Audiovisual Cultures episode 92 – Horror, Film History and Irish Cinema with Dr Gary D. Rhodes automated transcript

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this is audio visual cultures the podcast that explores different areas of the arts and culture of production with me Paula Blair visit Petri on dot com forward slash AP cultures to find out more and to join the policy welcome to another audio visual cultures podcast I am polo player and deployed to I have a treat for you today I am beyond excited to welcome filmmaker and historian Dr Gary D. roots Gary thank you so much for joining me hi are you and where do we find G. well we find this in many places during a pandemic mainly I suppose the best dancers at home like we're so often confine let me start by saying thanks so much for inviting me to talk %HESITATION I've noted your research for years and so it's always great to have the chance to chat with you though I'm physically in Orlando Florida now my part of my heart always belongs to the north of Ireland where we first met but more than anything else the best answer like I guess we will give us %HESITATION and hold you know in the middle of this horrendous play sets just as you mentioned that there anyway Carrie and just for listeners to carry and I have known each other for I would say it longer than either of us wants to add minutes to remind my grey hair anyway mine's coming might mean well on the way later the batter's eye below there's also there's always hair dye I'm definitely considering that right now so you like you know you're always like fabulous I had the privilege of being taught spicy garlic when he arrives at queen's university Belfast in two thousand five and that was the final year of my undergraduate degree and she also %HESITATION where the internal examiner for my peach state which is very exciting remember all I remember all of it very well I was so excited to get to Belfast means and it was so great the entire cohort of students you work hard on or so such extremely creative intelligent and dedicated students far more than I'd work with at the undergraduate level before it was extremely exciting and of course we shared an interest in Irish cinema and that became of course quirk to your PhD work and so I was so proud to be a small part of that process and and your success with that project no that's very kind Kerry you've been writing more picks than I can keep up west so I think it be nice said start talking about some of the methods okay and really get into a your research areas so we'll see what where you want to go with this it might be you get sick at the most recent thing out of the way because what we're all living through the man it is quite relevant something you from working on anyway which I like to tell us a bit about your hi cinema has been affected by epidemics research of course thank you yeah thank you for that question it's an area of research that became very interesting to me many years ago I was actually an undergraduate at the time and I was going through as it is interested in film history I was going through these old publications like variety The Hollywood Reporter and all of those and I would be turning the pages and looking for things of interest to me on subjects like the horror film one of my other areas of interest I kept seeing over and over again in these old publications yellowing crumbling publications from the nineteen twenties thirties forties I kept saying so many movie theater tragedies that had affected audiences and some of them we we maybe know a little bit about a film like %HESITATION inglorious bastards the queen Tarantino film for example picks up on the flammability of film and the fact that some fire sometimes happens it could kill people and so I was saying those things as they occurred in American these old newspapers these old trade publications and I kept saying over and over again and I started photo copying all of it because I thought there is you know I've never heard about this and it was five years and it was bombings it was sometimes murders that people would use the darkness of the movie theater to shoot another person for example all these very tragic stories but I found quite interesting in that they were so forgotten and it ended up culminating in a book of mine over a debt about a decade ago called the perils of movie going in America you know all these regrettably bad things could happen by just going to the movies but one part of it that I should now introduces the fact that along with everything I've just mentioned and other horrors you know they were they were unfortunately you know people would get groped frankly in the darkness you know %HESITATION so there was sexual assaults and things that would happen I mean a lot of this of course exacerbated by the cover of darkness because you know what it's a rather interesting thing although we're so used to in today's world to go into a movie theater it's set in the darkness with strangers all around as you know that was a rather new thing to do at the end of the nineteenth century to plunge into darkness with strangers but with all of the horrible things that could happen one of the others that became a chapter was the sheer number of pandemics and epidemics that affected movie going a century ago and even a little more recent the most famous of the move would have been the nineteen eighteen influenza the great influenza pandemic so much has been said of it lately where century later it's I suppose and pandemic terms the nearest example the nearest touchstone for us during all of this that's true for our movie going situation as well and so that became so much of what I was writing about in that book although there were other epidemics like polio like scarlet fever those tended to be more %HESITATION regional in America more short term you know shutting down a feature for a few weeks sometimes they were moored strictly demographic you know sometimes that theaters would remain open during polio epidemics but children Morgan made it because they were the ones that would contract Holyoke but the pandemic of nineteen eighteen cost most theaters in America to shop for about half of nineteen eighteen hands in an eerie precursor to today's world to re open and then have to shut again because of the surges of second way each you know the desire for everybody for their own mental health but also on the exhibitor side of the fence to start making money again to not go out of business to be able to sell movie theater seats again take a it's again so so this is something of my research is actually began when I was an undergraduate it ended up being a book and %HESITATION it's interesting how I don't know if it's the return of the repressed or what it is but you can do a project and then years later only years later is its relevance maybe %HESITATION or becomes more Roman you know the research because right when the pandemic fit and everything began to shop in America in March of twenty twenty I got a phone call from the Chicago Tribune saying Hey it looks like you're the only person that you know has written about this before and then that led to me talking more about it writing my own updates about it in the New York Daily News and and elsewhere because it's one of those moments where hopefully you know our research can have meaning for the world outside of a dusty library shelf yeah well I mean in a way it quite fits with your interest in horror because it is quite all horrific in its own way all of that stuff yes very much so in fact my op ed in the New York Daily News was published at Halloween last year and it was actually in some ways drawing the very connection you're talking about including the red death and post famous story the masque of the red death to our present situation because a lot of horror films have been horror stories traditionally have been about plagues both real like the bubonic plague as well as kind of concocted like post story did creating it like for the sake of of scaring people and and these things have continued through the years you know I know there's a getting some slight contagion have obviously been watched probably and thought about probably as much or more the past years when they were first you know released so there is a a very scary you know connection here one of George Romero's stating horror films you know where I'm going is always are at two steps ahead of me crazies your main course Romero having been the director of night of the Living Dead and dawn of the dead most famously but he made some of the crazies about a an epidemic and of course that was remade even World War Z. %HESITATION you know some of some of the zombie craze of recent years some of the stories about how the zombies get started or a pandemic related epidemic related as I recall it was probably the first season of the walking dead yeah where the journey of survival was leading to the CDC Erica Yoon the center for disease control and that's another odd thing I haven't I haven't really thought that much about it or written that much about it but clearly that there is a curiosity however accidental and so many zombie films in America being about epidemics pandemics in the years not too many years before and leading up to our present situation I think twenty eight days later it comes from monkey so there's that species jump that happens is quite interesting to think about it nine oh yes which is very fast and because obviously there's talks about where did this come from was it from a bad or so forth and that's been true of some prior diseases and epidemics and so forth in in human history in order they originating from other species of animals it's true of the folklore too isn't it because you know you get bit by a vampire you know and %HESITATION you know unless you like the empires and sometimes I should go for it but but you know so well either well or or rob but there is that characteristic you're Ryan and twenty eight days later was Gus was such a watershed moment I think for a lot of us that are interested in horror films and interested in British horror films and how it was seen at the time to really inject new life into and may be injected in a pandemic world is even an interesting word but inject new life into the British horror film that was so well known in the sixties and seventies and and it's very much again a key into and and maybe pressing of our current situation would certainly I don't mean to make light of what we're trying to study and understand it and %HESITATION and not make light of it but I do think that there are some interesting yeah there so there's a lot of interesting interactions between horror and %HESITATION plagues including our current pandemic yeah I suppose that's not saying is playing out scenarios I find in the arts so the movies are there a matching necklace what happened this could be the series of events that happens and you know but if people are in their own may face at the minute I specific way of understanding what's happening to us because we're paid in our little boxes were stuck at home I suppose we've only got our imagination I don't really know where I'm going with that I'm just thinking sorry if it's just playing out scenarios of what could potentially happen because there's such a big difference between a maybe like a zombie land and twenty eight days later ones very serious in the other one isn't spring yet there by essentially the same thing %HESITATION yes yes well and that makes my mind go fast and so many places that your faults there because you're raising so many interesting issues and and I think that certainly there's this fascinating connection between horror and comedy yeah you know as genres maybe two sides of the same coin sometimes they've been set aside I think that they're two of the most consistently popular genres in film history they both emerged basically in the eighteen nineties and they they really don't have much of a of a period of disappearing honest in the way that say musicals or western institute the consistent popularity of boats and everything from what we might call dark comedy which can be so often in horror films to the fact the company itself is I think inherently subversive somebody is so often on the end of the joke so to speak you know that maybe a lot of people are laughing children you know on a playground but then there's the one crying because they're the one being made fun of you know comedy can be rather in its own way so cruel so I think that there's some real connections there and I think that that's true throughout horror film history which we see played out in in two basic ways that one would be that the serious horror films in many cases what inject moments of comedy relief comic relief the idea particularly in areas like the nineteen twenties thirties and afterwards forties fifties we'll have something really scary but then we'll have somebody make a joke of it a couple of minutes later to help the idea was to relieve the tension of the movie goer it's just been put through the trauma of screen terror and then across the other trajectory if there's two main ones the other trajectory would be that kind of zombie land approach where the horror and comedy or combined it wants into something that may be dark I mean one of the things that always attracted me about certain types of Irish literature going back you know would be the darkly comic sensibilities and I think horror at times has gone down that road where horror and comedy or in other words he added he ends in creating the sensations and sometimes at those moment very peculiar situate sensations and emotional responses because you know when something's darkly comic does it frighten us do we laugh we laugh is is it an uncomfortable kind of laughter I think all of that's very fascinating and I think you're right that the imagination can help in these ways and sometimes it's maybe life imitating art or art imitating life and maybe it's an interesting I think in the history of horror even thinking back before cinema you know literature painting visual culture folklore there's kind of I think interesting kind of dance macabre here when you talk about twenty eight days later on I'm reminded one of my forthcoming publications is about the unproduced film revolts of the dead which would have been in nineteen thirty two or like thirty two early thirty three film directed by tod Browning okay Brandon was very yeah you know Browning I'm not in the list probably due in may nineteen thirty one Dracula you may nineteen thirty to fill freaks he's considered one of the you know one of the great horror film directors of course like all directors there were projects he wanted to do that didn't happen and I was able to locate all of his notes in the script drafts for a film that he never made in a forthcoming book and it's called revolt of the dead hand of course Browning live through the pandemic of nineteen eighteen nineteen and his film revolt of the dead seems like it's harking back to the nineteen eighteen epidemic because it's about a kind of a %HESITATION route in which doctor that wants to turn the whole world into the living dead knitting which spread across the whole world you know like like twenty eight days later like a %HESITATION World War Z. you know he's basically wanted to create albeit with kind of a supernatural origin a kind of pandemic of the Living Dead and in the script increasingly people start getting knocks on their door from dead relative it's who aren't the same people go to movie theaters they go to restaurants that go to the to the night clubs for young people used to maybe go more often for dancing and music and soon the dead infected dad over populate the living and and M. scary where you literally in the script you go to a restaurant and they're more dead people at it then there are the living and so this is kind of I think what you're talking about you know that it's a I think it's an interesting dance where it's back and forth you know I mean I think as so often he was in horror you know PO weekend with the mask of the red death was kind of a pressing it ahead of the game in some ways you know so it's fascinating it's it's horrifying but it's very from state from a scholarly terms as well as I think moviegoing turns audience terms you know these things can help us I think that's one of the great things about horror potentiality Horace to be cathartic to be scared through entertainment but maybe from the safety of our of our whole social media says it's probably a good please send CV asking a bait probably one of your best known picks UP the birth of the American horror film because certainly those of us who are young we think we invented everything and actually as you say it started right at the start of cinnamon I suppose for anybody listening he might be under the misconception that old films and silent films are very stuffy industry at a fast what would you say about that well I I'm always looking for ideas here about convincing people of the merits of going back to look at earlier years of failed and even how to work with the young filmmakers and %HESITATION young film students and so forth you know how to get them interested in hearing aids before for example in the twenty first century %HESITATION especially a period of black and white cinema of even silent films the earliest days of cinema I don't know the best approach to getting people I've tried various mechanisms to get them excited I think there's a few ways that I try and not least of which is the fact that some of the best known filmmakers today certainly in the western way well certainly in my home country of America would be people like Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino filmmakers whose films and their careers their interviews everything about them exemplify that their achievements and and and and I will be in the limit to just those two but there are two examples of names most people I think now they're films constantly reference built upon the tradition of cinema they are lifelong students of film history and and they of course attribute their success in some measure to their knowledge of film history and we can go back to so many other filmmakers right think that's true as well some of the great film makers are among the biggest collectors of film history and film memorabilia and so forth because they love the cinema and if you love the cinema there's not a starting date on it in other words you can love films made before the year two thousand and I think also I would say to younger filmmakers or trying to convince people to share my hopefully boundless enthusiasm and passion is if you're wanting to make great films the film genres we love have existed so long be it comedy or horror as we've already said or others if you're wanting to develop script ideas if you're wanting to think about cinema in your own ideas being part of the genres indeed we could argue the film itself is a genre I argue that in the same way Mekelle box used to argue that the novel was a genre whatever its topic or focus speed a western novel or a you know a drama or what have you but it all still in other words what we try to argue is that you can find incredible ideas in the past it can be because the genre is always reinvention it's building on what has been done before the cinema is about that sometimes obviously in the form of direct remakes you know as we talk a new Texas chainsaw massacre film is about to come out the first one was made in the seventies so sometimes this of course most obviously happens with the three makes but it could have been more vague ways with story lines with themes it can happen even with you know I I grew up loving George Lucas there still the Star Wars universe multiverse whatever it is universe I suppose with the Mandalorian everybody loves and Amanda Morgan is doing what Lucas did in the seventies by using a lot of white transitions fallen out of favor for decades but that he loved from the nineteen thirties films and serials he watched in so it doesn't have to be about finding old story lines that are interesting about finding some techniques that were popular once upon a time but not as much now and so I think here is in Willits fountain an incredible reservoir of possible inspiration of all types for young filmmakers even in direct terms right before I came to Ireland this spring before I came what I ride in Ireland in the north of Ireland that full in Belfast at queens and met you in so many wonderful students the previous spring I had my last group of American students and one of them wanted to make a short film called director's cut that was going to be a short horror movie and the cut was going to have in the title more than one meeting as you can gather probably going you know the slasher time about ourselves he got fairly far along before he realized and then I met him and had to relay the unfortunate news nectar already did a film called director's cut it was a horror film that at least in the most basic idea that you get from that title it had been done before and so I think even if you're committed to doing something extraordinarily noted perhaps you're interested in all of Asgard or experimental you want to do something that's never been done before it does help to know film history so you're not reinventing the wheel as that student was trying to do and fortunately he moved on to another project and that was wonderful for him but he had gotten far long before I met him with something that was on knowingly copy and past so if you are going to work with the past it's best to do of course is a very knowing away which is one of the things course yeah that we love about people like Quentin Tarantino and again so many other filmmakers that work in this same kind of way no yeah so I wanted to see Askey a fight your work on political safe because you've written probably I I don't know maybe the most comprehensive biographies of lego say and because he is a figure that we certainly anyone who knows her stuff about horror film they know he's out is so I was wondering if you would mind if there are any listeners may be younger listeners who don't know who you were talking about aids or you know as you mentioned earlier he was Dracula he was Dracula yes it's hard grinding struck in that you know and that was back with the universal horror the creature features in a way that they were doing in the nineteen thirties but that was you know one of the first ones to snatch but that wasn't all he did he had such an extensive career and credit tumultuous life I think is while I mean would you be happy to to tell us a bit of bite yes well I I would love to and I suppose in different periods would go see has been known for different reasons for example when I first met you and I was first starting to work with some of the first year students in Ireland in courses like introduction to film I would sometimes show them Tim Burton's movie ed wood because it depicted let go see a very tragic late in his life it was a Tim Burton film that dramatized you know starring Johnny Depp and Martin Landau the dramatized the most tragic Lugosi's life and and I would show it to first year students stand because they they would remember that the film to come out when they were ten years old a war or or and heard about it and of course now it's much further in time from the release of that film and it was in other words a bit of a more modern touchstone for me to talk about legacy then and now it's very much passed into the past so speak from another century now we're now we're much cheaper but more than twenty five years I guess talking with people who may not know Lugosi I suppose now the best way is the white first white would be the way that most people have historically known who he is throughout the world and I think he connects a little bit with our our last exchange because it is a way in which film and by extension popular culture so often reinvents or builds on the past even in ways that sometimes audiences aren't aware in America this past Halloween there was a commercial for a candy bar we would call them here chocolate bar I think you might say called kit kat our colleague as overall used to eat the every morning when I would have T. within United also they're known for their note elsewhere in the world but they're popular they were popular here in America and it was it was a commercial thirty second TV commercial where Dracula in the usual dress the Cape the clean face shape shaven face pretty good looking