International artists coming to Belfast for Corners Xpedition
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland will welcome 15 international artists next week as they take part in the CORNERS Xpedition, a residency from 18-29 March, the first time this initiative has taken place in the region.
CORNERS is an international programme offered by the Arts Council which gives Northern Ireland artists the opportunity to explore lesser known regions of Europe, research, meet and collaborate with other international artists in search of stories and inspiration for high quality, innovative new work.
Artists from Northern Ireland currently participating in CORNERS include Poet Deirdre Cartmill, Poet and playwright Maria McManus and multi-disciplinary artists Tonya McMullan and Michael Hannah. The Northern Ireland Xpedition follows a successful Xpedition to San Sebastian in the Basque Country in October 2013, when this same group of artists initially came together to gather ideas for co-productions. Artists now will work together to continue to develop their co-productions whilst being inspired by the cultural life Northern Ireland has to offer as they spend time in Belfast, the awe-inspiring Enniskillen and UK City of Culture 2013 Derry/Londonderry.
Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development at the Arts Council said “The Arts Council is delighted to welcome these talented artists to Northern Ireland. The objective of this residency is to develop proposals for co-productions for European touring and presentation in 2014 onwards. The residency aims to take artists out of their usual contexts and out of the culturally-busy centre of Europe, to bring these unique experiences back with them through new interdisciplinary work created with new partners. The CORNERS programme develops the skills of our professional artists and also promotes the excellent work of our artists on an international stage.”
The output of CORNERS reflects the social and cultural life of a particular region and involves working with local communities. Recent successful CORNERS projects from Northern Ireland artists include work by Phil Hession entitled Atlas of Tremors and Built to Contain by artists Paula McFetrigde and Laurence McKeown.
Phil Hession used performance and video to explore how the oral traditions of song and storytelling have evolved and presented these traditions in a contemporary manner. Taking as its central motif the contemporary computers’ predecessor, the Jacquard weaving loom, the performance of Atlas of Tremors confronted live sung folk song with contemporary digital sound processing.
Another impressive CORNERS project entitled Built to Contain, was produced and performed by nine people with convictions from Northern Ireland, under the guidance of professional artists including
Paula McFetridge Director of acclaimed theatre company Kabosh, playwright Laurence McKeown and Natasa Zavolovšek, Executive Producer at Exodos in Slovenia. Through a series of meetings and workshops, stories were gathered to produce a unique 16 minute play exploring life in prison including daily routines, power systems, small acts of rebellion, communication with the world beyond the walls and imaginary escapism. Built to Contain, supported in Belfast by NIACRO, was finally performed and recorded in the unusual setting of Crumlin Road Gaol.