Talking Movies

November 6, 2014

Ignite Mayo: Silent Moves

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Irish visual artist Aideen Barry and Ballina-based disability organisations are working together to produce a stop-motion animated film entitled Silent Moves. Inspired by the silent films of the 1920s Silent Moves will meld mime, music and movement with the latest animation techniques. The project is one of three “Ignite” commissions which represent the largest ever investment in Ireland’s arts and disability sector. Silent Moves will be launched in Ballina Arts Centre, 7pm Friday 28th November.

Work is well underway, with Aideen Barry; known for her performance, film, sculpture, drawing and installation work; working with artists from Western Care Ridgepool Training Centre and members of Scannán Technologies group, along with dancer/choreographer Emma O’Kane. New green screen technologies and advanced animation techniques are being used to create the film, which is inspired by the silent cinema of the 1920s, the celebrated era of Douglas Fairbanks, Clara Bow, Charlie Chaplin, and Buster Keaton.

The art work will be launched in Ballina Arts Centre in the last week of November, and have a longer showing in the gallery space in 2015. The commission will also produce a high-quality accessible publication to accompany the work.

Aideen Barry is a visual artist based in the west of Ireland, known internationally for her practise as a contemporary artist. Her work has won the COE Award, the Project New Work Award (Arts Council of Ireland), the Silent Light Film Award (Cork Film Centre), and Best Experimental Work (2011 San Francisco International Animation Festival). She lectures in GMIT and Limerick School of Art & Design, and in 2010 was shortlisted for the prestigious AIB prize. She is known for her advocacy for visual arts, and her collaborations with artists with intellectual disabilities includes 2012’s Jessica Casey & Other Works printed publication and video project.

Barry says of the project, “Without the use of words or sounds, silent movies make us splutter with laughter, break our hearts, win them over again, and take us through a world of chaos to a moment of pure charm, without once uttering a word. The world is silent for all of us. For we process each of our everyday experiences, our heartbreaks, our joys ultimately on our own, in our own silent world, in our minds. Our silent moving image works take as starting points what it is to be a person, what it feels to be in love, what it feels to be bashful, what it feels to be hurt, and, together, through movement and gesture we have tried to encapsulate our experiences in front of the camera.”

Sean Walsh, Director of the Ballina Arts Centre, says, “For the past six years, Ballina Arts Centre has made a deliberate effort to push the agenda of disability arts. We are delighted to be working with Aideen Barry and Emma O’Kane on, what I feel, is a beautiful idea. Film, as an art form, offers huge potential. We’ve worked with the Ridgepool Training Centre and the Scannán Technologies groups for a good number of years now, and have completed very successful, ambitious projects with them both. This is the culmination of all that work and we’re all really looking forward to seeing the finished artwork.”

“Ignite” is a new platform designed to generate Ireland’s most ambitious showcasing of talent from people with disabilities, led by international and Irish artists and performers with disabilities, with projects taking place in 2014 and 2015 in Galway, Mayo and Cork. These commissions each represent an investment of up to €60,000. The initiative will conclude with a tour of one of the resulting works to all three counties (and beyond) in 2015. Mayo “Ignite” is facilitated by the Ballina Arts Centre, and “Ignite” is managed by a unique partnership involving the Arts Council, Arts & Disability Ireland (ADI), Cork City Council, Galway City and County Councils, and Mayo County Council.

Pádraig Naughton (Executive Director, Arts & Disability Ireland), says, “‘Ignite’ is an opportunity to dream big and make real, new and innovative work by artists with disabilities, on a scale never before seen in Ireland.” Arts Council Director, Orlaith McBride, says, “These collaborations will generate Ireland’s most ambitious and wide-ranging showcasing of talent from people with disabilities.” Silent Moves certainly intrigues as a concept, and, following public affection for The Artist, its similar reimagining of silent cinema, exploiting advances in technology to make possible what would have been impossible shots for Chaplin and Keaton, should guarantee it a wide audience.

For further information see: www.irelandignite.ie

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