My contribution to Voicing the Bridge, an international happening/arts and film-making project in Clady, Northern Ireland, includes a film made using footage from the day. It is not a traditional documentary. The film aims to address these complicated issues concerning ’free movement’ in a very surreal way, spreading a message of love and happiness out to a pretty messed up world. It also stresses the importance of preserving a variety of pollinators, the life supporting natural border crossers, whose existence is in danger.
During the day, I facilitated a workshop were visitors could perform as insects for the video. For the small kids, dresses – bees, butterflies, etc. – were provided by the local school. For youngsters and adults, I had premade a pair of wings which could easily be held and waved with against a green screen.
Voicing the Bridge, an international happening/arts and film-making project, as a part of the Earagail Arts Festival 2019, was conceived by artists Jan-Erik Andersson, Eileen Hutton (Ireland) and poet Robert Powell (UK). It took place in Clady and was inspired by the extraordinary 17th century bridge that traverses the River Finn where it forms the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland. It was realized through an open call by the Finnish Institute in London for art projects concerning borders and free movement and organized in collaboration with the Clady Cross-Community Development Association.
Artists from a range of disciplines created a day of imaginative performance, conversation, and participation for everyone, using the river and bridge as a creative location and metaphor to address the universal issue of free movement.
The project imaginatively addressed the very topical question of ‘borders’– both as barriers for people and goods to move freely – and as psychological, cultural, even spiritual, lines of division which can hinder people and communities from developing in harmony.
Indoors and out, there were happenings and events throughout the day – ecology and biodiversity workshops by Hutton, choral and poetry performances by Powell and Ruth McPhillips and the Voices of the Foyle Choir, experimental free movement demonstrations by the performance group BBeyond.
The Grand Finale was a procession and ‘car horn orchestra’ taking place on Clady Bridge.
All visitors were invited to contribute thoughts, words and drawings to decorate a bench and sculptural scale model of Clady Bridge designed by me. The bench-sculpture was lef t as a gif t to be used by the community af ter the event.