An international arts and video project Voicing the Bridge will take place on a bridge that crosses the border of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Artist Jan-Erik Andersson tells us what it is all about.
Where did you get the idea for this project?
“We have covered the subject of rivers and bridges in an earlier project based on Aurajoki in Turku, Finland with English poet Robert Powell. Rivers cross borders freely. This time the bridge became the main thing. With the help of Google Earth I found a place where Ireland’s border river Foyle is crossed by this incredible small 18th century bridge. Robert and I wanted to make a project on this bridge that is based on things that cross borders freely, like sounds, words and insects. We asked the Irish artist Eileen Hutton to join the project because she has worked a lot with birds and insects.”
How did you get the local community involved with the project?
“There is a small village called Clady that is located next to the bridge. Clady’s history from 1970s–80s [during The Troubles] has been gloomy. In the spring we made a research trip there and interviewed local people. We got the Derry-based high profile curator and arts professional Maeve Butler to lead our project.
The singer and choir instructor Ruth McPhillips also joined the project and a local performance group BBeyond will perform at the event. It feels great that we connected so well with the local community in such a short period of time. People in the community are happy to be part of this. They’ve allowed us to use their community hall and helped us a lot during the process. We’re also happy that Earagail Arts Festival included our event into their programme. This way we’ll get participants from elsewhere.”
What do you hope that would happen next with the project?
“The project can become anything, we can’t really predict what happens. I’ll make an art video at the end of the project which is a tribute to things that cross borders. The insects don’t care about borders but they are the ones sustaining life. The video will be posted on YouTube and can be connected to new performances and discussions.”
Voicing The Bridge, Clady, Ireland and Northern Ireland, http://www.eaf.ie/events/voicing-the-bridge/, 20.7.2019, 11am–5pm, free admission
Text: Kaisa Paavola Photo: Robert Seger