River Culture was was the outcome of a six-day collaborative research and production project between Deirdre O’Mahony and the South Tipperary Rural Arts Group (STRAG).
The outcome was an installation and a film designed to animate a discussion about the social, cultural and ecological importance of the basin of the River Suir. The project was seen as conceptual structure and focal point for discussion between visiting groups, local artists and volunteer groups during a weekend festival.
The event reflected on the hunting and fishing culture of the river Suir and incorporated food, an installation using video projection of filmed interviews and a temporary archive and museum assembled by the friends and members of the group.
There was also a filmed interview with fisherman Peter Butler who echoed concerns heard in other landscapes, of a disregard by State departments of tacit, place-based knowledge. Peter gave a clear account of his eighty plus years’ experience and observation of the river and its health concluding:
He (the minister) was talking about the water and such ... he should go into the Caoillte storesand see what they are using on the trees there. I mean that’s from experience, from looking at the streams, and looking at the fish that were in them, and they’re gone, they’re just gone, and it wasn’t I done away with them.
Projected film in Burncourt Community Centre Shed. Photograph by John Crowley
During the festival the interview with Peter was projected in the shed on an unpainted, stained wall. To see an excerpt of the River Culture film and installation please click here. The STRAG group organised a collection of old fishing and hunting tools and equipment and together with the museum loans these were installed in the hall.
Particular thanks to the STRAG group, Sally O'Leary, Conor O'Leary of Artlands, South Tipperary Arts Office, Marie Mc Mahon and the staff at the South Tipperary County Museum. Without the assistance of Mark Rylands, John Lawlor and Peter Butler the film would not have been possible.
The Pop-up Museum at Burncourt Community Centre June 26 - 28th 2013. Photographs by John Crowley
RIVER CULTURE was a part of the 'Inspiring Rural Creativity' project that was part of the Arts Council’s EU Presidency programme for Culture Connects. It is also supported by South Tipperary County Council through the INTERREG funded Green & Blue Futures Initiative and The Gathering 2013.