hair slicked back black hair and affecting a kind of a of an eastern European kind of Hungarian slash remaining accent was on there pouting and of course wanting to sink his teeth into a kit kat candy bar and that commercial is even available to go see died in nineteen fifty six that commercial was him in in a sense refracted at least through popular culture reincarnated through popular culture there is a children's cereal in America known as Count Dracula its mascot from the nineteen seventies until to day is another of those imitators I suppose is another term we could use there's an extent to which even later Dracula's although still not known necessarily to younger people later Dracula's of the screen white Christopher Lee and Franklin Jela their depictions of Dracula drool calmly go see it particularly to the extent that in Bram stoker's novel Dracula was very different in appearance than the way we think of Dracula including on that kit kat commercial at any time if anybody affects the voice the Kate a so much of what we think of of Dracula in popular culture is not from Bram stoker's norm rather from Bela Lugosi actually what most people know most readily rather than say the long white mustache that he hasn't stoker's novel it's much more let go see who played even in nineteen thirty one film previous to that on Broadway and he turned Dracula in some ways a monster yes a supernatural vampire yes into this kind of alluring sexualized vampire so much of folklore the vampire was often repulsive and obviously vampires do repulsive things you know biting people drinkable yada yada but we go see really turned vampire I think we see this again in ways like we even there's a character named Bella in twilight films yes you know and yes different double go see some P. and Baylor would be the proper pronunciation of course right we do it in American a lot of places people did refer to informatics careers Bela Lugosi but regardless this whole notion that the vampire could be sensual the vampire could be sexualized and attractive yet even hypnotic another aspect of the vampire we think about %HESITATION often the hypnotic on ice and instilled throughout the decades sometimes this coincides with cinematography to have the extreme close up of the ice trading on ice it noted our eyes and victims who sometimes maybe don't mind being the victim because the vampire and in later films even as women vampires but the vampire become so sexualized and attractive and sexy frankly in the twentieth century until now all of that begins really most of that I should say not all but most of that begins with Lugosi's on screen depiction in nineteen thirty one and in various respects he keeps crying role throughout the rest of his life to the extent that he was literally buried in his Dracula okay so much for the two intertwined and mild saying and I I you know I don't want to self plagiarize but I think if you announce that you can say it because I've written more than once then life will go see play Dracula after his death Dracula has played Lugosi by that I mean that that again what we think of as Dracula is as much or more like go see as it is Bram Stoker that's how it was and I you know I saw those spooky movies on television as a little child and they will be in the same way I guess go story so often three little children I grew up when they were still showing black and white films on TV so I started singing in the late seventies even though he was by then long since deceased fascinated and have gone on as you kindly point out to write about it and and that's been a great deal of fun and some of the projects that come out of that have been enjoyable I think that Dracula it's a nice example of quite an early sign Diarra film designed area was quite firmly establish I think by that point and I think they were doing some very exciting things with audio at that time I think it's something that you covered I remember in teaching was the influence of a lot of emigre directors because a lot of the directors were talking about you were making the sums were British or they were German or Austrian or that sort of thing so %HESITATION you know there's that influx of that expressionist training coming over here's one of his last teaching I taught am I showed it for signs yes you know so I thought it was a nice example of a film from that %HESITATION already signed area that is actually really challenging said technology at the time yes you know I was wondering if you if that was something that he thought of I know you don't ma'am may be necessary to USA a static so much no I love it and the stakes are so much wonderful part of the horror film and a film history and even the history of a statics becomes I think so fascinating as you're rightly pointing out and I love it and I do try to write about it and I and I love the pier you're talking about because you know there's moments in film and I think we some of us have lived through it with the rise of C. GI the rise of digital projection the rise of motion capture where new technologies because a major change to cinema and this happens I think in some ways very much constantly you know the film theorist Andre Bazin used to say that film is constantly evolving which meant in his mind and I'm paraphrasing that still has yet to be invented exactly because it's always turning as he said rightly into something else you always turning into something else I think what you're pointing out that so crucial is there are particular moments of major technological upheaval because much more maybe profound change than at other moments and the introduction of sound was very clearly one of them but on that point you're pointing out of early sound is so profound because and I write about it in my next forthcoming journal article is for the journal popular film music and it's about the seconds all talking film in America which was called the terror it was released in the second half of nineteen twenty eight a lot of people would have you been seen it in the Halloween season of nineteen twenty eight and it was based on a story by Edgar Wallace and it was one of these kind of we would call them old dark house stories that were popular at the time where a lot of people gather either in an old house original tale in the middle of the night people getting start getting killed and even if the killer turns out to be just somebody wearing a mask there's a feeling that maybe there's the supernatural is a play and so forth it was the first of what we I suppose in retrospect would call a horror movie Insel neck it's playing with sound no it doesn't do it nearly as well as and because your use of and is the very best example and obviously by one of the master renters and one of the master directors who became emigrate as you rightly point out to Hollywood has never some of the others like Karl Freund who work with laying the great cinematographer who came from Germany to America ended up shooting Dracula in nineteen thirty one unit of directing one of the early universal horrors that follow Dracula which was the mummy in nineteen thirty two some people will probably think of it maybe the %HESITATION the Tom Cruise version or something in recent times you never know the remakes or the re inventions of these bottles so much of that was with the immigrate culture or stories coming from other countries and the terror was a British story but what most interestingly did it's a lost film but we have the sound discs because some of the first talkies they would have what was basically the equitable large record if you can imagine a large audio record music record and it would play in sync with the film being projected it was not a great system I mean if somebody bumps the needle the sound would be a synchronous and had a problem but for some early talkies even after lost films we cannot watch the films there's photographs from the terrible we can't watch it but the sound discs are there %HESITATION and I was able to access them and write about them for the first time and we start to get which you would probably expect in film sample we still get it and we'll get it in I suspect like the next conjuring film or what have you and ideas the sound of the human screened for the first time we get the sound of the screen but we also get the sound of the storm the sound of heavy winds through the trees and some of the sounds that we associate it certainly before film sound people associated with things that were frightening you know a lightning bolt or whatever that might frighten a child were you know a pet dog or whatever and they start to show up in the terror the very first time and it becomes very quickly adopted as a static in subsequent mystery horror films in nineteen twenty nine and thirty to the extent that by nineteen thirty there was a comedy a short that you can find on you tube called the laurel party murder case with laurel and hardy and third old house the middle the nights we can happen it's all take off on the second story you know to an extent knives out in more recent times has done some of this so again you know this never goes away keeps being reinvented but in the long run hardy version they so overdue the sound effects as to parity it's a fascinating example in nineteen thirty only a couple of years after you know a few years after sounds felt they were already prepared like we're laying on extra thick for the joke and then taught Browning immediately after makes Dracula in sound what you were asking about and he forgoes heavy thunder and lightning he for ghosts spooky music in favor of much more subtle sound effects like complete quiet except the creaking of the coffin lid opening in and trying to be much more restrained and it's so interesting because it is such an early point in film sound relatively speaking I mean you know three four years he's pulling back rather than laying it on thick and so it's interesting how these things you know can sometimes evolve quickly and how much is that expire role in the horror film including sound whether it's the spooky music or the spooky sound effects or the silence dates for the silence and that's what some of us love the most or or sometimes in horror films it's another reason to think so wonderfully about silent films it's a reason to think about parts of Dracula the talk Browning which are no music no dialogue I think one of the interesting things and we we have guests have the old phrase deals slang phrase you know that silence speaks volumes or phrases like that it it you know in America grew up hearing phrases like that may be used to get me to shut up but you know it was you know there is that I think that's one of the great things it's it's like you know when you can have a special effect when you can have moving camera sometimes the makers forget that they can let it stay still when you can collect extremely rapidly filmmaker sometimes forget that they can have slow paced and when you can do anything with still sound incredible possibilities now we can forget sadly what you've just rightly mentioned which is silence can be so very powerful even when the first impulse is to have twelve tracks or more audio going at once but just because you can use technology in a certain way doesn't mean we always you don't have to and so that's a wonderful point and certainly I think very salient for horror films you know you mentioned earlier it might be nice to see see what your connection with Irish and amazed because it may not seem immediately obvious horror and already sent a man and Irish cinema isn't enough we could get inside because I think there are there are a lot of connections there I suppose a nice segue would probably be interview with a vampire Neil Jordan if we need a Segway yes yes the way to connect a couple of these things when we first met you were teaching our cinema and dot really sparks at massive interested me because I'd had an interest in Irish literature when I was at school and then was really came to carry that on I'm excited in English and film degree so I was saying I researcher Hans Irish film and that sort of thing so is wondering what you know what you're interested in our nation well I I really appreciate that questioning and you remind me so happily of my arrival in Ireland but also so I try to be unflappable that's impossible and one of the spookiest moments and not a horror films okay but I guess it's a nervous moments was when I walked in to teach that course because I felt a little out of place not only is it immigrate myself and living in another country for the first time but I felt I felt a little %HESITATION I would never want to be seen presumptuous in teaching a course on Irish cinema in Ireland I had taught Irish semi actually America previous a couple of times what I ate that was a bit nervous actually going in to teach all of you because I thought gosh I feel ill at ease real ill informed maybe you know to take all that long since as an American and in Belfast what I suppose my interest would be two fold in and one I think it started with horror and they're certainly these tremendous connections between horror and Ireland Irish literature Irish folklore from obviously the pain she threw a film I saw and I I don't think a lot of Irish film scholars I don't know that any of never really talked about it much but when I was ten twelve years old I I was in love with horror movies I was also in love with Francis Ford Coppola who directed the godfather films in Apocalypse Now and early in his career he had made a film called dementia thirteen right early nineteen sixties and it was a gothic horror story set in Ireland it was actually shot in Ireland and you know it's readily available on YouTube it's rather well known film in terms of coklat studies because it was basically a second film but I think Irish film studies it's completely unknown connections go deeper I mean stoker was Anglo Irish they're such a great tradition of Irish gothic novels and as I grew my interest in horror I grew in my interest at heart literature as well as horror films so there's all these fantastic connections and Irish horror stories on film but the other thing to happen to me when I was a teenager was by about the age of thirteen and of course you know I grew up in the state of Oklahoma I grew up in a town that I will in American terms certainly most terms would probably consider small town twenty five thousand people I grew up in I guess I'm trying to think of the the best way to say it but it probably a and as a native American everything you know kind of a masculine type culture in terms or that parameters and so John Huston's films spoke to me greatly as a teenager his films like the Maltese falcon an African queen and these films with Humphrey Bogart who was one of the great cinema tough guys and you know his later films like the man who would be king was Sean Connery and Michael Caine and you know you can kind of see probably quickly understand maybe or or see that you know kind of okay a lot of his films in his life %HESITATION I became fast about Houston's life he was quite an explorer and hunter and you know very masculine and all that very much human waves kind of hit me way of twentieth century American cinema and he was deeply interested in Irish literature and by the time I was in high school he was making his film the debt based on choice and there was a credible documentary film made about it Houston and show the behind the scenes footage showed in talking at length this is before the kind of making of featurettes we know today by by a large number some examples but they weren't it was before DVD years before that cottage industry so to speak so I S. I became entranced by the time I was sixteen and seventeen I became entranced with James Joyce and the dead when Houston said in his mind it was probably the greatest short story ever written in the English language that spoke volumes to me the film version he made which I found to be quite faithful I'm talking at length for question and now maybe exploring what might interest came from these different angles from horror as well as Joyce and then about that same time Beckett because I was also one of my other favorites as a teenager was a Buster Keaton and Samuel Beckett had made keeping film later in king's life of course and and it kind of all on guard film and I was I was also getting in transfer you know it's easy to romanticize thing when you're a teenager and I you know the passion for it all and I was and I was getting interested in basket because of his work with Keaton and I was particularly intrigued because Kevin brown will have made this incredible documentary about cheating and he had forty two Keaton's saying you know you didn't even understand the film you know which I think yes he's one of the yeah exactly the genius filmmakers in my mind he said he didn't quite understand it but he liked packet and everything so I was coming in Ireland for all these different directions to conclude I would say that in the night you know in the nineteen nineties America really what Americans always had this love affair with Ireland is regrettable exceptions during some immigration periods baby in the nineteenth century and so forth but there's a lot of love affairs in in the later twentieth century certainly from you know everybody you know celebrating St Patrick's day to the nineties when the commitments particularly the film version you too there was a particular love affair with a different times before in the sixties I think with JFK for a lot of people but in the nineties it was like it was Neil Jordan and Jim Scherr instills were exploding onto the scene my left footed one you know at the academy award and Chris I was graduating from high school and about to start university right at that moment then there's you too and I particularly fell in love like I heard it on the radio and I was driving I mean I remember the moment so clearly I was driving down I. forty in Oklahoma City are your state that runs around a lot of America and I'm burning down the highway in an old car the only one I could afford at the time I'm burning on the highway and this voice comes on the radio this band what I didn't know the name and I had to ask a friend later that day who is singing this and it was the cranberry so you're gonna set but you know I heard including that kind of Irish weighed in at the end of the song which went from the Irish but meeting pop music even more Irish sound at the end of it just seem to speak to me in ways and again as a more romantic young person a romantic maybe more the German sense of that term my great grandfather was from Ireland cord so on Cherokee and mainly that but I'm you know I have a McCord whose family was actually from the north of Ireland even America from Cork and I've met him once is a little tiny child very memories on more work well on all of that and so I had that connection to Ireland as well so forgive this long biography ladies that I fell in love with this and then I fell in love with an Irish woman who was in America and all roads lead you know what I had to leave but I had to leave and it was this tremendous love affair I cannot tell you how achingly I miss Carrickfergus my favorite places how much I've missed the Belfast city centre the people there there's so many Dunluce there were so many places I like to go and go repeatedly I just unending love affair if it helps any I'm just thinking back said you saying you felt a bit of %HESITATION this American coming in and telling the sorry students about our cinema I don't think one of us ever saw thought not not one of us ever so thought we we were all really excited to he's American he's because so many of us hadn't met an actual American person so many of us just hadn't traveled very much and a lot of us had never even met people from the other side of Belfast because we were that generation that was emerging from the call list yes you know and this is so this is two thousand five and stuff so things were really only just opening up properly at is it took a few years after the agreement relay and a lot of assets I mean may I was the first time ever had friends from west Belfast for example I never never really met anybody from not far away before and then suddenly there's this bona fide Americans whose proper proper American you know and it was so exciting for us to relate maybe sorry maybe improper puts your to your to clients but it was it was such a joy because everyone was so welcoming I mean that was one of the great things about about living hearing role was the generosity and the charity and the welcoming nature of of the entirety of the island you know it was just like a beautiful thing so so it's so nice to hear that and it didn't seem like such a fascinating moment at that point one of my biggest memories of Belfast at that moment was the sheer number of cranes %HESITATION yes construction rains around the city it seems like a truly under construction obviously and reconstruction with the cranes but it felt to an outsider and admittedly neophytes our eyes to Belfast it seems almost as metaphorical as it did physical construction cranes and this coming together of peoples and and I suppose some of my great memories stand would have been with the film students and how film students working together on projects from those two different communities and film production or film studies in you know bringing them together it was really a remarkable moment in Belfast you know it really was it's so nice to remember all that actually it's so good to hear your side of it I mean we all just felt like kids you know so we didn't know what where you come from or anything and but that was back at that time when I think students and certainly undergraduate ins had reverence for he ever researching them it didn't matter who they were what age they were or whatever the person at the front of the class was the authority and that was it I mean if we didn't even think to question anything like that where is I think it's become very different certainly my experience was very different when I was teaching it's so good to hear it from your experiences while because I think we even though we were from there we were it was all new to us as well so that's pretty interesting to think about it that way yeah well it's it was it was a wonderful period and one of the my favorite periods you know as we look back and there's sometimes a few years that we're so happy here and sometimes maybe a year to that's not and so forth I was one of the happiest periods in my life and a lot of it was queens and was filmed queens and was all of you there and and of course you know the tremendous colleagues who were there at that time like because overall and and Raymond in the network you know some people who are no longer even at queens that moved on or retired but it was quite a %HESITATION wonderful meeting of everyone I think Cynthia I have very special memories Terry said Kerry is there anything we haven't covered that you would like to touch on just so thankful for having me %HESITATION that allowing me the chance to chat and chat probably chat too much but I I love talking about obviously all these issues and %HESITATION so it's it's great to have the opportunity to do so I have so enjoyed it it's been great because I mean we've known each other for a long time but I think this is the first time I've heard a lot of all of thought so that's been really a treat for me and it's been so good to catch up it's been a while and yeah it's good to reminisces while back home with somebody who loves to fight yes indeed it well even hear your accent now and back to hearing American accents every day and some of them are quite nice but I miss the accents of people essentially ready but but it was such a beautiful thing really the Irish accents from throughout the island needles are are are so beautiful and almost melodic to here and I miss that so much I sometimes I had to you know with some of the Belfast people talking so quickly I had to listen very carefully well I got I got better at it over time so it's great to hear even the accent I missed so much well it's great to hear you eating yeah come thank you enough for your time saying this it's been really really fun and I hope pretty informative for lots of people as well it certainly has been for me to sign K. ands take care and all the best with everything you're working on thanks so very much all the best to you and all of the listeners including as we trudge out hopefully soon the last of the hand

