Memory Dress

Memory Dress, Charlotte Donovan and Marie Brett, 2006—2007.
The Memory Dress project took place Lost Childrenas part of Triskel Arts Centre’s three-year arts and health programme in St Finbarr’s Hospital, Cork. The project was a collaboration between artists Charlotte Donovan and Marie Brett and involved more than 150 participants. In addition to working with the patients and staff in St Finbarr’s Hospital the artists also invited individuals and groups associated with the hospital to become involved in the project. The sculptural pieces Lost Children were created in response to the historical and social landscape of St Finbarr’s Hospital. The hospital was originally the city workhouse with an onsite laundry similar to the infamous Magdalene Laundries.

The hidden and forgotten stories of childrenPicture Charlotte Donovan loved and lost were recollected through the creation of these dress sculptures. The work was developed in collaboration with patients from St Catherine’s and St Monica’s Wards, hospital staff and visitors. The Memory Dress prints are made from original fabric dresses created by women from Ballyphehane ICA. Participants contributed their own fabric scraps, using them to recreate a dress that was special to them and shared a memory associated with that dress. The Memory Dress prints and Lost Children were exhibited as part of the Memory Dress Exhibition in Triskel Arts Centre, Cork in 2007. There is an accompanying catalogue.

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Subaquatic Dublin

Subaquatic Dublin, Paul Gregg, 2003, Our Lady’s Hospital for Children, Crumlin, Dublin 12
Photograph - Paul Gregg

Subaquatic Dublin presents an underwater version of Dublin in an aquarium holding seven tons of water, teeming with fish. Within the aquarium are replicas of landmark Irish buildings and other urban markers, including tower cranes, all fabricated in marine grade stainless steel. Underwater cameras send live images from the tank through the hospital’s existing piped television system, reaching children confined to their beds. The concept intrigues people of all ages, ideal for a hospital setting where long anxious waiting periods are inevitable.

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Life Blood

Life Blood, Cathy Henderson, 2009, St James’s Hospital, Dublin 8.

Cathy Henderson’s series of portraits Life Blood came about as a result of a direct intervention by the artist who approached St James’s Hospital. Life Blood Following her own experience of long periods spent as a patient recovering from a road accident the artist wished to produce a series of portraits representing the non-medical staff in a hospital. The idea emerged from her observation of the institutional portraits along a corridor in St Vincent’s Hospital where all the sitters were men: senior consultants, board members, distinguished doctors or benefactors (the sole exception being Mother Mary Aikenhead, the founder of the hospital). Wishing to redress that imbalance, the artist created a series of oil on canvas portraits of non-medical staff at St James’s Hospital.

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The Bedmaker

The Bedmaker, Helene Hugel, 2008. Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, Dublin 12 and the National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght, Dublin 2.

The Bedmaker

This is the public version of a performance which was originally developed for children in hospital. The production evolved through creative play with children and it explores the bed as a performing landscape, using clowning, storytelling and puppetry. It was developed by Helene Hugel to inspire children to recreate their bed space through their imagination. The Bedmaker is an interactive and sensitive show for a small audience of six children sitting in a big bed. The experience lasts 45 minutes including a 10-minute art session at the end. The Bedmaker is devised by Helene Hugel and directed by Kareen Pennefather with music by Diarmuid MacDiarmada.

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Hello - Hello

Hello - Hello, Danny McCarthy, 2005, O’Connell Court, Sheltered Housing Unit, Cork

Hello - Hello arose out of Danny McCarthy’s experience of working on the intergenerational performance project Moment in collaboration with four other artists and the staff and residents of O’Connell Court. Picture Denis Minihane In the course of his work with residents and staff the artist decided to record project participants and artists saying ‘Hello’ and to take the recording back to the studio to use it as the basis of new work. Listening to the recordings back in the studio McCarthy soon realised that they needed little or no treatment and that the ‘voices of the dispossessed and repossessed’ spoke very powerfully on their own. Each voice expressed itself and reflected the gamut of human emotion that runs through the unique environment of O’Connell Court. Hello - Hello was sited at the entrance to a deconsecrated church, which was also the space where the Moment performance took place. Speakers were placed around the space and sounded intermittently the word ‘Hello’ as people entered. The sound was diffused so that sometimes it came from behind, other times from overhead or the left and right. The work later formed part of the exhibition Listening With The Sound Turned Off in the Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, where it was placed on the stairwell with the sounds moving up and down the stairs.

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Lived Lives

Lived Lives: Visual Autopsy Manifestation, Seamus McGuinness, 2006 (ongoing), Department of Psychiatry, St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin 4.

Lived Lives is a collaborative research platform between Seamus McGuinness, clinician scientist Kevin Malone and Janis Jefferies, Picture Sally TimmonsProfessor of Visual Arts Goldsmiths College, University of London, which has been established to develop a four-year focus on suicide in modern Ireland. It investigates how a creative arts practice using cloth, material objects, sounds and stories can contribute to a deeper insight and understanding of youth suicide in Ireland. Participants have given permission to use images, names and other items of their deceased children or close friends to help dismantle the stigma that surrounds suicide death. By getting behind the cold clinical statistics and bringing these private experiences of loss and pain ethically into the public domain through arts practice, Lived Lives explores how we can influence how suicide is viewed and how we can articulate the experience of loss in a meaningful manner. This research does not ask what the work is. Instead, it is informed by questioning what the work can do.

