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    This was my piece in the opening exhibition for IMRAM (Irish language literature festival) Inspired by a poem by Gabriel Rosenstock called Port n… Read More
    This was my piece in the opening exhibition for IMRAM (Irish language literature festival) Inspired by a poem by Gabriel Rosenstock called Port na bPúcaí Read Less
IMRAM is all about discovering the Irish language. The language is beautiful but sadly underused. It is a wonderful language for poetry and literature. As my way of promoting the Irish language I chose a poem by Gabriel Rosenstock, Port na bPúcaí. The poem is Gabriel Rosenstock’s response to a piece of music of the same name.
The story goes that sailors were out on the ocean, when they hear music over the water. The sailors then start to play music back to the mysterious sound. Commentators think that the music the sailors were hearing was whale song. I think it creates a lovely image of these whales singing to sailors and sailors singing back to the whales. Also there is this idea of music coming over the sea. I think it is an interesting commentary of Irish culture; to a greater or lesser extent much of Irish culture has come to us over the sea. As a symbol of this I chose the motif of the lozenge. This shape is first found in central European art.
It is part of a culture that came to Ireland with its first settlers known as ‘the beaker people’ because of the small pots that they made. This shape has continued into Celtic culture and can been seen in sites like New grange. Irish designers have picked up on the lozenge shape as a way of representing Irishness without using the stale images of the shamrock etc. Peter Wildbur is one of these designers who used the lozenge shape in his work. He not only cited historical souses but also the common pattern on pub walls as a contemporary use of the lozenge shape. This sort of trompe l'oeil brick pattern could be quite abstract.
The poem Port na bPúcaí is all about music coming on the wave. I decided to build a wave. The physical sculpture communicates the message of the poem better than a flat image. The wave was created out of individual tetrahedron shapes. I made each tetrahedron so that in pairs the faces make up the lozenge shape. Then I decided to hang the piece as a curtain.

This gives the effect of a wave crashes onto the ground in surf. Placing loose tetrahedron shapes at the end makes the Cúr or foam of the wave. Just as things like the lozenge shape has come to us, so too have other parts of culture come to us over the wave. To express this I used the modular grid of the tetrahedra joined together to create words. Just as a story is distorted in the repeated telling, so too is culture distorted and adapted as it travels. The grid distorts the letterforms slightly giving them the effect of being stirred by ripples in the sea.
I created the piece to read as two words; glór and voice. I chose these words to express that the voice we use to express irishness has its self come to us over the waves. I colored faces of the tetrahedra so that a person standing to the right of the piece could read a different word than the person standing on the other side. From the front however it looks abstract, showing that you interpretation of the poem, culture, or even the piece depends on you perspective. ❖
accompanying booklet