Audiovisual Cultures episode 85 – Performance and Diaspora with Shea Donovan automated transcript

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this is audio visual cultures the podcast that explores different areas of the arts and culture of production with me Paula Blair visit Petri on dot com forward slash AP cultures to find out more and to join the policy I am really pleased to welcome shade Donovan he parks transatlantic trade as an interdisciplinary performing artist educator and artistic director of the indigo arts collective the very warm welcome TJ hi are you today hi Paula thank you so much for having me and I'm doing well I had a day of creating and some collaborating already so off to a good start since I'm sick hopefully we'll get into quite a lot of fear practice when it comes to collaboration and all areas of Europe because she have a lot of strings to your bow so there's a lot for us to catch three today could I ask you to give us a better sense of life line of your practices and a bit of an idea of all the different areas your work touches on absolutely so like a lot of practitioners I think I started off as a performer growing up I was dancing professionally in a really young age and then ever to is that right got into singing and acting and studied at university who went to LA into the actor thing for a while and worked as a cracker for there and time that I came to England to do my MFA in acting and east fifteen acting school and as I was leaving I was like okay well I have all of this training to be an actor now but what I need is the work but obviously I already lived my early and mid twenties in LA doing the whole addition saying that ran that momentum and the energy is great but also entering my you know late twenties and and sort of leaving that young performer space I was really really excited to start developing my own practice and so that's what I did when I left drama school I was like okay great when I start my own company invented my own work and see where that goes and fortunately for me it's been going well and I really been enjoying that journey and but so you know speaking of my background Hey do you have a lot of interdisciplinary spirit in the work that ideal it's a lot of the body work a lot of work having to do with dance and movement and sort of the blending of dance with film as well and projections okay the work is sometimes text to stage right I've written and staged plays more often the not it's collaborative I work with groups of people I ran workshops with them do generate material right so we devised in group settings or it's very %HESITATION installation based so the last physical project I did I was in a real place right now but %HESITATION I guess it was during coal bed but we did it safely was installation performance art gallery so I have a lot of curiosity is I think the heart of my practice is very much an inquiry we'll find something that I have a burning question about and then usually that has to do with issues of female identifying characters right social justice looking at communities that tends to be the teams that I got really passionate about that song generating free on one of those teams and then see where it goes and so it could be a play could be a dance piece it could be a fellow can be an installation lights while that's a lot said get started with I was going to ask you about the sorts of things and she sat here south flat work got into the server was very interested to hear more updates as you say the women identifying female identifying areas and what kinds of concerns that we re is we've got some really brilliant videos on your website there's a really fantastic demonstration of the really white breasts of work that you see but you seem to get ready take bend to specific issues as well so you've got quite a range but I could tell from your website that there may be particular things and it might be something really currents like the murder of fly Remicade here somebody like facts or reading huge as she sent a fax to selected by rights and equality and things which I like to maybe talk to Siri some specific examples maybe if you have something that you feel like work to reading reading pile just to help flash site first yeah so to speak to the example that you just mentioned I did complete a piece I guess in December of last year so we have an audience then it was sort of an auto ethnographic exploration of identity right which was prompted by an assignments that I was given as the second masters actually last year in contemporary performance practices and so the prompt was to create you know an automatic before its exploration and I grew up third generation Irish in New York to a very transatlantic Irish American family right so we have a lot of family in Ireland that we went to visit a lot and that was very much part of my growing up and serving the differences I felt personally and culturally between them I didn't care because it's kind of like Irish American nine people with Irish she sounding names that maybe originally came from Ireland centuries ago and then like the contemporary sort of Irish diaspora in New York and where those intersect and blend and other similar color difference out there elements of that that I explore in that piece through the use of bringing in some Irish language and tying in sort of the contemporary discussions around what's going on in the north of Ireland and the sort of attachments I was looking I guess at three different facets of my own identity one of them was Irish cultural identity in the diaspora space and that was something particularly I was a growing up with that culture friend of mine in the states but then moving to England and experiencing it then in a different way product even more front of mind than usual and so I played with that by bringing in elements of Irish language in questions of what parts of identity we sort of hang on to you they have these maybe sort of romanticized folkloric elements and and what parts are useful in creating identity today but then also the difference between things being very far in the past and things being part I have sometimes with instructor asked for identity exploration there's this desire to either bring things that were quite far in the past and resolved really friend of mine and focus on them in a way that might not be productive but then also the flip side of that taking difficult obstacles that actually not only were recent history but had implications on current history and saying well that was a long time ago we're not going to discuss that so I play a lot with that in the peace and I create a soundscape for the work a lot of which is some spoken word poetry that I wrote for the peace and a lot of that speaks to that that sort of juxtaposition between what belongs in the past what is the pay asked how is it relevant how do we look at it and then incorporated that whole narrative with this American female commercialized beauty standard pressure and also I thought was something I wanted to explore and the fact that our now ex president fortunately I feel apologize upon him to political but at that time our president to add a lot to say about women and their bodies and how they should look and what's appropriate in terms of how to engage with women right very much outspokenly sharing funny you know asides assaults that he thought were you know fun little tidbits all that sort of nonsense made for a wealth of sound bites that I could pull from that I also incorporate in the soundscapes are juxtaposed some of the things that he had to say about women within my own self who is performing in the peace physical Ising this struggle I was surrounded by mirrors of all different sizes all over the space constantly putting on and taking off makeup putting on and taking off clothes yeah that's sort of one example right there was an element at the end of the work right invited people up from the audience and I gave them each I'm here to hold and I manipulated their bodies with my body to sort of ask the audience to come into this world that I've created and explore for themselves what it feels like to be on display and sort of at the whim of other people's implants so yeah that's one recent example and my sort of last project I was able to do with physical people and with touch and not participate or any element signs ready partial certainly I think with theater we have this invisible division okay here they're performing and I just sit here in the dark and I don't get involved you know in the audience and separate cuts he deliberately destruct that's I think that's what I find really fascinating about its experimental forms of performance art in areas of visual art where there's a deliberate destruction see that passivity and enforcing of a performance on the spectator I find that she shared interests and how did people respond to that when you got them to be active and monkeys you know I think we get vantage was that I had an audience of a lot of artists and theatre practitioners and people that were game for that sort of interaction obviously when you're doing it in a more public forum with a little bit more of an anonymous audience there may be some levels of percussion there you know heads up you want to give them things like that but I found some of the feedback I received was that it was actually a really powerful I'm sort of connecting experience because the piece did build for quite a while right with the audience just watching the interaction really didn't come into the end and there wasn't necessarily a suggestion that they would be invited to participate so it did sort of comes a little bit of a surprise but it tied in with the invitation that I was offering with the work for the audience to sort of think about these themes in their own life and how they might apply to their own personal identity but I'm bringing them up and giving them the mir you know some of them shared that it was really nice to be able to connect what they've been thinking about watching the peace to then what was physically happening with them in the space so yeah nice overall way to connect the teal I think if I were to do the peace again I'd be interested to see if there are moments I could explore earlier in the work to begin that invitation a little bit earlier hopefully you will get the opportunity do you think there's any way of saying that kind of thing online or as other creative challenges that's the sort of thing you're having to work Sir at the moment is hi can you say something participate hurry and an online space even just performing in an online space told must be really challenging at the moment yeah I mean I think it is and I think part of my philosophy a little bit here has been to kind of resist adapting existing work to the digital space which I see a lot of people do beautifully and I think there's a need for that and that's a great way to exercise practice that that's your you know what you're feeling called to do but I think for me what I've been enjoys creating work specifically within these restrictions like being very intentional about embrace those restrictions and those obstacles and maybe mine them for a different way of making work rather than trying to adapt my normal practice within the constraints of the digital space I've been enjoying creating collaborating in new ways just in fun well that's great to hear that's really positive so have you find it a really positive experience adapting your approach that way yeah I think what I found so early on in lock down in the spring you might remember there was all this conversation right about Howell Shakespeare wrote some of his best work in the plague and all this is to me Shakespeare became circulating around is this icon for how we should all be generating work in lockdown and my training as a classical actor and I loved me some Shakespeare and he started thinking what can we do that's not bad right it's not locking ourselves in in writing our greatest masterpiece but how can I use this exciting momentum of Shakespearean creation right now to create an interesting so obviously the man right a hundred fifty four sonnets we think I'm sure there are lots of scholars who would love to get into with me about that you know we accept you know generally that he whoever recalling Shakespeare created these a hundred fifty for work and I was like well that is a lot of people that I can get involved in something so I decided I was going to create this virtual gallery a hundred and fifty four performance pieces I sort of just reached out to my network so they ended up getting a hundred but for people from all over the world a handful of them I knew personally some of them I knew through sort of networks are friends of friends are we run set together once or something and then most of them just sort of expand out from that so I ended up assembling this beautiful international ensemble and to keep the peace sort of consistent I created a little workshop activity to sort of approach the task and I gave that to all the participants to sort of kick start that process and then give me a few specific restrictions but mostly it was up to them to take this workshop and to generate whatever came from itself some people did traditional delivery of the tax rate but most people really take into their own hands I had original music compositions coming in animations stop motion choreography group works happening in digital ways that were then recorded and sent in Sam it was really incredible and it was at a time when we were really starting to just settle in this is in March April really started to settle into like what we were doing in the world that people were losing contracts and it was all still very fresh and confusing I think for me personally and for a lot of the participants in the feedback I received was that it was really grounding that we were all all a hundred and fifty four of us plus some right to send a few people did group works we were all kind of in this together and I continue to collaborate with some of those participants in different ways on other projects since then but that to me was really miraculous and emphasize the power of the flexing our technology anyway so you know it was a late night sleepless idea that fortunately snowballed into something that has now sort of I think really reshaped my practice in a really positive way since obscenity wonderful let's install second great that it's hot the lag say generate closer collaborations for years while little wonderful thing to have it isn't put together so workplace can people find that it's not something that we can stumble upon on the internet somewhere yeah absolutely so it's linked to my website but it's also on the email itself is a showcase on video now and it'll be there until March of twenty twenty one so it'll it'll be there and showcase form for the full year and then after that all the individual videos will remain available there dot com slash showcase slash summer response series this is what we're talking about collaboration which I'd like to talk is a bit three the end to go arts collective is that an extension of four easy to projects that you've been doing and they attach to box or is that something that you a separate Titus and to go to work yeah so essentially I am it's just sort of the umbrella under which I create my work at this point right and then I sort of set up like a production company when I launched my first show which was a one woman show when I left drama school because I wanted someplace to then put the proceeds which at the time I was like hopefully I get some proceeds right once I was sitting up and shown to be able to take whatever I mean put it somewhere that was set aside just for work and continue to produce out of that so it started off as just me but the assets of all from project to project depending on what my needs are all take on other artists students support the project and then they with me become part of the collective rights on the side of response series I had to really great women helping me out with marketing and was sort of rounding up and communicating with some of the participants and things like that and then they came under the umbrella of the collective while they're working together and then now if I need support like that for a future project they'll be some of the first people go to and say Hey do you wanna come back on board and help me with that but it really is just me ultimately having a space where I can create under sort of a United front and just to sort of continue to build my practice with this body of work and tastic I mean how do you go about finding collaborators and you mentioned earlier that sometimes people are already in your network or is it you've worked with them before and so much I think I have your they can for some some specific can mean hi T. cast that net heights to find people it's interesting right because typically but back when I was making work mostly choreography and small projects like that in Los Angeles I would just put out on casting websites right like I would post on backstage or you know sort of the U. K. equivalent of Mandiant spotlight right things like that but for the last year really during this whole block I'm curious I found so much response on social media I haven't needed to use any casting sites %HESITATION which really I think speaks to the power of that as a tool right it has its downfalls as well right into consumes a lot of our time and can be sometimes distracted but I think also super helpful so you know attach that I'm looking for artists in the post and other people that I've worked with other companies I work with a loss and then share that and I end up getting all of these great submissions and I really don't have to do much more than that I think also to the advantage of having gone to a drama school at U. fifteen with a lot of alumni that are working and really active that's been great about snow all ten