Our wine correspondent Jakob Ligvine Kreek found himself spinning out of control at the opening of ROTATOR a series of performances and events by Ruth Clinton & Niamh Moriarty that took place at Pallas Projects/Studios. During the month of March 2013.
On the cool dry evening of March 1st, during one of my merry jaunts in search of new adventures, I was traversing the district of the Coombe and Liberties in Dublin. In these dark and winding streets formerly the feudal lands of Lord Meath one can still see the remnants of the Brabazon family’s philanthropic activities. On the Long Lane the edifice of the Meath Hospital still lingers and the peculiar granite entrance portico to the Coombe lying in Hospital stands in defiance of passing time. The ruined Church of St. Luke’s built in 1709 and burnt down in 1986 also reminds us of those histories and alternative geographies that have become lost to us. I found myself on the corner of St luke’s Street and the Coombe looking toward the carcass of the derelict church when the air became filled with the pungent odour of burning wood. There was a strange underlying dampness that saturated the air like the stagnant vapours of a history trying to suffocate the present. Further along the street by the hoarding of a vacant lot my nostrils flared as the air became condensed by the sensation of being close to a large body of water. However, there was nothing to be seen from the street. A peculiar wavin drain pipe attached to the hoarding caught my eye and on further investigation it turned out to be a periscope. To my surprise it revealed a view of a large pond in the excavated crater in the vacant lot on the other side of the fence. Something was afoot!
I walked back to the gate of the old school house on the corner and stepped into the yard of what is now the home of Pallas Projects/Studios. A man was filling a brazier with sticks and logs that crackled loudly in protest as the yellow red flames engulfed them. From under the stairs that ran along the left wall of the school yard I heard a familiar voice. It was a video of the tour guide from the crypts of St Michan’s church where the mummified remains of past city dwellers have kindly exposed themselves for the macabre delight of tourists. Also in the yard was a rotating green light and a video revealing an exploration of under ground water ways that filled me with a spirit of curiosity and adventure. I had to investigate further. Low and behold, I was in luck. I had stumbled upon an opening. “Eureka!” I cried as I discovered a whole table of grog and munchies in the main exhibition room. This was the sort of potholing that I could get into.
The exhibition I had stumbled into was the work of Ruth Clinton and Niamh Moriarty. They were presenting a series of performances and events that took their inspiration from a lake formed in an abandoned excavation by the underground course of the river Poddle. The collaborating artists had not only created a fascinating exhibition but had also laid on a veritable feast of opening night delights in the form of blue cheese, grapes and bread. I had arrived early and this gave me a clear run on the bar. There were several drinks to choose from but I settled on a mixture of both beer and wine. The beer of choice was Schneider Weise, produced in Bavaria’s oldest wheat beer brewery and the white wine option was a rich and fruity Cuvee Saint Pierre Mommesin. This southern Rhone blend consists largely of the convivial grape Grenache Blanc. It was just the ticket for creating an uplifting contrast to the contemplation of the silent dark waters of the lake next door. The crowd quickly began to swell and eventually the space was filled by an enthusiastic and appreciative audience. The bar was well stocked and I returned to it on several occasions just to reassure myself the booze wasn’t running low. Every watery art work in the exhibition filled me with an unquenchable thirst. I was compelled to continually replenish my own liquid needs. A fascinating relationship was revealing itself between water, history, the city and alcohol (hic!).
The exhibition presented a journey of investigation and experiment that exposed the strange movements of the waters that lie dark and silent beneath the surface of our world. Waters that connect us to the planetary motions of the earth and its lone satellite the moon. It is an ongoing cycle and rotation that appears at first glance to be stationary but is in fact ceaselessly in motion connecting us through time and history to deep and ancient roots. As I took another tipple from my wine glass and a slug of the Weiss Beer, combining these liquids with the blood stream that flows in a steady rotation within, I was slowly submerging myself into the dark depths of my own inner lake. I was slowly slipping into the flow of night-town that brings us by “a commodious vicus of re-circulation.” I mused on the exhibition title “Rotator,” turning it over and around in my increasingly fuzzy mind as I cycled myself back to the drink table once more and again… and again… and again…
ROTATOR finishes on Sat April 6th at Pallas Projects in The Coombe, Dublin 8. It is open from 12AM to 5PM both today and tomorrow.