THE EIGHTH SEAL
The MART Gallery, Dublin (2017)
Solstice Art Centre, Navan (2017)
The Eighth Seal is an ongoing collaboration with aerial performer/artist Emily Aoibheann. The work reimagines the origins of the Sheela na Gig, ancient stone carvings scattered throughout Ireland and parts of England. Positioned above threshold spaces such as doorways and window openings, the Sheela is widely believed to have provided a symbolic reference for the liminal phases of birthing and dying
Prompted by the Repeal the Eighth movement in Ireland this project considers how the radical potential of the Sheela na Gig might be recuperated for the present moment, proposing the symbol as a harbinger of emancipation and a symbol of resistance.
A fictional radio interview posits the existence of The Eighth Seal, a radical feminist movement who were conducting field research in the Boyne Valley in the 1980s. Esoteric and science fictional motifs permeate their logs, echoing the historical link between SF and movements for social change. The installation is surrounded by a ring of cushions, paying homage to the consciousness raising circles of the 1960s. The Eighth Seal conjures a site for gathering, invoking, conspiring and psychic renewal.
Seeing the silver cord before me, I grab it with both hands. A current rattles through my vertebrae. CONTACT. Instinctively I pull myself through the fog, this time making it as far as the clearing. The thing’s presence overwhelms me and for a moment I lose my grip. My eyes follow the cord to a deep crater; it throbs with a heavy pulse, creating fissures of light across the rock surface. Phosphorous ooze splutters through the cracks, crystallizing into patches of glowing lichen. A dense network of shoots emerges from the newly-formed crust, accelerating towards the centre. By now the cord has fused its fibres with my hair follicles and I can no longer tell if I am controlling my movements. It coils around my waist and thighs, hauling me upwards. PHASE ONE.
Photos courtesy of Luis Diaz.