20 Jul. 2010

Street Circus for Sligo this Sunday- watch the video

We’re very very excited to have the Barren Carrousel Street Circus troupe coming to The Model on Sunday to launch our Summer workshop programme. So excited in fact that we had to share this video so you can get excited too….

They’ll be doing a free show for all the kids in Sligo, at The Model from 1-3pm this Sunday 25th July to launch our free summer programme of weekend workshops for kids. Come and take a ride into the decrepit world of these bumbling crusaders that have peddled far and wide from the mountain tops of Siberia to the Glens of Antrim. Ruby Barren has devoted her life to perfecting her art form and setting impossibly high standards that only she can achieve. Her daughter Tulip, a child prodigy, desperately attempts to live up to her mother’s expectations only to be upstaged by her two left feet.

So come on Sunday to marvel at the:Death-Defying Trapeze, Back Cracking Contortion, Jaw Dropping Acrobatics, Fearless Aerial Feats, Giant Ball Juggling and Live Musical Mayhem…may all your days be circus days!

This performance takes place outside the new entrance of The Model on Connaughton Rd and all are welcome.

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20 Jul. 2010

Summer launches this weekend

We’re launching our summer programme this weekend and hope you can join us on Saturday 24th from 6pm to say hello and find out more.

Duncan Campbell will be in attendance to see the irish premiere of his new work; Make It New John, and we’ll also be raising a glass to Jack B. Yeats who’s wonderful watercolours are on display for The Living Ginger. Then on Sunday we have a brilliant free trapeze show that will be a delighted for kids. It’s to launch the free summer workshop programme “Inside Out/Outside In”: http://themodel.ie/education/inside-out-outside

If you can’t make this weekend here’s what we have in store this summer, with great events for kids and adults alike.

Make It New John – 25 Jul. – 03 Oct.
The Model has co-commissioned Irish-born filmmaker Duncan Campbell’s new work Make It New John, which tells the story of the DeLorean car, its creator John DeLorean and the workers of the Belfast-based car plant who built it. read more>

Jack B. Yeats – The Living Ginger.
25 Jul. – 19 Sep.
Jack B. Yeats’ artistic output reveals a fascination with characters that lived on the margins of society – those who in his own words had “something of the living ginger of life in them.” Over a career spanning seven decades, Yeats repeatedly painted the tramps, travellers, circus performers, drunks, sailors and gypsies that populated his youth in Sligo

Free Children’s Workshops – 25 Jul. – 12 Sep. One for ArtTrap lovers, this exciting children’s programme, inspired by the Jack B Yeats exhibition The Living Ginger, starts on Sunday 25th July (1-3pm) with a magnificent free Trapeze performance from Circus troope Barren Carousels and then continues with art. music and dance workshops every weekend until September 12th, and it’s free!

In other news we’ve just announced a Bellx1 concert in November, a great new “youth programme”: http://themodel.ie/education/young-curators where you can select what goes on display in our Galleries, and we have Sligo Jazz Festival here all week with some brilliant concerts for you to check out.

If you want to check our listings on the go we’ve been included in a brilliant new listings site called Sligo.Me which is specially formatted to be easy-to-read on internet ready mobile phones. You can use it to check out listings, tide times, train times and cinema schedules, all thanks to a Sligo developer.

We hope to see you on Saturday for the opening or Sunday for the Circus, so enjoy the weekend!

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15 Jul. 2010

Changes to Yeats Summer Programme

We have today announced the postponement of our planned Jack B. Yeats exhibition, The Outsider, which was set to open later this month. The exhibition, guest curated by Brian O’Doherty, will instead take place in the spring of 2011.

We will be proceeding with our planned irish premiere of Duncan Campbell’s award-winning new film installation Make It New John, which tells the story of the DeLorean car; its creator John DeLorean, and the workers of the Belfast-based car plant who built it. Campbell’s compelling 2003 work Falls Burns Malone Fiddles will also be shown as part of the exhibition.

