Hello, hello!

I've was very lucky to attend some really thought-provoking events last month. When I pick a film to watch or choose to listen to a song, it's because it makes me FEEL something or causes me to think about something I never have before and it is these moments I live for. I've been lucky to have spent time with many extremely creative and innovative people this semester. I went to see Dillon's film 'Movement' in the Stormy Teacup, a film I had been told to watch numerous times by people and I discovered a new medium of art by going to see Róisín and Walter's art installation, which was so interesting. Both of these pieces of art made me think about different topics such as the ongoing crisis in Syria and the lack of privacy on the internet, but also the mediums themselves, film and art installations.

Limerick has gotten extremely bad press in the past and it infuriates me to no end. I'd go so far as to say that Limerick is the most exciting place at the moment, for me it is. There is no end to the new and creative events that are taking place all over the city. Seeing these people's work makes me feel excited about the future as these people have made their separate crafts their own and that's exactly what I hope to achieve. Seeing these things leaves me excited about the future of art within my generation, whether that art is through: music, film, the written word or art in any form. The great thing about this is every single one of the people I've spoken to in this post have studied at the University of Limerick, these people are based in my current city of Limerick. I hope you'll enjoy the insight into the minds of these talented people and understand why I admire them so much!


EILIS: Why the specific focus on Syria? Is it because it was extremely culturally relevant at the time or is it something you have a personal interest in?

DILLON: The focus was on Syria because it was an interesting topic at the time and when I was on co-op in Hamburg, Germany it was at the height of the crisis and I always saw hundreds of refugees arriving in the main station every day.

E: How did you go about gathering footage for the film? For example, did you go through news broadcasts etc? 

I gathered the footage mainly from browsing the web and researching different aspects of the crisis. Some of the footage was found through friends in Germany sharing videos with me too.

E: Explain your decision to use double exposure and fragmented visuals? Why did you decide to depict the scenes the way you did?

The decision to use the double exposure effect actually came from scrolling through Instagram funnily enough. My good friend Sinead of DYAD Visuals had put up a video of a college project she was working on with a similar effect. Straight away when I saw it I sent her a message saying something like “You just gave me a great idea for my FYP”. I asked her if it would be cool if I could do something similar, and in the end, she and Alan Flynn helped me take the shots. Big shout out to DYAD Visuals for saving my life there.

The idea I had with the double exposure was to leave the subjects without a definite identity. Also because it was an interesting way of portraying the image of a family while allowing an inner dialogue to take place for the viewers surrounding the refugees' journey. The fragmented and glitch effects were an aesthetic decision to make the film feel like some kind of banned message broadcast to the world and to tie together all of the footage sampled from different sources.

E: How did you go about adapting the score to emulate the visuals on screen? Did you enjoy the process?

Actually, I made the score first. I used the idea of a refugee family's journey from Syria to Germany as a basis for the composition. The tone and timbre of the music are supposed to move from instrumentation and scales associated with Syria eg. Tribal Darbuka rhythms and Canon to technologically synced drum machine sounds and sequences that would be associated with cities in western society - acoustic strings and Middle Eastern instruments to synthesizers and noise sequences. I mean when I think of Syria I think of that kind of enchanting rhythms and traditional middle eastern music.. when I think of Germany I think of industrial techno and a more technologically harsh sound.   

I definitely enjoyed the process but was stressful coming up to my deadline. It really did push my skills at music making when writing to such a huge topic. The part I enjoyed most was using UL’s Post Graduate studio to record sounds from their Doepfer A-100 modular system which is something I’ve never done before. I had no idea what I was doing at first but slowly figured it out while patching different modules in and out. Big shout out to Malachy Ronan for being my supervisor on the project, I really couldn’t have done this without his feedback throughout the project.

E: Was the 9-minute time frame deliberate? As in was it your aim to pack in as much as possible; visually, emotionally and musically for maximum impact? 

I guess that was more of a constraint in terms of what I originally submitted the film for. Which was for my final year project in college. The requirement was in or around the 10-minute mark.  The reason it ended up being nine minutes was that I divided the composition into three, three-minute sections to work on: Conflict (Syria), Across the Mediterranean and Arrival (in Europe and to Germany). I wrote the sections out on paper and mapped the journey from departure to arrival with subsections. Once I had mapped out the refugees' journey I began writing the music for each section whilst having imagery and emotions in mind.