of the fifteen people from different years and different cohorts in different you know areas of study that I never would have known otherwise so that's been wonderful I even connected with a few people accidentally who ended up going to the same undergrad university is me two lane university in New Orleans and we found that out in common as we were already working together on a project so it is I think it's a small world but having the advantage of having a New York network and L. A. network and then when you're in London I do get quite a lot of friends of friends of people of people of you know that extended performer world really is quite large I was gonna ask you bite your transatlantic connections and how you work because obviously it's the before times so we're thinking of that must have been a bank and packs in the in a massive change for you because it's normally you're working between the UK and the United States sayings recently have had a bit of a hotel not a mountain are you managing to keep some saying virtual going there yeah it's interesting because I've been in the U. K. over three years now but I realize this last year I go back and forth a lot right so I've never actually banned it just here in London you know whole full year I'm usually back in the states between three and six months out of the year depending on what what I'm working on so yeah it's been strange it's definitely the longest I've gone without travel a long time summer of twenty nineteen night toward a show to New York LA and London and I was supposed to be taking it to Edinburgh this project now bumps at December twenty twenty two it also had to reschedule things like my wedding and they're important life events but yeah it's been challenging but I think what's great is that although obviously there's times I was to negotiate I still have been able to do some collaborative work particularly with some artists in Los Angeles I recently completed a project called choreography can find it she collected six dance artists %HESITATION after movers from sort of all over but mostly I had a handful of them in Europe and then two of them in Los Angeles and we did these virtual movement workshops over the course of the week that we did together on zoom and that were all about mining the space for choreography which sounds maybe a little bit abstract right there was one day where we looked at lines and textures rates like the texture of your carpet or your couch like how do you transition that into movement right if you had to make a piece of furniture in your space your dance partner how can we create partnered movement with that objects that it feels participatory and then what if we take that movement okay be there in a place something totally different so you know he's really fun to play and they generated really beautiful work but I am yes some of those artists are based in California so we're you know he does mean sometimes weird hours for people doing the best to keep that up because I think it's important for me personally to just logistically to stay connected to my my U. S. collaborators as well it sounds like a healthy way of working as well if you can build and play time as you say with your work so you're working but it's fun and it's playtime and is probably very different from the typical working from home experience do you think that something that people Hey maybe Hausa inverted commas normal job he can only get office job rich Intel laptop all the time do you think that something that you know eating curries incorporating into your day is an exercise like that I mean it's not because I know you have an educational I'm spent so what he did as well I mean is that something you grades maybe China courage people today is think about those things I mean you turning your domestic space and she announced JD %HESITATION and just totally re framing Heidi thank and maze in space yeah I mean I think absolutely there's something to be said about getting to know your space in a new way and finding the possibility and the fun in that I mean even if it's something as simple as rearranging where you put your desk time to time like when the seasons change can you move your desk so you're maximizing your natural light breaking you change your view are you seeing different things at a different window slightly just minutes just to diversify your confined experience right one of the activities we did in our workshop process was to find a place in your space that you've never really looked very closely at such a really zoom in on it for me the example I gave was like that small space between the arm of your sofa and the wall right that like little gap like what's what's going on in there like what is it what does it look like what angle do there what's the light like what doesn't make me think of right and it is a little bit abstract right but it was really interesting and what sort of movement and creative impulse could come out of that really simple almost stupid thing of just really intimately engaging with corners of your apartment was really off the funds I think there is definitely a space to think about you know if you're someone that's open your laptop what can you do to get to know your home environment in a way that feels fresh that's great stuff it's really interesting way of thinking about things and it makes it fun because things are just so happy at the moment and then I think we need reminders set we should try and play and have more fun at times today to try and left things a little bit I was wondering as well if you're not working because you've done some voice over acting before in the past I was wondering it's not something that's quite viable for you at the moment is that something you've been doing lately hi just out park free yeah absolutely you know it's funny you should I just finished recording a radio play okay recently actually become a resident artist you know radio play company and was started by he's fifteen alumni and lovely talented man name Shaun Dale he's great the company is called borderless theater company in this particular project of theirs it's called radio plays and they're taking new work that hasn't been produced wrestling then produced a small scale and then they have this company of voice artists and they're recording this place they have a director that guides the work and then we release them sort of in podcast format so I have been doing that and then actually just schedule those just cast in another project and there is a great start recording soon so yeah it's definitely a really great way to be able to do some work right now for sure that's great to hear how did you get in safely Saxon and providing voice overs causing you some some documentary type park as well hi did you fall in salon the first place really just from I mean obviously it's always when it's on your mind right is something you can do as an actor right have that scale but when I was eight fifteen we had a unit specifically on voice acting and we had this wonderful professor command to just work with us on that in small groups and really got a lot of sort of personal coaching we got to go in you know a professional studio set up and really tested out play around and I found it really exciting and it hadn't occurred to me prior to that that I would get that scene buzz from it as I did performing onstage I always sort of relegated to this like we could do that if I may but I don't know if it's for me right beginning to flex in a real way with some of those give me life feedback I was like actually this is really fun and exciting so from U. sixteen that I just started sending out some demos here and there and trying to build up a little bit of work it's certainly something that I'm still you know I'm feeling fresh in and I'm wanting to continue to develop it's fun to you because you got to be I mean I say most of the work that I've done has just been my traditional voice started with a slight accent every once in awhile here and there but I find them people that do animation and you can put all these ridiculously other to you sounds and there's this anonymity that you don't have what you're the body onstage sort of freeing and in a fun way to because it's no longer about what you're looking like or who you are even in this way is when you're on stage performing you have a little different kind of freedom that I think it's fun to play and for sure I'm a great lover of animation and voice actors and stuff yeah I just really admire and I'd just imagine it must be so much fun because you're not self conscious by what you like I can be as silly as you need to fade together performance I you know so it's really ready because they're based on experiences making network we touched on this earlier but you mentioned that he writes as well so I mean you're doing a huge amount of stuff is there any part of your writing that you you want to go three of and a bit more detail and she said your poetry and perform spoken wires and spark an arms race what was it that drove you to write your own place and not just asked in somebody else's did you have a burning desire to have stories to tell that sort of thing Jack great question when I was a teenager and stuff I was really really into poetry and I did you know local and state poetry competitions and it was like something I was really had a lot of momentum with and then the acting in the dance took over and I stopped really writing for anyone other than myself up until very recently so it's something in the last three or four years that I've kind of just brought back into part of my creative identity but I really been enjoying doing that and it really started with writing that one person show when I was leaving drama school because I was like okay well I need work I'm graduating I was based here in the U. K. right with an American accent and I was going to be back in the states are part of the summer and I wasn't in a position to be auditioning for summer stock or anything that was going to need to be in the same place for a while because I had quite a few months ahead of me of bouncing around and part of our dissertation is fifteen was to write a short ten minute solo piece so I had the base of the work already and you know it existed and I really enjoyed what I came up with that I I wanted to give it more life and I think transcribing story to tell right part of what I think is important as an artist is to tell stories of people who maybe weren't able to tell their own stories at the time or similar me to guide current people and communities into a safe way of telling their own stories that might otherwise be difficult to tell so looking at this sort of other side's perspective and bringing that to light I think it's very important and the piece that I wrote was about a woman %HESITATION in the nineteen twenties who had been sort of wrongfully put into an asylum for having a child out of wedlock and and that sort of narrative is really a tale as old as time and initially I had developed a piece based on sort of the ongoing news about the mother and baby homes in Ireland specifically starting with two of them right back in the mid two thousands and for people that aren't aware I encourage you to maybe pop that into Google and you'll just be overwhelmed with the amount of incredible resources and news articles and things that you can find about this ongoing developing story of this system of institutions that went on for me up until the nineteen seventies in Ireland and it's a whole fascinating thing yeah I did my and my second master's dissertation sort of all about that but anyway that was the impetus in my brain the play ended up shifting and it took place in the U. K. it was based on a collection of different women who were real %HESITATION but I sort of research quite a few women stories and then pick the pieces for all of them to create this one fictional woman who appears in the play but it was because I wanted to explore this idea of institutionalized women women and shame right and this challenging Gino somewhat gender specific relationship between women and their bodies and what their bodies do and how that impacts their worth they are right so that writing to me very much came naturally out of this desire to tell the stories of these real women who at the time many of whom right ended up only getting out of these institutions as elderly women when they were finally being closed down only for people to discover that there wasn't anything wrong with them that would have merited the meeting some sort of special care that was that work and I think all of my writing comes from a place of really needing to get out someone else's story or a collection of people's stories I think that Santorini enough anyway if coming back full circle in a way because thanks so much of that is so important to see and hear and tracks and Irish diaspora X. stories as well you I'm from Northern Ireland and there's been so much theatrical work in the past twenty years since the agreement and so on and they said there's official pace where there's not really much fun things thrown at arts and culture but it's in those little spaces where those stories of trauma and collective trauma but from so many different angles are beginning to come straight a lot of that and that similar ways to what you're describing is some new projects that bring people from all different backgrounds together and I community theater projects and and their stories and then I suppose in a way it's out of west across I could see you were saying earlier it's based on their tree stories but their identities are anonymized but it's a really specific experience you know so it's really wonderful that you're engaging in that kind of work as well and these are stories that they probably J. have affective connections with similar things in all parts of the world but that you keep coming back to see these Irish questions and specifically the Irish woman's experience so I'm just thinking it's really lovely that you bring the sayings to lights and see an audience that's been hidden away from society for such a long time thank you and I think to particularly right in the Irish diaspora community in the United States there is this sort of selective curating of cultural understanding right and so a lot of it has to do with old ideas of nationalism and like a condo it it sort of stuck in time a little bit I think for some people what they cling to as sort of a desperate national identity I think what's missing in that conversation in a lot of space is certainly not an academic spaces but I'm kind of a pedestrian you know Irish American space is a connection to contemporary understanding I was Irish and non Irish national identity and also on the flip side of that taking a look at some of the historical parts that are more difficult to explore right like this collaboration of church and state organizations to not only institutionalized women but also to be reluctant to cooperate up until very recently %HESITATION in terms of opening up conversations about that and looking closely in sharing information with us right and then also the fact that there is this need to sort of been look internally as well and why that was able to go on when it did and how to some extent it was even a secret to some people in society at the time right depending on the sort of life you're living and the degree of privilege that you had that might not be something that ever came into your purview but for someone who lives down the road from you that could have shaped their entire life in a really catastrophic way and like you say those teams right a shame and secrecy and cultural sort of looking the other way on things that need advocacy are universal across the globe and when I presented my dissertation work which is called to the point of disappearance that focused specifically on to %HESITATION and sort of historical realities and then the contemporary implications and this is of course before the recent report which just came out and has been released I'm trying to make my way through all what is IT nine thousand pages of it when recreational reading but the piece was presented in September so is prior to the release of that information looking at affirmative it be objects not space to translate a feeling around that so that people that weren't necessarily informed on the specifics of the history could still walk into a space where they get a sense of all of those elements right the shame and the secrecy and that search for justice and I there were giant laundry sheets hanging from the ceiling at one point that we projected a film on to you and then we had seven hundred and ninety six individual baby socks number in a big pile in front of the queue and then myself as a performer in that piece durational mom and I'm just sitting there and sewing them together I didn't get through all seven hundred ninety six but had it been you know re presented I would continue to build from there and there is an element with that shadow puppet theatre where myself and in a non coated world we had to adapt to this but the audience was supposed to be invited to participate in cutting out B. is dolls and hanging them up in this larger than life sort of theater and ended up just being me because he couldn't physically involved them so is this sort of Trinity of object based sensory experiences right there also accompanied by the soundscape to sort of give all of these feelings without there needing to be a direct understanding because there has been a lot of narrative work done around these topics in the last five ten years or so lots of plays and site specific work and things that I think sometimes if people don't know enough about the topic can make people go oh well I don't know anything about that that's not for me but I had a few participants come through that really had absolutely zero prior knowledge she did walk away feeling how I was hoping it would feel so that was a nice way to