Running alongside this, however, will be a new show, drawn from Yeats work within The Niland Collection. Entitled The Living Ginger: The Characters of Jack B. Yeats , this exhibition will run from 25th July to 17th October. As part of this show, a symposium, entitled ‘Sectarianism and Identity in Ireland Today’, will take place on 11th September. Chaired by Francis McKee, it will explore socio-political themes that arise from Jack B. Yeats’ work.

The postponement of ‘The Outsider’ arises from some minor problems with The Model’s new environmental system and, to this end, a decision has been taken not to run the exhibition until the conditions for exhibiting the sensitive and valuable Yeats works are optimal.

The Director of The Model, Séamus Kealy, said that the centre very much regretted having to postpone ‘The Outsider’, but that it would be irresponsible to proceed with exhibiting such valuable works if there was any potential risk to their integrity. “In spite of our regrettable decision, The Model’s summer programme € comprising film, featured works from the Niland Collection, music and children’s projects € still makes our spectacular, newly developed space an attractive and compelling place to visit over the coming months,” he said.

Jack B. Yeats – The Living Ginger, and associated tours, workshops and symposium are part of the Yeatsian Legacy Project which is delivered by Sligo Arts Service, The Model & partners. The project is supported by the PEACE III Programme, managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Sligo County Council on behalf of Sligo Peace & Reconciliation Partnership Committee.

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9 Jul. 2010

Red Hand Soup

The Model has commissioned You’re Only Massive to create an audiodetour which launches next week. As we get ready to launch it we dug out an old blog they wrote for us in March as they were starting the project.

An audiodetour is a piece of site responsive live and audio art for two people. It is an mp3 audio walk which takes you on a separate but synchronised journey from Grattan Street to the Model, freshly painted. This piece layers choreography, soundscapes, songs and stories on top of the real Sligo and asks you to use everyday spaces with a playful sense of experimentation, exploration and adventure and to keep an ear out for the hidden histories of caregivers and bankers. Here’s a little about the project from Maebh Cheasty and David Murphy who have been visiting Sligo since the start of the year to research and plan the project.

Red Hand Soup

Let’s start walking. One leg upright like a pillar, the other leg like a pendulum swinging back and forth. And heel touching down. One step and then another. If you have a pair of legs it’s the most obvious thing in the world. You may know your way around here. You may know paths, shortcuts, maps, stories, meanders and commutes. Nonetheless keep your wits about you and always trust your own judgement.”

With these words we will begin walking the audiodetour, leading from O’ Connell Street in Sligo to The Model, newly painted. Along the way you will hear caregivers and National Treasures. You will also pass the Ulster Bank on Stephen Street, with its carvings of the Red Hand of Ulster in the keystones over the windows.

The legend of the red hand states that, during their first attacks on Ireland in the 8th century, the Vikings arrived from the harsh winters of Norway ready to “go berserk”. They leapt straight from the longboat filled with the excitement and anticipation of a thousand Christmas Eves. That said, they gave little respect to the Christian way of life, as monasteries were often the first places to be ransacked and plundered for gold and slaves.

This excitement lead to the premature beserking of one such Viking, Sigmund Vikernes. During an early raid, maddened by the eagerness to be the first ashore and commence slaughter, he chopped his own left hand off and flung it from the boat on to the beach. This commitment combined with madness didn’t go unremarked in Ireland, and today is commemorated on flags and buildings alike.

Pop beserker Bill Drummond was so impressed with this act of insane self-harm that, in 1992, just at the point when his group, the KLF’s raids on the top 10 had made them the most successful band of the era, he plotted to emulate it. The KLF were all set to headline the Brit awards, which was to be their coronation as the kings of pop. Drummond’s fraying mind had other ideas. He had planned to sanctify his groups domination of the pop world by chopping his left hand off and flinging it down on the red carpet. His sacrifice was only prevented when his wife confiscated his cleaver from him.

