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Artists’ Film International (AFI)

Crawford Art Gallery announces its participation in Artists’ Film International (AFI). Established by the Whitechapel Gallery, London in 2008, AFI includes 22 global partners and brings together recent moving image works by artists nominated by each venue which are presented over the course of a year in each of the 22 institutions.

For 2020, the theme of the AFI programme is ‘Language’ and for its inaugural participation Crawford Art Gallery has invited Irish artist Ailbhe Ní Bhriain to present her film Inscriptions (One Here Now) (2018).

Ni Bhriain’s film creates a world of dreamlike disorientation, moving between the vertiginous depths of a quarry interior and a flooded factory site, inhabited by a lone monkey and various birds of prey. Embedded within the film are references to the ancient Irish language of Ogham, a script which took the form of linear strokes cut into vertical standing stones. Through a series of extended tracking shots, the camera attempts to ‘read’ the quarry walls. It traces the deep-time of geological sequences, the scars left by machinery on the rock surfaces, and the sprayed industrial notations that codify the commodification and disappearance of landscape. In these disparate forms of inscription Ní Bhriain finds a metaphor for the Anthropocene - the current geological era in which human behaviour is the dominant force shaping environment and climate. The animals in the film (all endangered species) survey their vanishing surroundings and look back at the viewer. They remind us perhaps of an alternative, ancient relationship with the natural world - a mode of perception and communication at risk of being lost forever.

Integral to the work is the layered soundtrack, described by composer Susan Stenger as a ‘sonic geology’ and developed from a study of the patterns of Morse code and the traditional tunes and phrases of Irish keening. Its method of composition mirrors the journey of the film, moving through a matrix of contradictory codes to access a deeper, wordless act of mourning.

The films in the AFI 2020 programme are selected by: Ballroom Marfa, Texas; Belgrade Cultural Centre; Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm; CCA – Centre for Contemporary Art, Vilnius; Centre for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan, Kabul; Crawford Art Gallery, Cork; Fundacion PRÓA, Buenos Aires; GAMeC, Bergamo; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Hanoi DOCLAB; Istanbul Modern; Friends of IZIKO South African National Gallery, Cape Town; KWM artcentre, Beijing; Mahera and Mohammad Abu Ghazaleh Foundation, Amman; Moscow Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.), Berlin; Para Site, Hong Kong; Project 88, Mumbai; Tromsø Kunstforening, Tromsø; Whitechapel Gallery, London and The Whitworth, University of Manchester.

Inscriptions (One Here Now) by Ailbhe Ní Bhriain was originally commissioned by Miranda Driscoll as part of One Here Now: The Brian O’Doherty / Patrick Ireland Project, supported by the Arts Council of Ireland. Ailbhe Ní Bhriain is represented by Domobaal Gallery, London.

Crawford Art Gallery is a National Cultural Institution, dedicated to contemporary and historical Irish and international visual art. Home to a collection of national importance, it offers a vibrant and dynamic programme of temporary exhibitions.

Please check website for screening schedule

Installation view of Ailbhe Ní Bhriain Inscriptions (One Here Now), at Sirius Arts Centre, Cork, 2019. Photo: Jed Niezgoda. Image courtesy the artist & domobaal gallery, London

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