exercise bringing those topics that are really important to me personally into a space where they can have the value and then personal value for anyone absent yet I imagine that's the physical presence of said sells socks and the sheets that's a massive number hi many people can imagine that many individual items and of course we're talking it bites bodies that those numbers are related to a little tiny probably some things and see find a way of visualizing physical icing that for people and confronting them I said say this is what that looks like that's incredibly powerful and amazing and deeply deeply sad so I imagine it was not necessarily an easy experience but I would say a very important one forest does abstract numbers are hi many finance stocks just lots and I think it's easier to put in a box and forget about it but if you can see it and you can what you know in an ideal world war Oxford walk among staff and top and the experience must be incredibly powerful that's exactly right and I and I was inspired by there's a lot of people protest art that was happening particularly when the pope came and visited I'm forgetting the name out of the group but there is an organization of women that had cut out little strings of paper people holding hands sort of thing they cut out the seven hundred ninety six of those and put them up on the gates and their images of baby shoes that people are bringing the candlelight vigils and seeing them on the ground response to that in objects I thought like you said the step our call and I was like what would happen if we actually I could settle the space with the correct number of these objects so that it is something that you're forced to confront in a real way I'm personally as well it was really challenging said I mean it was at a dark projects develop and certainly you know I was very hands on and I was collecting these objects and touching them and using them and it was certainly I think in some ways I mean for me personally I felt like some way of honoring some of those answers some of that energy in a way that was positive right like even though they're not people that first of all I got to live out their lines but also obviously people that I had direct connections with Mabel to sort of honor their existence by calling attention to it in some way I think it's important you know as well when you're creating to connect to the purpose of what you're doing especially when it is difficult material so you can power yourself through rather than really get too bogged down in in the realities of what you're looking at because it can be challenging when it such difficult material yeah it must be pretty tricky to find a balance between doing justice to the subject matter and keeping yourself mentally while while you're doing something like that and also %HESITATION approaching it and an ethical way ends hi Fardy patient and he's going to react and what way and not sort of saying it's a lot to juggle do you find that you have ways of work injury G. check in with people that sort of thing I mean in terms of them representation and it being ethical and that sort of thing that was a big concern for me going in right because I'm away here that it's not my story right like I didn't have a relative in that space like there are many and this is I think some people don't realize that there are very many living people right whose brothers or sisters those babies apart right whose mothers were in those time they're very much alive in an active many of them and speaking to politicians and organizing and telling their stories right now those resources are accessible so I did spend a lot of time going through people's accounts listening to advocates speaking to politicians hearing sort of what their priorities were and and some of them are different depending on the group right but trying to make sure that what I was doing wasn't advocacy for a cause that wasn't mine to advocate for but more in support of these Sir yeah more in the interest of just bringing awareness to something that current advocates were affected by it are wanting people to bring attention to and I think the challenging thing with this particular topic as well comes a little bit with the role of religion and and so that's really a key factor in the story and something that I certainly represent in the work as somebody that was brought up Catholic I feel I have at least a little bit more space to play in the representation of that because it's coming from my own right in terms of background but taking care to not alienate any audiences with the message that I'm communicating but also true and you know representing my feelings and understanding of how all those different socio political or religious elements sort of shaped that's right but in terms of keeping tabs on myself personally with the work you know it's five chat about it with my mother and my grandmother is that something that you know I have an interest in these things because of their interest as well right when the story of this broke when it did that to thousands that wasn't the first time that I heard about the sort of I was brought up with a little bit of a knowledge around the subject already said we chat about it and my grandmother who's ninety one an absolutely delightful state things you know like well you just are constantly having all of these really cheerful research projects what are you going to do next or how was your day or how can you know so just somebody that knows where you're working you can take you out of that space if that's all you're talking about because there certainly were parts of that process or my mother and my grandmother both would be like this is all you've been mentioned in the last few times I've been on the phone maybe let's take some time to discuss some of what you're doing to bring levity to this you know the stage because it was part of my dissertation as well so not only was a creating a work rehearsing it I was writing about it I was compiling a year's worth of research about it so certainly I think it is important to have someone that knows you know to voice that when that's your process whether it's your partner or your friends your family say Hey this is the amount of time devoting to this kind of work and I'm calling out now that I know I'm gonna need some monitoring here you could call me on it when it's consuming me when you notice that or if you could check in if I send you a message you know being an advocate for yourself in that way and reaching out to your network I think is key yeah that's a really important points yeah definitely because it's a lot to carry other people's trauma you know you can fail at and a post memory sense perhaps as well associations reconnection string a lineage back to the homeland but yeah I think it's a lot because I know certain MIT subbase it was not dissimilar areas that was traumatic relating to the complex and so on so it's a lot to carry so those other people's stories when their horror stories essentially and they're very very meals are all too real and you know you are dating west facing up to I mean you can't not be political affect something exact sincerely house said be prepared to confront their religion and anybody subscribe so that religion is like these people they said they said yeah they talk the lightest upright pro life celerity set with stock it is the work of art T. ask those confronting questions of people just invite them to maybe you should have to think I thought I'm just going to present this and you take it as you find it so yeah that's a really healthy approaches ten I probably should have taken more of what kind of approach myself the number of years ago but it's hard it is because it is like you and it's so important it's real people it's recent history set and it matters right and I think the key here in offering the stories as questions particularly I think particularly when it comes to religion right where that what's supposedly the heart of those institutions it's hard to write the idea is that you're supposed to be aiming for higher ideals than the average person right so even more so I think it's important to pose questions in that direction and for people that really are doing their best to live their lives in that way right I've seen some positive responses to that sort of challenge I think it is important time in Ireland also in the United States and I think globally to really have these conversations now so that we can unpack some of these really difficult incongruence he's right and be able to then voice and say yes this was inconsistent with what we say we want and yes that should not have happened and yes we're going to name all the ways the stakes remain and then be able to put that to rest and then move forward thank you so much and so powerful now I think more than ever and a lot of ways a lot of these issues are ready Prashant even in the United States Lindy because there's been so many hard fought rights have been rolled back over the last number of years they are related I think because if you cut time abortion access for what comes next year gonna start shaming people he have crisis pregnancies and it's just going to snowball where do you draw the line before it ends up becoming something like those long trees in those homes I think in a way it's a reminder that we need to have conversations about these difficult divisive and she's you know we need to be grown ups about that and people have pregnancies people get pregnant for all manner of reasons and all sorts of things happen and so it comes down to eight what do you want from women what you want from bodies that can get pregnant absolutely and it's and it's not like we haven't already lived there and seen the many many detrimental consequences not policing women's bodies and what damage that can do so you know it is interesting particularly in America where it is I think somehow this is that people are constantly Mr Mannering and nation of immigrants right that was taken from an existing group of people founded on the idea that everyone experienced persecution of all different levels from anywhere in the world should be able to come and live with their rights to practice their life as they choose right that's literally the definition of are very new country and yet somehow there's this imposing colonialist Christian European ness on to everyone's bodies and and right and I think what we've observed is that it's only divisive right and it it's not constructive anyway to try and be policing people's bodies but yeah I could I'm sure at you could as well go on and on about this for quite a long time but fortunately and I think Joe Biden is a great example he somebody that is outspoken about being a man of faith right like identifies as being Catholic and also recognizes that his job is to lead a free democratic society said his personal beliefs on abortion for example our birth control whatever they may be don't actually matter at all because that's not his job his job was to govern for a diverse nation of people so looking forward to the separation of fundamentalist ideology from ability to govern I think we're really overdue for some of that yes I know I know it got his work cut out for him really does or guy extra ice cream for gel exciting times this tentative times but exciting times it's really amazing to see work like yours as part of such a huge network of telling these really important stories and I think you know you mentioned earlier I mean being somewhat of an outsider I happen to think that the outsider I mean because in a way if your night cider best affect and the door maybe that's the best kind of approach you know and I I see a lot of value in being able to see things from the art sites and to have that perspective because I know I encountered this a lot when I was doing research by northern Ireland's and you know I mean this from there I was in the playoffs but no where to places to Hanjour sometimes because people do you know where we are and %HESITATION what side of the track she might be from and that sort of stuff but I think whether you're naive or not you can ask the naive stranger and really pack a punch I think I see a lot of volume now I think it's hugely important that you've done this work yeah I think yeah I think to you know when I at some point it could have been sort of interrupted my dissertation I was interested in trying to find some sort of temporary home for the peace in the states because there is all this enthusiasm around Irish American nous but then sometimes a reluctance or ignorance to doing the work of educating so I'd love to be able to sort of share this there and get some eyes on in the states to sort of igniting awareness in some spaces where maybe it needs to be ignited but I think too yeah it's been this interesting last few years of being somewhat other right even just being you know immigrant that sounds silly for me calling myself that but like coming to live in another country even though I come with a lot of privilege and don't really experience a lot of the other things the same way that somebody else might there are certain things that I've experienced and observed and encountered that I'm like oh wow this is giving me such a unique perspective a tiny tiny glimpse into what it must be like for people that are coming from extremely different cultures into totally new cultures you know different languages getting to glimpse at that for Stanton has really been wonderful I think of a gift for me and also being able to look critically this is something hopefully I'll have the opportunity to do a little more research on and explore a little bit with some community generated performance practice in the future I have some work on building towards us down the pipeline but looking comparatively at the our staff spread in the U. K. and in the US particular comparing London and New York and taking a look at where those differences arise and where they come from how it informs the creative and performing live cultural work that's come out of those spaces you know like you say answer straddling all of those little zones I have been in and out which is a nice place to be excellent yeah that's science last name so I'm very conscious step I've taken up quite a lot of your time and you've been so generous about a talking Siri so many of your ideas and direction is there anything that we haven't talked to you to say that you'd really like to mention so that people know about it stay with your work I guess it's just that you know like I said a lot of what we've been doing virtually is workshops that I'll create and then leave but the group of artists to then generate whether it be a Filmer virtual gallery or something like that I was actually just chatting this morning collaborating with someone who runs a dance school was looking to adopt some of my workshops to be used for kids right so if there are any practitioners out there that are interested in creating some somewhat misspoke workshops to run with your theater communities I'm very happy to hear from people who are maybe wanting some support for some guidance or just about some ideas off of in terms of generating something like that and also we are running a little virtual project right now but hopefully we'll have a home as sort of a projection element to the future project later on but something called doorstep dances never to be sharing on our social media starting mid February and it's essentially just a bunch of movers who created really interesting movement work exclusively in their door frames and death we're doing it with a little virtual fundraiser for U. S. nonprofit called dancers responding to aids which is a really all nonprofit who I had the privilege of working with as a young dancer they do incredible work and right now they're raising funds to be able to provide meals for people in the performing arts who have been affected negatively by coding HIV related illnesses that need extra support due to the crisis so we're doing the stress of dance virtual project to raise some funds for them I will be putting that out on our Instagram and social media channels starting in February so if you want to have a little click over and watch some really interesting movement explorations we love for you to check that out too wonderful and he sent them in to goes that that's what's or what %HESITATION what kind should we be looking for for that J. yes that's just acting in the arts collective on Instagram that's fantastic thanks do you have any other socials or your website that you want to point people to words to keep up with those projects shops or Instagram is probably the closest to the polls because we're posting a lot of stuff on there and I website is while it's through my website so just J. Donovan dot org I mean you get to the home page you can click to either look at my stuff for then you can click the indigo arts collective side so you can head over there for more information as well and then on the website is where you can sort of see and hear some exact projects I've shared with you all about today their video clips and sound clips and some press and things like that that's wonderful really fantastic thank you because you've been through the ringer I think what we've had to re create the peppy topics and we've had a lot of joy that's coming through in a lot of your current projects as well so that's really adequate positive notes and done after you went to that dark there so so I really encourage everybody to the Cape flats shade on offense thank you so very much for your time today is really generous of you to talk through everything and send your work just signed so wonderful and important so thank you so much for joining me today thanks hi I really enjoyed it and I have so many wonderful questions about some of what you shared about your research as well so we'll have to connect later for me to hear more about that absolutely SO talk your ear off I thought