In 2003 Bill Drummond began making soup for people along a line he drew across a map of the British Isles. “You can lose yourself in making soup,” Drummond wrote in his book “45”. “The imagination can start to spiral into uncharted regions; reality can become bearable, even enjoyable. You can find yourself as well.”

Perhaps our Viking could have benefited from sitting down to a nice pot of warming, nourishing soup, which is why we would like to dedicate this recipe to him, as his severed hand plays an important part in our upcoming audiodetour. It is also dedicated to Bill Drummond for discovering for himself the hidden magic of what is basically a bucket of smashed up vegetables mixed with salty water. And we will dedicate it to you, because we hope that you will take our audiodetour and discover the pleasure of losing and enjoying yourself in spaces that are private and public, everyday and ordinary, mythical and imaginary.

You’re Only Massive’s Red Hand Soup:

One can of tomatoes,
One tube of tomato pureé
2-3 red peppers
1 pumpkin
1kg of carrots
1 onion (red)
1/4 bottle wine (red)
2 litres of stock

Peel the carrots, peel and deseed the pumpkin and boil them together in a pot.
Chop the onion and fry it in a pan with some butter until they turn deep red.
Chop up and deseed the peppers and add them to the onions, but only for a minute, if at all.
We like our soup smooth so we cheat by putting everything together with the tinned tomatoes in a blender after they are boiled, but mashing them together in a big pot is also good.
Next add the wine, stock and pureé to the pot and give it a good stir.
Let it simmer, never boil, for 15 minutes, then serve.
The first few bowls will be quite thick, but after that you can add more stock or wine to thin it out.
You should have enough soup to feed a whole band of marauders.

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7 Jul. 2010

Duncan Campbell - Influenced by...

Duncan Campbell, who’s newest work Make It New John has been co-commissioned by the Model and is exhibited here from July 25th – October 3rd, has given some great interviews over the last few years that you might like a read of.

First up is A Life in Film a series from Frieze Magazine that asks filmmakers and artists to list the films that have influenced their practice

Next up is an interview with Stuart Comer, curator of film at Tate Modern, London, who speaks with Campbell about Make It New John and his earlier body of work. Read it here

and we’ve posted a video interview from this year over on another blog post here

Let us know in the comments if you find any more good ones?

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7 Jul. 2010

Duncan Campbell video interview

Tramway (one of the co-comissioners of Make It New John) have put a two part video of an artists talk with Duncan Campbell up on youtube. Presented in collaboration between Tramway and Glasgow Film Festival 2010, Duncan is in conversation with screenwriter and filmmaker Eleanor Yule.

Discussing his latest exhibition Make It New John, about John DeLorean, Duncan Campbell gives us an illuminating insight into his artistic practice, influences and previous body of work. He talks about the inspiration for the film, his reasons for making it and the stylistic shifts in the film.

Part 1

Part 2

Read The Scotsman’s review of Make It New John

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1 Jul. 2010

Model artist in residence Paolo Tamburella opens in Dublin

Paolo Tamburella , who was our artist in residence in June, has opened a site specific work in Dublin Docklands called ‘Capital Forwarding Solutions’. His first solo project in Ireland, the work was developed while Paolo was in residence at The Model. Curated by Aoife Tunney the work is connected to the work Djahazi presented by the artist at the 53rd Venice Biennale 2009, as the national participation of the Union of Comoros.

In Dublin, Paolo W. Tamburella has created a site-specific installation for The Paper Store, a warehouse built in the 1900s in the Docklands to store paper for the Irish Press newspaper. The installation will feauture the video of the docker Ismael Combo performing in Venice: a contemporary Comorian Ulysses sailing in Dublin waters.

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29 Jun. 2010

SynthEastwood do Sligo

Check out this great short that Synth Eastwood posted following their little sligo excursion for LightBox. Such good house guests, we’ll be having them back for sure

More on their site
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24 Jun. 2010

Video from Opening on May Day

We’ve had a beautiful little film made of the opening of Dorm on Sat 1st May that we want to share with you. It was filmed by Myles and Stephen of Arbutus Yarns and they’ve managed to capture the spirit of the evening perfectly. If you were there on May Day see if you can find yourself on film somewhere- they seem to have captured lots of you.

