Wednesday 1 October 2008

Enniskillen: initial thoughts

I wrote this the day after the show opened, a few days ago...

So the show has opened in Enniskillen, at the old Portora Royal School, a 400 year old shindig that once educated the teenaged Sam Beckett and Oscar Wilde. It has been fun seeing today's teenaged boys - and a smattering of girls - interacting with the new rolling, low humming beast in their foyer. It is running there right now, and up to the 5th October, so if you happen to be in the viscinity, or feel like making a trip up there, Fermanagh is gorgeous, I recommend it, and Portora is a very special place.

And for what is basically a simple set-up of video projector and audio system, it's really been a lot of work, in fact three full days of work. I feel like I'm leaving it in good hands, to wend its way in this border town. There will be gigs in the evening, so adult humans will be exposed to it, too. But you know, I could really just hang out there chatting with the fourteen year olds like Ryan today, who is studying art, and who doesn't have exams this year, they just put him in a room, "say a word and we have to draw a picture. It's alright, like", and who hung around to watch the show, and dug the story. Or the two older boys who were vibrating with excitement at the whole thing, and who really dug the soundtrack with its purely analogue instrumentation and electronic feel. Or the very small kid who stormed into the middle of the foyer, hands on hips, and shouted, "What is THIS?" with some consternation. Or the boy who shouted to me, "did someone paint in the water?"

Or the teacher who asked, "can't it stay forever? I love it! I love that it can just be around, slowly infiltrating the boys' senses".

This is pretty far out stuff for kids of that age, so it's thrilling to see the few that seem to be inspired by it.

Generally, I found things friendly out there. Teachers have been keen to get involved and help out with turning the project on every day, and I have been made tea the last couple of days. I'd be into doing this kind of thing again, with perhaps even more interactivity between myself and the kids. This particular school is of course interesting to me, because when I was the age of these kids, I was reading about Oscar Wilde going to that school, about Sam Beckett who went there too, and kind of rocking out to the whole notion of wild creativity. I had no idea of what this arcane 400 year old institution, at that time for boarding boys, the children of the ruling and well to do classes really meant, or signified, or was ACTUALLY, or any of that shit.

And then I went to Trinity, where both of them went after that (am I right about that? I know Beckett went there, maybe Wilde went to Oxford?) and you know, when I made my application for rooms in college as I was entering my fourth year, I scrawled all over the pink application sheet all about the specific room, on the specific floor, in the specific location, as if they didn't already know that that had been Beckett's room when he was there. As it happened, it would have been very handy, because it was right by the college theatre, which I was very into at the time. But I didn't get rooms, that one or any other. But today, my work and Ross' soundtrack is being projected where those boys spent their teens a hundred years ago, and I see them running through the flickering light of the projector rays reaching across the foyer.

I have fallen in love with my work again. I have fallen in love with the business of bringing it from that endlessly in-love first process of pressing pen to paper watching the ink flowing until it is done, of taking the photograph, of receiving the idea - those sensual moments of happeningness - and now, through a five month process of moving shyly and excitedly toward each other, as I construct, edit, reconstruct, collaborate (with Ross Bonadonna, Brooklyn composer, producer and my squeeze) and make these things available for other people to see and interact with.

It has been fun.

They will be showing up on Here Comes Lucy very soon.

UPDATE: Lovely Clusterflocker Sheila has written a lovely note about this post here. Thanks, Sheila!


  1. looking forward to see it this was a good read [by way of the clinton dream] and the kids reactions... great

  2. Cheers, Alek. Yeah, it just occurred to me now that the place I was staying in in Enniskillen was actually called The Clinton Centre too, so I'm sure that dream was a part of processing the whole thing in some way. I'll make some kind of a splash around here when I've uploaded the movies, just fiddling with last fiddly bits...

  3. Oh, yeah, I second everything Alek says (hell, I do that nine times out of ten), and I add this -- that reading yer post made me so happy. Happy for you and strangely fizzy, thinking that maybe it's not all straight downward into the muck.

  4. But Sheila, there is mouse viscera down in that muck. And not all of it is indigestible.

  5. Very well, then. Downward, ever deeper, into the muck.

  6. Well you know, muck is good for rolling around in, also.