Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Guerilla Girls, Irish Art, and the Age of Aquarius...

I was at a very thought-provoking, and indeed incendiary talk by the "Guerilla Girls" ( out at Theatre M in UCD last night. As well as the two "Guerillas", wearing, yes, Guerilla heads (must be hard to breathe in there, let alone talk!) other panelists included Irish Art expert Catherine Marshall and the inimitable journalist Susan McKay. (We were honoured to have Susan involved in "South Africa Week" at the Helix, which I co-curated a few moons ago - who's counting?). The Guerillas had compiled some pretty shocking statistics about the paltry representation of women in our national Art collections, in the management of these institutions (I'll get them and quote them later), and the one stat I can recall (it obviously made a big impression on me), is that while women make up 70% of Humanities students, they only comprise 10% of faculty. Go figure! Eloquent statistics, indeed. What's more (how well I know this), women artists are barely even recorded in our archives - here are a few I know of personally: Erina Brady, June Fryer, Ninette de Valois, Doreen Cuthbert... Catherine Morris, who is reclaiming the lost history of Alice Milligan (watch this space in National Library of Ireland next year), was also there, pointing out how challenging it is to document these lost women artists. Archiving and reclaiming their stories and work is like an exercise in extreme lateral thinking, as they don't exist in any official archive.
So does this mean that in official history, they are "personae non grata"? In my experience, finding these invisible histories can start with a letter to The Irish Times, 90 phone-calls, and then take you into living rooms around Dublin and fading old family photograph collections. What does that say about how this state values and archives women's art? I bet there are no photographs of WB Yeats lost in family photo albums. Oh no. That's "le patrimoine". But what about "la Matrimoine"???
Susan McKay, as part of National Women's Council has initiated a "Spot the Woman" campaign to highlight any inequities that may exist here in all areas of work (not just the Arts). Thought feminism was an outmoded, outdated concept? Apparently not! Guerilla Girls are at University of Ulster, and the opening of their new Guerrilla Girls project about art in Ireland, opens at Millenium Court Arts Centre, Portadown, Northern Ireland this Friday. Go guerillas!

Check this link for the statistical, unemotional, objective facts I mentioned:

Well all I can say is "roll on the age of Aquarius" as described by Marie, in a wonderful and yes, enlightened blog comment, below (thanks Marie!).

Marie's Great Comment to the previous blog:

"It's the dawning of the age of Aquarius - like that old song from "Hair"- we are increasingly measuring the success of our society by women's standards. In other words, how happy and creative and communicative we are as a society is a more meaningful measurement than that old macho bugbear, Gross Domestic Product! Our government is failing to value the things that really mean something to us - health, education, the arts - and instead is focused on all those competitive macho indicators like who has the most money, cars, property, and face-time with other competitors to strut like cockerels at Davos and the rest. Perhaps the arts will be more inventive and effective in communicating these kinds of protests to a larger audience than those weaker people lying in the neglected hospitals of this country! Keep it up, Deirdre! End of rant. :-P"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Arts = The Goose with the Golden Eggs; Morning Ireland, and Ingeborg Bachmann

Launching the campaign against Arts cuts on Morning Ireland yesterday, Colm Toibin asked the presenters to name a writer from The Cayman Islands (ummmm.... not coming up with anyone), or from Austria. Well, Austria has a few. But us, we are steeped in the good fortune to be synonymous internationally with James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Brian Friel, JM Synge, WB Yeats, Marina Carr, Kate O'Brien, Flann O'Brien, Martin McDonagh, the list goes on. And on and on... Money couldn't buy good publicity like that for "brand Ireland". Who has poor Iceland got, to change the international focus from their financial blunders? And as Toibin astutely pointed out, Irish writers, and the Irish Arts, unlike the church, the bankers (and so on), have never let us down. So where is the logic in now letting the Arts down, our best Ambassador, with crippling cuts? Let's stay synonymous with those great names, and keep them coming, by supporting the campaign against Arts Cuts. Because that would be cutting off our nose despite our face...

Here is my point in response to the report on the Morning Ireland site:

23/09/2009 10:14:25 Deirdre Mulrooney
In answer to your question - Ingeborg Bachmann is a lovely writer from Austria - I'm surprised Colm Toibin doesn't know of her work. For example "The Thirtieth Year" - well worth a read. However I absolutely agree with Colm Toibin's sentiments this morning on your show. The Arts are simply the goose with the golden eggs for this country. Don't kill the goose!

& here is a link to the campaign - join right now!:


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Jenny Roche's Gradcam Talk on her PhD research

We had dance-artist Jenny Roche come in today to Gradcam to talk about her PhD, "Moving Identities: Multiplicity, Embodiment, and the Contemporary Dancer", which is within a hair's breath of completion at Roehampton University. Fascinating! Particularly about the agency of the Independent Contemporary Dancer... I think her methodology, and the whole issue of embodiment and how to deal with that in the academic world floored everybody. Plus it was nice to see her three solos, choreographed by John Jasperse, Jodi Melnick, and Liz Roche (her sister) once again. Where does the choreographer end, and the dancer begin? Food for thought. Thought and movement...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dance review: Baryshnikov at the Broad Stage

Dance review: Baryshnikov at the Broad Stage

Posted using ShareThis

This is totally amazing. Ana Laguna at 53, and the beautiful Misha at 61. Look at it! Read it!

Abandoned Beatles Ashram, Rishikesh, India 2009

Seen as it is 09-09-09, and the launch date of the Beatles digitally re-mastered back-catalogue - here are some recent pix of the abandoned (except for the guy who opens the "No Entry" gate - for the modest sum of 50 rupees) Maharishi Mahesh (RIP) ashram in Rishikesh, India. Rishikesh, btw, is like India's answer to Lourdes, Fatima, and Knock. And it was to this very place that the Beatles came in 1969, did a meditation course, and dreamed up THE WHITE ALBUM. Seriously - this is the place! Look it up on Youtube! Mia Farrow, Donovan, and The Beach Boys were here too. Dig the "Meditation Eggs". And how about that post-box? We ran into a couple of German devotees of the guru, who reminded us that the entire New Age Movement started right here, forty years previously, with the Beatles 1969 sojourn. Too groovy! TTFN.
Happy nine-nine-nine!

Electric Picnic 09 Glimpse

Oh it was GRRRREAT! & sorry I was having too much fun, and was way to chilled to even think about getting my camera out to take photographs of the wonderful Body & Soul magic mystery tour vibe, Tiny Tea Tent, Dutch outdoor Hot Tubs (! yes hot tubs in the middle of the night!), Fleet Foxes.... and so on... Even the mud was delightful. & what a glorious sunny Monday morning, to wrap it all up in a warm fuzzy EP haze til next year. Our lush tipi was being packed up and sent to Bestival at Isle of Wight for its next stop in the festival roundabout. But the guy dismantling it (see below), assured us that EP is the best festival he knows. Notice how everybody EP's eyes glaze over and a beatific grin creeps over their face when they mention "Body & Soul" - try it and see what I mean...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Some Art and a Sudden Storm, Delhi 2009

Let's dump parochialism and just go global... 1.26 BILLION people in India. How many in Ireland? 4 million? 5 million? Now that's what I call PERSPECTIVE.