In case you missed them first time we have some great images from the Dorm opening on flickr….you’re probably in them too.

Click for more pics

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16 Jun. 2010

Blogging the Humanities?

There seem to be no shortage of digital marketing conferences and symposiums, or tweet ups/blog meets, for all sorts of social reasons, so it was great to get an invitation to a focused symposium looking at how blogging can/can’t be integrated into academic life and learning.  Held in the rather lovely Provst Stables (beautifully renovated by O’Donnell Tuomey Architects" for the Trinity Irish Art Research Centre)   Blogging the Humanities aimed to examine the use of blogging in the arts and humanities spheres, and focused largely on how blogging fits within the acedemic world. It was really well organised by the people behind Pue’s Occurances and you can read a round up of who was there on their blog.

t was a small, but great gathering of people who either blog on academic, social history, literature or arts issues.  I was flying the flag for the (professional) arts and talking about our experiences with The Model blog, particularly during our closure years, and how it impacts on audience development.  For us The Model blog was begun ( over on wordpress initially) to create a “virtual front desk” while we were closed to the public so that we could continue to talk informally to our audience – albeit online.  We learned how to communicate in a less curatorial voice, and had an opportunity to talk about things that maybe inspired, or influenced the programme, but weren’t core components of it. We learned a lot, and felt like we gathered a community of people closer to us. At it’s busiest time the blog had 4,000 views a month, and increased the views of the main site along with it, which are modest figures by some blog standards, but a great great start for us.

It was really interesting to hear from other bloggers in the history and social history side of things, and I got a lot from Donal Ó Fallúin’s (of Come Here to Me! ) observations on reaching his audience. Run by a group of social history enthusiasts (and students) the blog charts goings on, and cultural history, in Dublin. They get a lot of their information from older people who are mostly not online themselves, or if they are they see the internet as an informational tool, not a recreational one.

All of the speakers were really interesting, and the schedule of the symposium left plenty of breathing room for discussion, which with a small group was just ideal. I was really interesting to consider the challenges to blogging that exist in the academic sphere; with its traditions of control it faces similar challenges as other old industries that face a need to embrace a more open, transparent, dynamic communication style than they are used to.  In the Digital Age we expect dialogue and interactive learning, not the broadcast style learning of old. Footnotes have been replaced with hyperlinks, and a brief, but well informed opinion, has often led the charge over in depth lengthy articles.  In academia, as in the arts, there is a resistence to changing the status quo, to a ceding of control to the crowd and a transparent approach to idea sharing.

With a great emphasis on (print) publishing in the academic world it was eye opening to learn that you can wait a year or more to have an optioned article printed physically- so what do you do in the interim?  As disussed by John Cunningham from  History Compass Exchanges , if your bread and butter as a young academic  is derived from your research ideas you might naturally shy away for sharing those ideas online. But should you, and should there be more emphasis on digital publishing as part of career building in that area? Greg from Some Blind Alleys found that many literary writers are happier to be published in a printed journal and read by 5 people than published online and read by 500. These are all similar challenges that face all industries based on intellectual and creative property (music, literature, film) of course.

There was a lot of discussion about sustainability and/or archiving which was interesting, and not something I would have even considered in any depth in many respects. I still see blogs as transitory, immediate things but of course if much of what is blogged about has a historical value, not least of all in building up archives like the Left Archive ,or on gathering a social history of a time- which all blogs are essentially contributing to. So how do you archive that information? Do you endlessly store it?  There’s an online project to “capture the internet (archiving it since 1996!) as part of the Wayback Machine seems a crazy thought. There was even some talk of printing out posts and storing them on paper which in an anathema to me, a reflection of my newly digitalised mind I think!

