About Ruth and Niamh's Commission
As we face into a second wave of the Covid 19 pandemic, we are proposing to make the next episode of the work we began during the first lockdown which comprised a deconstructed TV pilot, made collaboratively from seperate homes, as pages of a script and an accompanying abstracted video.
The Dock’s 2020 Visual Art Commission will enable us to conduct on-site research into the Sligo, Leitrim & Northern Counties Railway (SL&NCR) as well as the Bord na Móna tracks around the boglands of Co. Longford. For this, we would undertake a pilgrimage-residency in order to create a new reflective video piece, an original soundtrack and an online catalogue focussing on the historic and political landscapes of the Irish midwest.
We began this project in 2018 by following disused sections of the Western Rail Corridor, using the track to explore complex tensions between environmentalism versus economics; public versus private, and progress versus nostalgia. We are interested in how the defunct trainline can become a metaphor for binary thinking in these tug-of-war style debates, whilst itself existing almost outside of time and space.
“Our research is concerned with Ireland’s complicated relationship with its colonial past, and currently we are considering the Irish State’s management of our natural resources and social infrastructures. The Dock’s support will enable us to investigate historical and contemporary ideals of 'progress' in terms of promise and threat. Specifically we are examining Ireland’s late industrialisation, largely powered by this comprehensive harvesting of bogland. We understand the perceived inevitability of technological progress to have accelerated the loss of traditional, symbiotic relationships to the land. This commissioned work would bridge the geographical distance between our homes in Sligo and Leitrim, enabling us to collect and share site-specific research in novel ways; make an ambitious audio-visual response.“