Audiovisual Cultures episode 77 – The Amabie Project with Johanna Leech automated transcript

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hello and welcome to audiovisual cultures with me paula blair i’m really super excited to be joined this time by artist johanna leech who is going to talk about the amabie project that she’s been working on and curating throughout the lock time period in 2020 and it’s hopefully going to culminate in an exhibition but it’s all online and you can see it on instagram so i’m going to let her explain more about it because she’ll explain that a lot more articulately than i can um huge huge thanks to our members over at forward slash av cultures for all your really valued supports if you are interested in joining and there are three tiers of membership at the moment there’s to pay what you can which is one pound one dollar one year or whatever um and that’s that’s going to get you access a bit early to the new episodes that come out you’ll get to hear it a day before everybody else and then there are a couple of other memberships there’s a behind-the-scenes membership and a star supporter which will get your producer credit on any future stuff so do take a look through those if you’re able to help out and for other ways to support uh and just help out the podcast do listen right to the end and i’ll give you some other ways that don’t involve a membership um but do make sure you subscribe you hit that button just so that you never miss a new episode and i’ll help us out as well so this one was a lot of fun to record uh joanna is a it’s a very very good friend of mine and i’m really proud of all of her work it’s a really visual episode as well so if you’re listening to the audio only i have put the link to the video in the show notes and do make sure you go and see that um because um uh joanna actually shows us through quite a lot of the work that all of the artists involved have been creating and shows us through the instagram so if you’re able to see that i’d really highly recommend it so enjoy very much and i will see you on the other side

so i am super excited to be joined by my longest serving friend and artist joanna leach hello joanna hello how are we finding you today not too bad thanks just in limbo like the rest of us i think so trying to continue on at least try and do something productive excellent yes we’re gonna talk a bit about your productivity and what you’re keeping busy with and if it’s okay can i just ask you to explain to everybody a bit about your background i mean um i mean we first bonded over our mutual love of dinosaurs and i think that’s something that’s held us very close together all of these many very long years yes definitely and it’s in my artwork you know fascinating sinclair uh dinosaurs from the world’s fair absolutely um so would you kindly just talk us through a little bit of your own arts practice and then we’re going to talk about the really big project that you’ve been working on more recently sure so i’m a visual artist based in belfast and i also work as a program manager for a local cinema and arts center so sometimes a lot of those influences working quite um across lots of different art practices and arts fields and work can bleed into my practice a little bit um so instead of kind of having a sketchbook or kind of doing lots of drawings like every day like most artists would or quite frequently my thing was to collect objects collect stories and um making notes and taking photographs so you know like if you look at my iphone now there’s like 20 000 photographs that i’m kind of constantly referring back to so that that’s my sketchbook so it kind of gives you an idea of what kind of way i sort things in my head i’m also dyslexic so it just means that a lot of the time maybe written format isn’t as easy for me and the visual stands out really clearly because of that so it just means then i can have this amalgamation kind of like my work is almost like a little museum of its own you know you could have a look at my exhibition and there could be stuff that could be historical that i find something interesting there could be local lore and legend um or there could be just an experience or a place that i’ve been to so the working kind of become things where it’s maybe like more social practice where i’m maybe using the objects in a way to perform to an audience where like the object is shown in a way where it tells a story or it itself is quite humorous and you kind of look at it and it gives you a chuckle you know like i always like the work to be familiar to the audience and very much um kind of open for everyone to interpret um so my recent exhibition would have had things like a neon sign that said guns and gold and kind of like a really um particular lovely um neon golden color and that was a replica of one that i’d seen in america and just that ideas of those two words together um is it’s quite interesting and then i had wall drawings including wonderful dinosaur um and then i had stories about the dinosaurs that i’ve done work with and collected from all around the world so i had kind of display tables which had objects as well as stories all displayed together so it’s kind of it takes you on a journey and that’s kind of always say to people like i’m explore um showing you my discoveries essentially and then there was other things like photographs from kind of um attractions or places from around america so that that work kind of stands alone quite well just as a photography as a photograph um but um and then i’ll do sometimes just really kind of scale back drawings so it just it just really depends brilliant yeah and this has a really close connection with the current project that you’re working on so you’re curating this group of work of all kinds it’s it’s cross media and it’s artists working in all different modes and from different backgrounds and all sorts of things so um can you tell us a bit about the amma bay project please yeah so amabe is a japanese yukai and ukai is kind of like a mythical kind of magical creature within japanese mythology and this particular character would come out whenever there was sign of a pandemic or else maybe something to do with um crops and um different times where you know people would have worries about things they could look towards the emma bay for um some comfort so you know she’s a mermaid character and she kind of comes out of the sea and is very kind of mystical and i was just kind of really interested in that with the internet kind of in the era that we’re in now this character made a resurgence kind of through the start of the lockdown and it just meant that there was a lot of people kind of posting pictures of her or a lot of japanese people like taking a bit of solace you know to actually do a little drawing over or stick a little picture up of her in a window and with everything that was elsa it was happening throughout the internet and in the uk we kind of had all the kind of things so like help the nhs and the rainbow kind of became this icon of camaraderie and hope for a lot of people and that came from kids in america he just did it one time and you know then people started to kind of replicate that and it kind of spread like a virus but uh a very positive one and amabe was kind of doing a bit of that it was um kind of trading on kind of um if you kind of had like hashtag a mabe challenge and when i saw that i kind of thought oh you know but what i’m really interested in is i had been to japan last year and um i have connections through flex art studios where i’m based with a really cool art space called arts ongoing which is in tokyo and i kind of met those guys and i kind of always kind of thought oh you know what like what would i do if i went over and did a japanese residency so at this time where you know there’s pandemic i can’t go to japan as much as i would love to and looking at those connections and just i think the event manager in my head of kind of going what can i do you know i can’t go into the studio and you know it’s a really hard time to feel inspired how can i reach out and make that connection between that kind of sense of this viral connection but also bringing it back to artists practices but then looking at the connection between japan and belfast and especially because of flax art studio so they’ve been running for a number of years in exchange and one of the main artists who’s a really good friend of mine um shiro masayama um he is the only northern ireland artist based in japan and i was like me and him were like sharing each other like pictures of a mabe and being like oh you know we should get everyone in flax to make an imabe and then we’re like but why should i be kind of making that quite narrow so we owned it out because we wanted to share it with three artists arts ongoing and various other things like shearer would have a lot of connections um just you know to see if artists in general who are based in japan and uh the isle of ireland um or someone you know who’s still kind of connected to ireland are still connected to japan um what would they do and to kind of make it initially like an instagram that could become an exhibition so it was just to see like what would happen so i think it was something that kind of came up between me and sharon were like hey wouldn’t this be fun to do that and they kind of grew from there