There’s a great round up from Ireland after Nama summarising the main issue raised, and watch the Pue’s Occurances page for more updates as a second symposium is planned for sometime in late 2010. Embracing the digital age is still only beginning in most arts orgs so it would be great to have more  arts folk brought into the conversation; especially those of national importance like The Abbey , or engaged bloggers like Performance Corporation , or online journals like Irish Theatre Magazine – any others?

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8 Jun. 2010

Tucan Daft Punk cover on YouTube

Today we’re mostly listening to music in the office- and this one is on heavy rotation. It’s a brilliant cover of Daft Punk’s Around The World/Harder Better Faster Longer by Tucan who play a big homecoming gig in our new space on Saturday 12th June, with special guests Slim Pickin’s
Gig info here>

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30 May. 2010

WochenKlausur for Dorm

WochenKlausur , an Artist Collective from Austria, working in the field of social intervention and activism since 1993 were invited to initiate a short practical research project as part of DORM. The intention of the project was to identify local needs and deficits in Sligo which could be remedied in the short to medium term in relation to Sligo urban planning.

The artists collaborated with local academics, students, community activists and professionals in this process. In just one week, small scale but nonetheless very concrete and implementable proposals were developed, ranging from a subtitled cinema, picnic spots at Doorly Park, skate board ramps, to making the town more accessible to cyclists.

WochenKlausur, which means weeks of enclosure work for very concentrated periods of time in cities and towns throughout Europe, often up to three months. Whilst in Sligo, the artists engaged in talks, interviews, weird bus experiences, walks and lots of phone calls. The final outcomes were reviewed at a public meeting on May 5th at The Model. Representatives from local government, coucillors, the mayor, the senior town architects, Sligo Parks, The Sligo Arts Service, and the local press were all invited to attend. The findings can be viewed at WochenKlausur´s booth at the Dorm Exhibition, showing until July 4th

The research team were:
Aleksandra Tomal, Vice President of the Sligo Immigrant Organisation
Bernadette Donohoe, Interior Designer, Sligo Institute of Technology
Cliona Brady, Interior Designer, Sligo Institute of Technology
Third Year Students, Interior Architecture, Sligo Institute of Technology
Andrew Judge, Hamilton Young Architects
Séana Clarke, Architect

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28 May. 2010

RSAG interview in The Ticket

Check out today’s Ticket in The Irish Times for a great interview with R.S.A.G who plays at The Model tomorrow. His new single is below

R.S.A.G. – The Roamer by statemagazine

The third album from Kilkenny one-man band R.S.A.G is as sharp as a blade. Jeremy Hickey tells JIM CARROLL about going back to Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley for inspiration

JEREMY HICKEY has the blues € but this is a good thing. Without a new-found interest in old-style blues and rock’n’roll, the one-man band from Kilkenny wouldn’t have ended up with a third album as swell as Be it Right or Wrong .

“Around the time I started playing live, I really got into the Chess label and people like Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley,” Hickey says. “This whole sound seemed to me to be the original dance music € stuff that people were freaking out to because it was music that had a bit of a hop to it. That shuffle groove was what I was aiming for € a new version of that sound.” Hickey’s aim was true. Be it Right or Wrong is as sharp as a blade, a record that takes a spin around the juke joints and blues clubs of the drummer’s imagination and comes back sweating.

But while those musical influences and tastes are very clearly informing Hickey’s nifty pop shakers, they’re not the only thing in the frame. “You’ve got that blues sound on the album, but you’ve also got stuff that takes in that dubby DJ Shadow groove that I started out with years ago and even some really jazzy stuff in there as well.”

Those expecting Hickey to repeat what he did the last time out may wonder what’s going on. A lot of people jumped around to the exuberant, full-bodied beats he threw down on 2008’s Organic Sampler album. Hickey, too, enjoyed the ride, but going back to that source for more wasn’t for him.

“You have to be progressing as a musician,” he says at one stage. “I don’t know what it is about me, but I think it’s very important to look ahead and always know where your next move will be. I’ve a few ideas already of where I’d like to go next, but that’s nothing new. I felt like that when I’d finished the first album, and again when I finished Organic Sampler . Music and albums have to be fresh.”