E: You have obviously lived in Limerick for a number of years due to university, do you think Limerick is an artistic place or open to young people wanting to create different forms of art?

I think Limerick is an absolute playground for young artists, musicians, filmmakers and promoters to start interesting projects and events. The amount of creativity coming through this city from young people is immense. The fact that it is possible to screen something like this in a venue like The Stormy Teacup and have people actually turn up really shows the freedom that is here for doing something new. You really see a lot of interesting things happening here at the moment especially in the music scene with events such as Cabal and Prescription (Among too many others to mention) bringing something truly fresh and unique to the city. I find that the people running these huge varieties of events are all connected in some way and are usually close friends regardless of what type of event they are running. Festivals such as the Richard Harris Film Festival and Light Moves also gives some wonderful opportunities for young artists to showcase their work. The most exciting thing about Limerick at the moment for me is that it's only the beginning of a lot of amazing things yet to come. 

E: What's next for you? Would you like to screen the film in other places? Could you see yourself working on similar projects in future?

At the moment I’m working on an EP with my music project Kodu and taking a break from film for a while. I can definitely see myself working on another film project down the road and have some ideas for some possible concepts. I honestly haven’t really considered doing another screening and never thought I ever would. The screening only took place because the Stormy Teacup got onto me when the film got some attention online with its nominations in film festivals. I would also love to do sound for some more video projects in the future.


EILIS: Talk me through the process of making 'Relapse'?

Róisín & Walter: It started out as a project from one of our modules last semester that required us to come up with our own idea. We both wanted to do an installation based project so decided it was a good idea to team up and come up with something together. After a couple of nights of researching different artists and installations, we wanted to create an interactive real-time video art installation. Being pretty okay at Max/MSP hinted us to use jitter which is an included library that handles real-time video processing and allowed us to record small snippets through the webcam. And we worked on it from there. We first exhibited this in the University of Limerick under the same 'Self-Surveillance' as the notion of internet privacy is extremely topical.

E: What was it about the video art installation of Nam Juin Paik and Bruce Nauman that encouraged you to take on this medium?

Bruce Nauman and Nam Juin Paik are both video installation artists who have made use of 'real-time' almost as a medium in itself for their artwork. We found the way in which these artists used real-time as a tool to create a heightened sense of temporal awareness in a viewer extremely interesting, so we decided to go for a similar effect with 'Relapse'.

E: How did you go about making the installation? Did you try out different ideas before settling on the glitched webcam feed?

At first, we wanted the installation to happen on one screen with a sensor that measures distance to have the webcam feed become more glitched the closer you are it but after playing around with it for a bit, we wanted to have this 'memory' effect of contrasting past recordings of people with a present webcam feed to convey a sense of a fragmented timeline. 

E: What is the intention of the art installation?

Using real-time as a tool to create a heightened sense of temporal awareness in a viewer coupled with wanting to highlight the fragility of internet privacy were the initial intentions of this piece. However, when we were invited to exhibit at the Light Moves Festival of Screendance we decided to add an aspect of screendance to give it a new context. We took prerecorded footage of contemporary dance Sorcha Hassett, using the exact same camera angle and space as the real-time video recordings and mixed this footage in. Through this, we wanted to juxtapose everyday movements with improvised contemporary dance. 

E: How did you get involved with Light Moves?

Jurgen Simpson, who is one of the curators for Light Moves is the lecturer for the digital arts module for which we made the project for initially. After discussing with Jurgen how we could take our project further and suit it to the Light Moves Festival he invited us to install to the piece in The Nest of Dance Limerick.

E: Would this type of work be something you'll work on after graduating?

We would both definitely consider working on installation projects after graduating. Róisín's final year project is specifically on the durational experience of digital art installations so she'll have a new piece to exhibit come summer. With festival season approaching we plan on creating works that are more light-hearted and suited to the summer festival environment. 

I am really glad that I could see both of these artworks because there's nothing more I love than seeing friends succeeding. Whether it's through music, film, art installation or festivals, you'll be definitely seeing these people's names in the Limerick scene more often. And I couldn't be happier for them!

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