and so um with the irish connection is there was there another mythical form from from irish mythology that you were looking at as well or was it just the mlp

well originally um i was talking to um close friend um martin boyle um and martin was kind of my sounding board and very thankfully and just about the right up and like how i was going to do the call-out and what he was interested in and what i kind of thought was it’d be nice to give people that option if they don’t want to do a mabe so whenever we did the call-out we kind of had it that it was if you could create a mythical creature to protect you what would it be and surprisingly a lot of people just did do your marble and that that’s cool too i mean she’s so beautiful and of course i did one of her but um i did like that idea of looking at art mythology and it just meant then if there was japanese artists who were like you know mommy’s quite a normal thing for them they could choose to do something different or an irish artist who feels very strongly with that now we didn’t get as many kind of ones that are quite irish-based we did also get one that was a beaver which i thought was really cool because um that person was just kind of had their own reason of thinking why he could be a quite an iconic character so it is it is mainly a mob but i think whenever we’re displaying that in the gallery you know it can maybe have a couple of different zones it was originally inspired by the irish connections of saint brigid and it was like the first of february and it was kind of the start of spring and how people would kind of um make woven um crosses that you would hang up on your door and there’s these kind of ceremonies called biddy boys and it was basically like you made like an effigy like this female character who sometimes was dressed in your grandmother’s clothes and again it’s this idea of bringing forth a good harvest and and hoping for the best which a mabe does as well and and i was just like when you look at the documentation of you’re like what’s so bizarre and then it brings in connections with mummers and the idea of going door-to-door connecting with your community and making these kind of woven hats and things they’d have on so there’s one of the pieces is me wearing a mummer’s hat and you know i think that could maybe be a bit of a project on its own and i think mabi kind of took over because i think a lot of artists were making work from home and it was probably a bit easier to do that so i definitely think that that could grow in a different way but there’s only maybe a few that are kind of included within that okay great it’s really fascinating and stuff so um so shall we should we take a look at some specific examples of this and the the really wide range of approaches that all of the artists took because you’ve got animators you’ve got people working in sculpture in different ways you’ve got people here illustrators and comic creators and all sorts of people so um shall we have a quick look at some of the examples sure we definitely had a you know a wide range of people but i think i’ll maybe just start off with the original image that is mainly known about a map so this is one that would have been like kind of in the local um news and kind of documented before so i’ll just share my screen here so you can see

um so you can see this here um which is just a really beautiful image and you can see kind of the three legs coming from the sea a beautiful man of hair and um i just thought this is a really good starting point because it’s it’s also that flexibility that people can can change her into anything that she wants to be so i’ve got the instagram here which is kind of the format of showing it visually online so we have um submission from different artists to despite 25 artists including two young people that have been included and i like that because you know it’s the fact that you’re in lockdown and your children are there so i really kind of like that one of the artists is like oh you know can i include my child’s one or you know someone was actually collaborating with her niece which was really nice so um as you can see this is just a really quick thing and this is just you know like uh shiro playing around with a new app that he’s brought together but it just it just worked so well and it’s that kind of again embracing the kind of online kind of quality of that so just for the audio can we just describe what was happening there sorry um

okay so with shiro’s um video he’s using this app and um can i turn the music on or would that i think yeah you should let’s try

so um he’s just made a little drawing of an amabe which kind of pops up in this app and then it kind of comes and scuttles around the floor so it kind of like moves around on the table which is just really sweet and then um we had some more stuff that was a bit more obscure so this one here i really like because there’s kind of a description here this is by chris watt and he kind of just looks at this idea of um stories of contorted human forms or similar kind of rock faces and the natural forces and the ancient humans and bones and you know um that one there i just thought was just really nice and quite unique um some quite a skeletal image that we’re seeing and um so it says he came up with a concept for the painting after visiting melon head on the very north coast of ireland so um yeah so there’s just this skeletal form that’s it’s almost like it’s embedded in the rocks it’s against the rock faces in a bit of a kind of fetal position yeah there’s a triangle protrading from an eye that kind of an obscure kind of um things in the foreground and kind of makes it quite dream like um really kind of bright neon colors and along with this really kind of strong blue blue and white for the skeleton’s body itself which is really nice um i will just see i could go on and talk about every single one let’s just have we scroll so you can see just like some of them against each other so um this is another japanese artist um which is absolutely gorgeous um sitting on buildings on fire almost yeah so emily um she’s actually just studying um at the moment and she’s studying in london but she’s japanese and she had a couple of versions there’s a couple of versions of this one um this is a collaboration with grace mcmurray and her uh five-year-old niece oh the embroidery little embroidery which kind of has a mermaid she’s got wings um and just like a couple of sequences i like as well it’s like just you know like weak cuts of purple and and blue so paula thought you’d enjoy a bit of embroidery so just really simple one um clinton patrick and again his one is more that kind of unseen unknown character because when you talk about the japanese uk sometimes they’re literally an inanimate object sometimes they can look almost human and sometimes it can be quite bizarre so i like that his was much more free in the way that was represented here we have an artist who bid on ebay for um something that was supposed to be made from a mabby’s hair right it was a brush on the internet so his kind of piece is um and he ordered it here it is in his home and he had done a residency in flax recently so he was over in belfast so it was just really nice to kind of have people’s work so um that was that one in particular was cool like you said about graphic artists yeah i have some graphic artists in here so we’ve got vanilla doran and we have um grace farley and then i think there was and molly henry in particular this kind of one too hmm as you can see you know there’s a real mixture of things um tomohiro tomahiro to also been to flax on a residency t and it’s weird because now that i’ve been in japan i’ve seen these kind of you know this is just outside a shop somewhere but i just love as well that it’s got it’s got the mask on so this is kind of like an everyday image someone who could have stumbled across this kind of um amazing kind of sculpture and then it being put with like there’s a kind of scroll to my bed it almost looks spry painted but obviously done on photoshop or something beside it so it just supposed in the tools i think is is really interesting definitely love these little guys with their masks so it is a real mixture of things so sometimes people made things in their homes some of them have done ink drawings or used like found objects like davies here um using hair um this is the image that i had mentioned before myself the kind of bummer hat on um so there’s kind of two in the series and i had actually taken these quite a while ago back in the america or back in the folk park i think it’s the one in belfast yeah so um is that the ulster folk and john smart museum yeah no one’s else’s [ __ ] transport museum so you can go there and there are often weavers i’ll kind of show you that and then if you want to look up mummers there is um different mummers groups from around think the main ones are in antrim and they still perform wedding ceremonies and do different things when i worked for um belfast photo festival a few years ago as a director we actually had an exhibition um by jim mcginn he actually went around and documented mummers over the years and looked at folklore but also looked at the traditional music he was very interested in traditional music so he has a lot of work that’s to do with those so i think that probably had placed it in my head originally um just looking at that um and then one little miniature performance um

this is just done over zoom oh actually we do have sign for this one let’s let’s try it again

so this and another worker kind of a gif so um what you have here is um she need brennan casuals doing a live performance on zoom to me and she has put in the background um like there’s a big kind of um mummified fish in the ulster museum so it’s in the background and you’ve got the ulster museum itself so she’s put on kind of like a sequined top um a nice long wig and has like a duck bake so she’s kind of wiggling around kind of as if she’s looking at herself you know um which i think is really sweet it’s kind of like just reminds me of the internet it’s like a weird kind of tick tock but an artistic tick tock or something um just really simple um which is nice so um and then we have some ceramic pieces like chris’s um here and then the more irish one um jim rick’s was one of the first ones but this was the kind of ones i was hoping for this kind of amalgamation of irishness as well and so he’s kind of muggy mutant various um kind of characters um and jim ricks is a he’s an irish um oh forgotten the name

he lives in america but he’s an irish i wrote this down didn’t i yeah he’s an irish conceptual artist so um yeah so that’s kind of examples i haven’t got all of the work up and the last one i’ll show you is my piece apart from so i have the irish piece which is the two photographs together and then this one is a drawing that i made and it was just that kind of like cathartic drawing and because i i like tracing things and drawing them over and over again and getting them really simplified but then whenever it’s locked down and you have to like stick it to your window it’s like coming through you know trying to draw it i kind of like that lockdown process i had because then you’ll have people here who yeah maybe you can’t go out and and make things i was surprised we did get as many ceramic things as possible so some of the artists might have changed to video pieces and we also have fantastic one um by amy mcgee and she has and i’m going to use it as the opening piece for when you go into the exhibition and it’s a video piece and she’s made puppets and she tells you dma by story and it’s just absolutely stunning wow really nice so i’ll hope by the date where we do hopefully show it i will have all of them online at the moment that’s just most of them and we also have um this have a video of how to make your own amabe by a japanese artist azuri um and that it’s about 15 minutes long so we have to just kind of uh link over to that and so he makes a little paper and a where the little bake is kind of in the paper and you can make her talk say whatever you like okay so you can see like it’s already such a wide range of work and there’s still more to come yes so you mentioned um a hopeful exhibition as do you have any more detail on that at the moment or um what do you know what can you tell us sure so um pollen studios uh based in belfast um had offered to do the exhibition with us so and um quite a few of the pollen artists all submitted as well so um they’ve been really tight knit with us on the project and with current lockdown methods there are some galleries are currently open at the moment but maybe some of the larger um organizations like the mac and the golden thread gallery and for pollen then um people will probably do it by appointment we’ll have an opening hopefully november 5th which is usually like a late night art where people come out um and we have we’ll have all the safety measures in place and you can basically book like an appointment to come along so i’ll probably put you know some weekend dates in and an evening each week that people can come along throughout november fingers crossed and um if it does get put back because naturally that’s what’s happening at the moment you know it’s kind of part of the project yeah in a way because the project was made during lockdown and it means that if you have to book in for an appointment see it it’s almost becoming a performance you know you’re becoming part of the exhibition by able by being able to come along and of course then with people who especially aren’t able to uh for health and safety purposes and things come out i will have the instagram up and i’ll maybe kind of do a bit more of like um an exhibition online and kind of look at that just for kind of access to make sure and especially for the japanese artists as well that they can kind of see all the work together and for my previous shows i always kind of shoot a video where i can talk through things and just means then that people who can come can still feel connected to it and um do you think you’ll have a lot of the physical works there or will it be you know because there’s quite a lot of sculpture for example um so would it be photographs of those or will the actual workspace and do you think to show so i’ve contacted each of the artists and kind of just had a chat with them and as well like i’m kind of self-funding this and i don’t have any funding for it but obviously i’ve been supported by the arts council for years so i don’t mind you know contributing some especially my own time but also some resources so i have a small budget for kind of contempo temporary prints um for some things and then a lot of the local artists i’m able to kind of go and collect the work but i just kind of ask the artist you know what way they want it shown because some of the video works obviously will go on screens and which particular one the beaver that i mentioned um which is lovely um it’s a gif and i think it would look really nice on on a tablet or on a phone so it’s kind of displayed in the way it was meant to be viewed but yes especially as japanese artists obviously i give them the opportunity if they want to post it they can post it over and i’ll return it but you know we don’t have unfortunately enough budget to kind of get that over um but we’ll be able to reprint some of those so especially like a zoo um which isn’t a zoo and the work that had the um amabe hair object don’t want to lose that on getting it posted over so um i think a print of the two beside each other so like the internet um image of it being sold and then the image of it in the house i think together would look really nice so um actually we will have quite a lot of the artists um are up for having the drawings or the ceramics physically there and then the rest of the stuff then we’ll kind of print um maybe in like a temporary manner or i thought about have mine displayed on the window because i’ve i do often have window drawings so i think it would work really well as a window drawing as well so you know the work will change a bit in the space too