For Be it Right or Wrong , Hickey worked with Leo Pearson, a producer and remixer who has such heavyweights as U2, Christy Moore and David Holmes on his CV. Pearson and Hickey were first paired for TV show The Raw Sessions, and they clicked from the start.

“I had called out to his studio in Thomastown a week or two before I had to do the track for the TV thing to check it out. He’d actually done sound for me three times, but he’s very quiet and I didn’t know how good a producer he was until we did that track.

“After that we got talking about a few different things, and I took the demos to him and he got the vibe about what I was on about. The first track we worked on was the title track, and he got the idea I was after right away.”

The two of them seem to be well matched. “Like me, Leo is coming from the dance side, but he’s also into old-time blues and rock’n’roll, so we worked very well together. If he turned around and said something to me about a track, I’d probably be thinking the same thing.

“There was no conflict, there was no need for me to convince Leo what I wanted. I knew from the start that we were both very much into getting our own way,” he laughs, “so we cleared that before we started. It was a pleasure from beginning to end.”

A striking difference between Be it Right or Wrong and its predecessor is that there’s far more of Hickey’s vocals on the album. “Leo said to me at the start that he wanted to bring my vocals out more, which was just what I wanted to hear. I think my voice has improved from all the live gigs I’ve done since Organic Sampler came out. I’m more confident about what I can do, and I’m trying to keep the howling and yelping to just a few songs!”

The live show will continue to be a big selling point for R.S.A.G. Hickey talks about making it “bigger and bolder”, though it will remain a one-man show, aided and abetted by Paul Mahon’s visuals.

“I’m looking forward to jamming out the songs live. I want to approach it like a jazz musician who walks into a club and has played those tunes hundreds of times before but wants to make it different again that night. I think I wouldn’t have that spark if I had a full band, because I can do things differently every time out. Who’s to say that a band is right? In the current times, it’s hard enough to go out and make enough money for yourself without bringing a band along.”

Hickey knows there will be a lot more attention on him and the new album this time around thanks to the success of Organic Sampler , but he’s ready for it.

“The expectations keep you realistic about what you’re doing,” he says. “I know there’s a bit of attention around R.S.A.G. now € people know who I am. It’s never going to be the same as it was when I was starting out. But we’ve worked at this album and we’ve made sure there are no holes in it. We can stand tall over it and that’s all you can do. People are completely entitled to their opinion about it, but I’m very, very happy with it.

“It has more of a consistent sound on it, because I’m more experienced when it comes to recording. Some of the vocals on Organic Sampler were recorded at 2.30 in the morning, with my housemate pumping out tunes at full volume in the next room! That didn’t happen this time around. This time it was much more professional.”

Be It Right Or Wrong is released on June 11th. RSAG plays Sligo’s Model Arts Centre (May 29), Limerick’s Dolan’s (June 16), Cork’s Cyprus Avenue (17), Galway’s Róisín Dubh (18), Dublin’s Academy (24), Dundalk’s Spirit Store (26) and Kilkenny’s Set Theatre (July 24)
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14 May. 2010

R.S.A.G's new single The Roamer

We had to share this one with you- R.S.A.G’s new single The Roamer

R.S.A.G. – The Roamer by statemagazine

It’s a cracking tune, and bodes well for the rest of the new album, which is due out on June 11th and called Be it Right or Wrong

Anyone who was at R.S.A.G’s sold out gig with Thread Pulls last May will remember how awesome he is live. We held the gig as part of our New Spaces for Music series and it took place in the Model Satellite Gallery on Castle Street. I’m not sure how many of those present had actually seen Jeremy live before, but they all went home blown away by the experience. These sorts of thigns are regulalry said about gigs of course, but rarely are they so true. Jeremy’s playing style, and the set up with just drums and vocal, brings a tribal energy to what is deeply blues and rock based music- with a dash of punk thrown into the vocals. There’s an urgency to the performance that takes over, and the whole thing seems to pass in a flash.

