Selected Stories Part Five: Four is to Three

Wed 18th 8pm
Screening / Live Score of
The Poorhouse Revisited

Thurs/Fri 19/20th 12-6pm
Looped Screening of
The Poorhouse Revisited
and selected works

Fri 20th 6.30pm
Screening: Poorhouse (1996)
Informal talk
The Poorhouse Revisited

Four is to Three (Selected Stories Programme Part Five)
What are the stories we choose to tell, and what do these choices tell us about ourselves?
Four is to Three is a series of screenings and talks based around works that utilise, challenge and subvert a shared cultural and historical memory that has increasingly become framed in the technical and narrative apparatus of the moving image.
The show takes as it’s main focus a major new work by Michael Higgins, The Poorhouse Revisited, and opens with a unique performance-based screening of the film. Four is to Three concludes on Friday, January 20th with a rare opportunity to see the original version of Poorhouse (1996) and an informal round-table discussion with Michael Higgins and the writer and playwright Michael Harding, on whose work the original film was based.
The Poorhouse Revisited (2011, 16mm, 63mins)
In the time of Ireland’s Great Famine, an elderly gravedigger revisits a traumatic event through the decaying visions of his fragmented dreams.
In 1996 the half-hour IFB/RTÉ period drama entitled Poorhouse was broadcast. Directed by Frank Stapleton and based on a short story by Michael Harding, the film is set during the time of Ireland’s Great Famine. The plot concerns the relationship between an elderly gravedigger and a young woman. Powerfully evoking a cultural memory of hardship and loss from 150 years previously, the film slipped into obscurity in a forward-looking era.
Years later the discarded film rushes were discovered outdoors on the Ringsend Peninsula, Dublin – literally unearthed – by film-maker Michael Higgins. The scattered reels of decayed 16mm material consisted of some 120 minutes of slated scenes, re-takes and camera tests.
Restored, re-worked and re-edited, the corrupted frames now resemble fragments of memories distorted through exposure to time and its natural elements. Through the layers of cracked emulsion images struggle to re-surface and find a place on screen, as memories for a new audience.
Given a new life by Higgins’s painstaking work and a disquieting score by Brian Conniffe and Suzanne Walsh, the gravedigger’s visions emerge from beneath a harsh new layer of archeological detritus, their pathos accentuated by their delicate state of fragmented survival.
As part of the Joinery’s Selected Stories series, The Poorhouse Revisited is presented here for the first time. In a unique event that elaborates on the randomness of the film’s rediscovery and physical decay, it will be screened to a live, improvised performance by Brian Conniffe, Diarmuid MacDiarmada and Suzanne Walsh.
For more information about the film, see
The show will also feature films by Rouzbeh Rashidi, Christopher O’Neill and Sylvia Schedelbauer. Each of these distinct artists works in the area of ‘found footage’ films, creating uniquely authored visions by reworking visual material from a diverse range of sources.
Through context and montage, these three film-makers weave darkly atmospheric, seemingly abstract visions – films that prompt the viewer to seek out and find new layers of meaning in the reworked archival frames.
We are particularly excited to present the work of Sylvia Schedelbauer. A leading light amongst those currently working with archival footage, her work has won numerous awards, including the German Film Critics Award: Best Experimental Film (2008) for False Friends, which screens as part of Four is to Three alongside way fare (2009).
‘False Friends and way fare rely on a hypnotic, subconsciously suggestive combination of images, ones that can evoke semi-tangible meanings upon close, repeat inspection (e.g., Freudian “dream-work”), but in the actual viewing are slippery and terse, drawing only traces of their denotative meaning from the mind before their disappearance.’ (Michael Sicinski, Cinema Scope)
Michael Higgins is a filmmaker and visual artist based in Dublin. He has completed 5 feature films and numerous short films. His work involves a range of both digital and analog technologies concerning people’s perception of time and reality.
Brian Conniffe is a cross-genre, experimental musician who has worked with a long list of collaborators including Nurse With Wound, notable for a style that fuses the darkest psychedelia with disquieting ambience. Suzanne Walsh is a visual artist and musician, whose practice involves musical collaborations with various artists as well as her own solo artistic work, which cross over between art and music worlds. Within music she is interested in playing with the concepts of both how music is written and performed as a vocalist, and exploring the boundaries between musical styles. Together their work states inspiration from a wide range of non-musical sources, including the film work of Derek Jarman, Maya Deren and Kenneth Anger.
Curated by Tadhg O’Sullivan.
Four is to Three is part of the Selected Stories Programme curated by the Joinery and supported by the Arts Council.
The Selected Stories Project is a five-part project curated by the Joinery from this September to January of next year. The project will be made up of five individual shows and will include talks and screenings, bringing together a range of artists, curators and writers whose work engages with, and challenges perceptions of ‘the real’. The project will culminate in a publication of essays, writings and interviews by invited writers Rebecca O’Dwyer and Sean O’Sullivan.