Iarsma: Fragments from an Archive

Iarsma: Fragments from an Archive

A collaboration between choreographer Ríonach Ní Néill, composer and musician Tim Collins, academic Nessa Cronin and visual artist Deirdre O’Mahony. The research project was initiated by Dr. Cronin for NUIG.

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NUIG Archive, film still  by Tom Flannagan from the Iarsma film made by Deirdre O'Mahony 2016

Iarsma: Fragments from an Archive, is an Artists in the Archive project initiated by Nessa Cronin in 2015. A group of artists were commissioned to jointly work collaboratively on the theme of landscape in relation to the Tim Robinson Archive at NUI Galway. Composer and musician Tim Collins, dancer and choreographer Ríonach Ní Néill, and visual artist Deirdre O’Mahony worked with Nessa over a six month period to form the Performing Landscapes Collective which seeks to explore and investigate new ways in which studies of the Irish landscape could be encountered, envisaged and re-imagined through various disciplinary lenses and arts practice.

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The X-PO Mapping group at X-PO, NUIG Archive, film still  by Tom Flannagan from the Iarsma film made by Deirdre O'Mahony 2016

Invited to participate in a collective event at NUIG the artists and academic used their skills and knowledge in a performance and film event. The film was directed and produced by Deirdre O’Mahony on location in the Robinson Archive, and included the Killnaboy Mapping Group at the X-PO project who have added to the knowledge initially gathered by Robinson in his map of the Burren. The score was composed and arranged by Tim Collins including the newly commissioned pieces, ‘Anthem: Ómós Tim Robinson’, ‘The View from Above’, ‘Sir Donat’s Road’, ‘Sheas sí an Fód’, and ‘Labyrinth’. Ríonach Ní Néill’s recorded and live movement segments, ‘Bird in the Archive’, ‘Léarscáil an Cheathrú Rua’, and ‘my foot is my pen’ utilise contemporary dance environmental research and embodied mapping practices.

Iarsma was initiated as a platform to unpack questions as to what is a landscape archive using the Tim Robinson Archive as the site for exploring alternative ways in which we know and make place. Not only is the material in the archive of importance in itself, but its informational and institutional architecture determines the very nature of our encounter, and frames the way in which we store, catalogue, disseminate, manage, engage, navigate, walk, think, dance, sing and write about knowledge, its place and its praxis. As a practice-led research project, Iarsma marks the culmination of the first phase of work with the Robinson material and is an attempt to explore one fragment of the archive, to ‘fly off into wider spaces’ with ‘an unknown language’ and ‘an untried art’, in a very different way.

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Sir Donat's Road, film still  by Tom Flannagan from the Iarsma film made by Deirdre O'Mahony 2016