I’ve been eagerly anticipating the new album, ever since I heard some early plays of it on a live session with Donal Dineen last November (scroll down that linked page and you’ll find a link to the mp3 to listen back). I’m excited that we’ll be able to present the first live airing of said album in Sligo, as our gig comes before its official launch, and really looking forward to seeing what he does with the new performance space. The acoustic in there should suit him perfectly.

The tickets for this gig are just €15 and I can guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth- and then some. RSAG is a remarkable talent, capable of winning over music lovers across all sorts of genres from jazz and rock to alternative and blues. See you down the front?

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14 May. 2010

Sinead Morrissey at The Model Wed 19 May

Sinead Morrissey

We’re working with Sligo Arts Service on a project called The Yeatsian Legacy, which will incorporate our upcoming Jack B. Yeats Exhibition: The Outsider. The Arts Service are looking at Jack’s brother, poet W.B. Yeats and as part of this series we are delighted to be hosting a reading by Poet Sinéad Morrissey on Wednesday 19th May at 8pm. This is a free event, as the project is supported by the PEACE III Programme, but advance booking is advisable- which you can do via tickets@modelart.ie or by calling 071-914 14 05

Here is the info from the Arts Service:

Irish poet, Sinéad Morrissey will be reading from her four volumes of poetry, There Was Fire in Vancouver (1996), Between Here and There (2002), The State of the Prisons (2005) and Through the Square Window (2009). Morrissey, concerned very much with form, takes WB Yeats’ dictum, ‘Irish poets, know your trade’ to heart. Her works are our contemporary examples of the well-crafted lyric. As a poet born and raised in Northern Ireland, Morrissey’s work addresses the issues of the North, particularly of identity and not belonging, and a sense of being outside of either community. She is also inspired by the natural landscape, and has written about Belfast Lough, her immediate surroundings.

Sinéad Morrissey has published four collections of poetry. Her awards include The Patrick Kavanagh Award, an Eric Gregory Award, the Michael Hartnett Poetry Prize and The Irish Times Poetry Now Award 2010. Her last three collections have all been shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. In 2007 she received a Lannann Literary Fellowship and was also the winner of the UK National Poetry Competition. She is currently Lecturer in Creative Writing at The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry, Queen’s University, Belfast.

Sinead Morrissey will read at The Model on Wednesday 19th May at 8pm. This is a free event.

The Yeatsian Legacy Project is delivered by Sligo Arts Service & partners. The project is supported by the PEACE III Programme, managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Sligo County Council on behalf of Sligo Peace & Reconciliation Partnership Committee.

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10 May. 2010

impossibly brilliant

We’re very excited at the prospect of having Julie Feeney at The Model next weekend. I’ve been wanting to work with Julie ever since she won the Choice Music prize for her debut album 13 songs in 2005. The timing was never quite right though, especially once we closed for redevelopment, so it’s wonderful to have her as part of our opening season.

This show will be Julie’s first performance in Sligo, and it comes just before her headline National Concert Hall show in Dublin so it should be pretty special. Julie is a true performer. I caught her recent turn as part of the 2010 Choice Awards (she was nominated again for pages – her current album) and she blew me away. She just performs from her toes to the tip of her (often hat-topped) head. A brilliant musician, a great singer and a terrific stage presence combine to make her incredibly compelling to watch. Helped by a wonderful array of costumes she really makes every song a complete experience.

I find myself returning to the album again and again which, despite the orchestration and strings is still very much a pop album Tracks like Impossibly Beautiful are so lush and hopeful, and others like One more Tune feel very contemporary. I’d encourage you to buy the album of course, but definitely to come and see her live, where she really comes alive.