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Beyond Appearances

Untitled, Paul Maye, 2004. University Hospital Galway

Paul Maye is particularly interested in exploring alternative, non-traditional media, often exploiting the inherent properties and associations that are unique to each medium. Picture care of the artistHis collaboration with the Radiology Department in University Hospital Galway involved the exchange of insight into the processes behind his work as a visual artist in return for technical expertise. The artist began by translating familiar graphic representations of mortality, love and spirituality into sculptural objects using a variety of materials: silicone rubber, wax, aluminium, plaster and barium. Many of these objects contained embedded items that could only be revealed through radiological imaging and frequently displayed a visual tension or conflict between an object’s outer appearance and what lies within. The medium itself acted as a metaphor for a recurring theme within his work; an exploration into the nature of perception and, particularly with this work, the desire to get beyond surface appearance.

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Personal Effects

Auxiliary Hospital Equipment: Personal Effects, Jennie Moran, 2009, Merlin Park Hospital, Galway

Personal EffectsPersonal EffectsOver a number of weeks artist Jennie Moran visited Unit 4 of Merlin Park Hospital, a ward that accommodates men and women who have recently experienced a stroke. is a project that aims to de-institutionalise the healthcare context through the illumination of its inhabitants’ stories. This is done by slowly gathering fragments of lives from individuals passing through the hospital and allowing these details and narratives to reappear on hospital items, such as pillowcases, thereby altering the hospital landscape. These pieces of re-appropriated bed linen also serve as a record of a very particular time for the men and women who contributed towards them. Further information about Personal Effects is available on the artists website.

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Haiku Week

Haiku Week, Mark Roper, 2003, Waterford Regional Hospital

Haiku Week was devised as part of an 18-month residency with the Waterford Healing Arts Trust (W.H.A.T.). designed by Zero GIt was facilitated by the artist and staff from W.H.A.T. over a week-long period in May 2003. Patients, staff and visitors to Waterford Regional Hospital were invited to write a short Haiku in response to their hospital experience. The Haiku was chosen as an easily recognisable form, which is conducive to short, sharp images. The aim of Haiku Week was to encourage people to make a good short poem and not become slaves to the 17-syllable format. The week resulted in the publication of a book of Haiku: Did you bring the Socks? In the words of poet Mark Roper, who devised the project, ‘the idea of Haiku Week was to compile a kind of verbal snapshot of as many different aspects of hospital life as possible. What you will find here is a mosaic of different voices, a community of different concerns. Some of the Haiku are highly humorous, some hard-hitting and some very poignant.’

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Mind-Matter, Dominic Thorpe, 2007.

Dominic Thorpe was one of a number of artists invited to meet with people who suffer from the chronic physical pain disorder, neuropathic pain, and in response create art work that visualises pain. Mind-MatterThe project investigated the potential for artwork to assist in describing and diagnosing neuropathic pain. Dominic met with Vincent Connelly over a number of months where they discussed Vincent’s pain and potential artwork. Vincent had given up painkillers because he said they eroded his quality of life. Instead he dealt with his pain by meditating at the Curragh in County Kildare. Quite early in the relationship Dominic realised he could not fully comprehend the physical pain Vincent described so visually and emotionally. He also felt that focusing on ‘pain’ was completely inadequate; he saw pain as a personal experience so he focused on the person. As a consequence the artwork produced is based on a personal experience of pain – Vincent’s experience, and is also about him, his strength, his spirit and Dominic’s experience of him. The final performance artwork (duration 1—2 hours) comes from a series of action, text, image and object-based works.

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Sing Another Story

Sing Another Story, 2009, Sheltered housing and Daycare Centre, Kilmaley, Co. Clare.

Picture Christy McnamaraJohn worked with the residents of Kilmaley Sheltered Housing and the service users in Kilmaley Daycare Centre. The work consists of three songs approximating to the ancient divisions of Goltraí, Geantraí and Suantraí, a ‘Sad’, a ‘Happy’ and ‘Soothing’ song, in this case a lullaby. The specific themes and ideas within each song were informed by over a dozen singing workshops conducted during the winter and spring of 2008–09 with the residents and clients in the Kilmaley complex. The artist ‘taught’ the clients songs from his repertoire and facilitated them to share and perform songs from their own.

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A Clinically Useful Artwork? Part 1 & 2

A Clinically Useful Artwork? Part 1 & 2, Denis Roche, 2006, James’s Hospital, Dublin.

A Clinically Useful Artwork? is a core element of the Open Window Project, A clinically ueful artwork?an ongoing clinical research project looking at the influence of contemporary art in an acute care environment in the National Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, St. James’s Hospital. In Part I of the work, Denis Roche devises a manual, which outlines the behavioural parameters of a committee that convenes to approve artwork that is viewed by patients. In Part II, the artwork takes the form of a social interaction whereby the artist develops a conversation with the patient centered on a series of questions. Following this conversation, the artist places a camera in a location that has significance to the patient. Images from the location are transmitted every 15 minutes to a projector in the patient’s room. A link to a short piece about Open Window which was aired on the RTE show Nationwide in 2009 is included.

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Ó Bhéal Guth Béal

Ó Bhéal Guth Béal, 2007, four daycare centres, Gaeltacht Muscraí, Co. Cork.

Musician Ger Wolfe Picture Catherine Ketchspent four months as writer-in-residence in Gaeltacht Mhúscraí on a project called Ó Bhéal Guth Béal. The main focus of the residency programme was to create a new body of songs based on the life stories, experiences and ideas of the older people in this community. Múscraí is an area that has a vibrant living culture of song, storytelling art and literature. Ger met with the older people who visit the day centres in Cill na Martra, Bailemhúirne, Béal Atha ‘n Ghaorthaidh and Reidh na nDoirí as well as taking part in ‘scoraíocht’ social events. A CD of the songs from the arts and health residency programme is in production and is due to be released in 2010.

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