and then i suppose you it must be a factor now you have to figure out how many people you can have in a space and how far apart your things you know that sort of stuff has to maybe be considered now as well in poland’s not a huge space so that’s quite complicated yeah i think it’s kind of um well then again in the millennium court art center that i went to recently it was like one bubble per half an hour so and then it would be frequent cleaning and things like that but because i’m coming from a venue i’m already used to doing that currently for my job and work so i’m very aware of all the exciting terms and conditions and health and safety policies um all over that so i can make it as safe as possible okay well fingers crossed that can go ahead but as you say even if it’s delayed it just adds more time and possibly more overlooking from the email base to help us out hopefully i know come on guys

um that’s brilliant joanna thank you so much for that um do you is um

before i ask anything else um shall we because we had those links of scream but just for the audio and do you want to point people just towards where to see these sure at the moment no worries so to find out more about the exhibition so it’s and that’s spelt

j-o-h-a-n-n-a-l-e-e-c-h and then um you can do forward slice forward slash amabe so a m a b i e and on instagram it’s a mabe underscore project and that shows you all of the stuff that we’ve came in so between the two of those we’ll kind of have all the details we hope that we’ll create a facebook invitation page soon enough so otherwise um if you follow pollen art studios on facebook and they will then have that online i also have a facebook artist like page so if you just search for my name that i spelt earlier on um you’d be able to just kind of like my page and then those updates for things like the events and stuff will come up as well um i suppose just on this i mean how do you feel about exhibitions going online more and more because i’m personally loving it because it means i can see stuff in belfast and i’m stuck here in newcastle so um but how are you personally finding that and feeling about that as an artist i think it’s good and my previous um solo exhibition that i mentioned before um it was in millennium court arts center and it’s only you know about 40 minutes from belfast i think 40 minutes to half an hour away from belfast city center but there’s so many people who can’t drive um you’re artists mainly um i you know i didn’t learn how to drive until i was 30. so there’s just kind of there’s a lot of people here although it’s not that far away and on our transport system isn’t great that actually i realized even when i was doing an exhibition that was just outside of belfast um i did a recorded walk around of my exhibition which was called wanderlust and fantastic oddities so if anyone wants to look up you know what the work that i kind of described that showed a lot of my work was kind of like a little survey of everything i’ve done so far they can look it up online and there is like i have like a ton of photographs really good documentation and then just a little walk around with me with video and then that’s great because i can share that to people and i have artists that i work with in the states and you know even then all the people who are in belfast that just couldn’t get so there are you know three other reasons can have access to it and i think you know i discovered that before lockdown how important that was and i think it continues to be very important because there’s also even times where i maybe go to an art exhibition opening and you’re too busy kind of chanting whoever’s with you having a glass of wine and it’s quite busy and then you’re kind of like oh you know i’ll go back and then i’ll sit with the work or i’ll look at it for longer and sometimes you just don’t get that opportunity so i think the more that arts and things can go online i think it’s great but it doesn’t take away from that actual experience because a few weeks ago i mean i’ve been self isolating um quite a lot and working from home and um i just decided that when the mac reopened i went to see the exhibition at the mac and again you booked into a certain slot and it’s a huge space so you know it’s it’s a bit safer than maybe going to a small kind of gallery space and i also went to the golden thread to see their show um on the same trip and it just is like there’s no way like that buzz and feeling of going to a gallery you know it’s not as if you know all virtual stuff is going to make it worse or people won’t go out to galleries if they can look at it online that you never nothing can change that idea of just the silence of the space the concentration on an artwork the experience of the artwork being out of your house just you know you can’t you can’t it was just such an amazing experience it almost felt like i was going to a church and it was my religious experience like that’s that’s what it felt like for me was getting back into gallery and just gave my heart that little extra beat that i needed that’s you know like i think seeing art um in person will never be diminished essentially what i think yeah now that’s good to hear or is that very romantic romanticized yeah no it’s no it sounds good i totally understand you mean i imagine i’ll feel the same when i feel able to go to a gallery again um but for now it’s just not really for me and um but yes i i know the space as well that you’re talking about so i can just imagine it and it would be a bit i can imagine it would be a bit safer because they are really big rooms that you’re in um but also it must be nice to have peace in them because they’re only letting so many people in at the one time so that must be quite a nice element of it as well you feel like you have maybe a more intimate experience possibly yeah and i hope that’s what maybe the mabae project would be like because then if there’s people like you both of us are saying you know we don’t want to be you know gallivanting around with um everything that’s happening in the world right now whereas if i knew that it was just myself and my bubble going to a place for a specific time we know people have claimed it and you go in see the art and go away and like you said and have that piece to experience and for as long as you want um i think it’s really nice and um if it’s okay and you did mentioned about working at the strand art cinema as well so you’re used to that is it okay if i just ask you quickly about how that’s going and sure you know the cinema experience because that’s quite similar it’s another sacred art space that we need to protect and um how is that experience are you finding of working at a cinema but also people coming to that cinema again

like i think from i kind of had to make it kind of you know oh welcome back to the strand covert video um just to put out on social media just so people knew the experience and i mean like as far as any kind of covered procedures and things like we have every every box ticked and more you know we’ve changed our screen in times where it is and people coming in and out of the building and there’s um like special cleaning that we have like a fogger machine that antibacterializes the seats and everything never mind then you know just having cleaning stations and cleaning more so we we have that all kind of ticked so i actually have been to a few screenings while two screenings since lockdown because i know the strand is as clean as it can be and also we’re a small cinema and we’re in a rural space we’re not the city center so we’re never super busy anyway and then with we’re not particularly busy but it just means that you can book exactly where you’re sitting you’re socially distanced and so i was able to i went and saw tannen and um the other event i went to was a global film screening um which we’re doing at the moment and it was with green book and then we kind of had a discussion on kind of black lives matters and um different things like that so if yeah just give me that buzz because you know we’re kind of you know a vintage cinema um designed in 1935 so that kind of encompassing kind of red curtain feel and you’re sitting in half back seats and the experience is just so lovely and just being immersed in the film because i just thought no matter how many times i’ve watched inception um boogers for nolan i’ve forgotten half the time what happens in it and it’s because i just kept on watching it at home a few times or maybe had a glass of wine can’t remember the ending very well so it meant that with tenant i had that full attention span i went in no one not it it’s christopher nolan and you know there’s gonna be questionable things about it too but it’s gonna be an amazing cinematic experience so i did feel like i kind of said there maybe it’s because of my previously religious background but that kind of i’m that ultimate buzz of being like in your synagogue you know it’s like you know the room itself and the space and and just being spread out and and the feeling of being feeling safe because um people around you are further enough away and you just get to switch off and fully enjoy a film and i notice so many more things in green book than i did watching it at home because i missed it and the first kind of cinema release there was a few times with things i was like oh oh that’s not and i was like doing the talk afterwards like i was like i was noticing things more and i’m supposed to know more about the film so yeah i disagree if you’d like you know the experience of being innocent is never going to take away from watching those you know films on on netflix and whatever yes it is great that those um platforms are there so in the global film screenings i’ve made it that you can go on to the strands website and you can read like a resource about your green book so it has the recording of us doing the talk it also tells you that you can watch green book on amazon prime so i’ve kind of make packages afterwards and make it accessible to people who can’t go so they can still feel like they’re part of it so they can watch green book from the link and then um obviously they would need to you know pay for that or have amazon prime but then i would recommend and give links to the films that we mentioned in the talks because you always forget when you’re listening to something like that brilliant so i have resources of different films that are good to watch like moonlight um and then i have a connection with belfast which talks about frederick douglass who um you know would have been one of kind of the main people to kind of abolish slavery and he had been the belfast and that connection i had read an article about it in 2012 so i was able to like place that too so we’re in the strand we go beyond film sometimes and with special events then i can still bring in an online audience or i just give people that chance to go what was that film she was watching and then i can tell them about the original grain book and how it really was for americans um and you know recommended documentaries and stuff so um i think you should get get out there and support your local spaces if we can all stay open you know they’re closed in the south at the moment so um it’s good to support those spaces but uh not you’ll never get over that kind of cinema experience or um my partner was telling me oh we were talking about vr and he said you know you can get vr which makes you be in a cinema and then it projects your netflix film oh yeah but you have to wear a really heavy headset and you can’t it’s the smell of it too it’s other sensory things it’s the way the light is it’s the way the sound kind of almost hugs you because it’s um soundproofed and it’s all of those things you know it’s when the lights go down it’s like oh you know give a ticket you know he had all those things like um like i think uh there’s uh i was gonna say um mark cousins always talks about the romanticism the cinema but in the way he kind of describes it you know um like on how he he likes it i think he’d say like sitting in the front seat is it in a front row i like sitting in the front i like just ignoring if there’s other people i like feeling like i’m there by myself and it’s just for me with the big screen exactly well if people go to this round you might be um very small amount of people there and it will fill it likes your own screen if i could get your feedback probably exactly but the feedback you know from customers when i did that covered video and i got a couple of voxpos was one of them was like a guy who was a film student and um he was just desperately back he’s like i’ve been three times this week it’s like oh it’s so lovely and then you know it’s weird because the family audiences haven’t really came back so i think families have got so used to being in lockdown and getting to schedules i think you know i’m hoping there’ll be a time where those guys are able to come back and enjoy themselves and that bit of you know your parent as well okay you might be watching a kid’s film but you know your kids are going to be quiet hopefully beside you for an hour and a half enjoy it you know take the time for yourself to watch a movie and and enjoy it yeah it’s just worrying with so many outbreaks and skills at the moment so it’s very worrying to take children anywhere i think at the moment that’s one of the things but yeah we just have to find a way to help cinemas survive i think if we can yeah um and i think well the strand is spoiled because we’re supported because we are a charitable organization we’re supported by the arts council so loyalty burned

well just compared to maybe some of the other independents um who you know like my wage is funded by the arts council because i’m doing all this outreach and whenever it was locked down i was doing online videos and events and supporting artists and pain artists so we can kind of do that and we’re a bit luckier than some of the other spaces that might just be going on on solely the income they got in the door

right um is there anything else you would like to say put out there or anything before we go well no i think we’ve already talked about it so i had mentioned my website so if people want to see my work because they can save the exhibition at millennium court which kind of encompasses all of that and yeah keep an eye out for the amabe stuff you can get um most of a sneak break you get on the instagram at the moment there is most of the work there and so yeah so um just thanks so much paula for having me on the chat it’s been really good brilliant yeah no thank you for doing it it’s brilliant i’ve been following the project with interest and it’s such a lovely idea because it is just that idea of care and something looking after you but also a collection of people who are all spread out they’re all dispersed coming together to work on something like this it’s a really beautiful things it’s a lovely thing to be able to highlight and put out there really so thank you very much for showing us so much of the work it’s wonderful no problem

this has been a cosy pea pod production with me paula blair and my very special guest johanna leech the music is common grounds by airton license under a 3.0 non-commercial attribution and is available from episodes release every other wednesday and you can get those anywhere that you find podcasts but also you can subscribe to my own personal youtube channel if you find pea blare you can see the full recordings now that we’ve been doing the video versions as well do please share and subscribe to help other people find the show be part of the conversation with av cultures pod on instagram and iv cultures on twitter and facebook we’re always happy to hear from potential guests so if you’ve got an idea for a show or something that you’re working on that you’d really love the world my tiny bit of the world to hear about then please do get in touch i’d really love to hear from you and if i’ve invited you and i haven’t heard back from yet i’ve got an open door policy so there’s it’s never too late and um everybody’s really busy and stressed so don’t worry about it um i’m always also happy to have suggestions from listeners about topics that you something that you think you’d like to hear us try to cover i do try to make those and i do keep a list um there are loads of suggestions that have been in the past i haven’t got to yet just because i haven’t been able to access this stuff and that is partly where your support comes in so even if you want to send us a dvd or access to something that you’d like us to see that would be really helpful so i do wear all the hats in the making of this program and um so if you could support my work and you there are the memberships and patreon as described earlier on but you can also drop me a fiver at buy me a coffee dot com forward slash p e a blair or you can give any amount so like a pound or something if that’s all you want to give at paypal dot me forward slash p e a blair and just anything at all really really helps so huge thanks for joining us i hope you really enjoyed this i loved making this episode keep well stay safe and as ever be excellent to each other and i will catch you next time