should Open…
Commissioned by Sarah Glennie for IMMA's 1916/2016 programme, If the Ground Should Open… was presented on the occasion of the centenary of the historic Easter uprisings of 1916. This work takes as a point of departure Irvine’s 2013 novel Days of Surrender; which focuses on Elizabeth O’Farrell and Julia Grenan. These were two of more than a hundred women who were ready to die or kill for the possibility of a different Ireland but whose stories were all but written out of official Irish history, consigned to the margins as the narrative was masculinised.
All works were composed by Jaki Irvine, using the canntaireachd system – originally developed as an oral scoring system for Scottish Highland pipes.The basic musical motif in classical piping (piobaireachd) is called ‘the ground’ of the piece, which is then built upon with additional notes and melodies. This new video and sound installation uses their names as the ground of a score for 9 musicians. In this way they are performed and remembered, becoming part of the ground that contemporary Ireland has emerged from.
There are 11 'songs' altogether. The music is broken down across the space visually and built together again sonically.
It is immersive, but there is no ideal position from which to get an over-view.
This is in keeping with witness statements from 1916, where no-one had a complete picture of what was happening and witnesses referred to the part they individually played and also to what they heard, continually moving to make sense of what was happening.
Developed also from the infamous leaked recordings of Anglo Irish bankers' telephone conversations, the legacy of 1916 is reconsidered in the light of a contemporary Ireland broken by corporate greed.
Vocals Louise Phelan
Bagpipes Hilary Knox
Piano Izumi Kimura
Violin Liz McClaren
Cello Jane Hughes
Doublebass Aura Stone
Drums Sarah Grimes
Sound recording at Windmill Lane Studios
Sound engineer Ger McDonnell
House engineer/assistant studio manager Rachel Conlon
Additional assistance from Oisín & Jack
All video footage shot and edited by Jaki Irvine at IMMA and Temple Bar Gallery & Studios.
Following a live performance in the Great Hall in IMMA, Dec 2016, to mark the end of the exhibition, the work was then re-installed in Frith Street Gallery from March - May, 2017