The acoustic in our new performance space is great, and very well suited for this sort of performance, so it’s set to be a very special night. If you like anything from pop to classical, or all that lies between, this is the show for you. Guaranteed quality. Take a listen to two of the tracks below to get an idea of what’s in store

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24 Apr. 2010

The Very Model of a Modern Arts Centre

A piece about The Model by Declan Cashin from today’s Irish Independent in the Review

As opening night pitches go, ‘come and sleep with us’ is certainly one to grab the attention. That’s exactly the proposition that the Model arts centre in Sligo is giving to the public during its official re-opening bash next weekend (May 1).

Having being closed for two years as part of an extensive renovation and extension, the newly re-opened Model kicks off its programme next Saturday with the start of the Dorm exhibit, which aims to be a sort-of parody of a commercial arts fair.

Essentially, 22 artist collectives will take residence in separate booths in the gallery. At the same time, the public are invited to take part in a sleepover in the Model on opening night, with design students from the local IT providing cheap, easily disposable beds for hardy culture vultures. One bed prototype is made entirely of balloons and cardboard.

“We’re opening on May Day and we expect it to be mayhem,” laughs Aoife Flynn, Music and Events Programmer. “We chose to start with Dorm because our programme is very contemporary and sometimes hard-hitting, and we want to keep it at that level, but help people to interpret and access it too.

“It really is about educating people a bit, but I think, more than ever before, people want the arts to be interactive. It’s a
conversation. We’re not putting on something for people to look at and then just walk away. We want to start a debate.

“This is a way to do that, and also through the website where people can leave comments and get into a discussion.”

The Model’s re-launch provides a rare glimmer of light in an arts world that has been cast more and more into the shade by a State deep in the (empty) pockets of a recession. Be that as it may, the centre’s ambitious and quirky programme aims to bring the arts directly into the lives of not just those in the region, but to extend its reach on a national and international scale too.

It’s an ambitious agenda at a difficult time for the Irish arts.Funding to the Arts Council was cut by 6pc for this year (dropping
from €73.35m in 2009 to €69.15m for 2010). As a result, all arts organisations are feeling the squeeze. Be that as it may, the
operators of the Model seem undeterred.

Now comprising a purpose-built performance space, a cinema, a gallery circuit and a suite of nine residential artist studios, the Model’s building € which dates originally from the 1860s € has almost become an exhibit object in itself.

It may be a regional arts centre, but that hasn’t put a limit on its head honchos’ ambitions. “A very big part of how we approach our programme is to make it both nationally and internationally relevant,” says Aoife. “It’s good not to have everything happening in Dublin, and to have that diversity.

‘The artists, especially, respond so much better if you say to them, ‘We have this fantastic gallery in a rural context, with a beach down the road, and the mountains behind you in a really unspoiled area with a huge amount of history’. For instance, in 2006 we had Patti Smith come to do a week-long exhibition, and performance, that she’d also brought to London, New York and Tokyo.

“She came to Sligo because of her love of Jack Yeats (the subject of his own Model exhibit from July onwards). She actually said she probably wouldn’t have responded to the same invitation to a show in Dublin because there’s a certain sameness to that city circuit. So I think Sligo’s location can be an advantage.”

Seamus Kealy, director of the Model, was born in Sligo but spent most of his life in Canada, so perhaps understandably has a vision for the centre that goes beyond the local and the national. “We’ll be bringing in international guests and a residency programme for international artists, and we’re also engaged in a global scholarship scheme,” he says.

“We’re already part of international exhibition tours. For example, last year we had a tour from Germany that was very critical of how religion represents itself today in new forms of media. It proved to be very topical around the time the Blasphemy Bill was being drawn up. It’s possible to use an arts programme to provide a commentary on the socio-economic and political situation in the country right now.”

The Model’s renovation was made possible by funding from Sligo County Council and from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport, but, like every other arts organisation, cobbling together operational and programme funding is a constant struggle.

“We just fundraise like hell,” reveals Seamus. “It’s ongoing, and we also have self-generating forms of income, like the cinema, restaurant and the nine artists’ studios that we rent out.”

Aoife Flynn adds: “The programme funding has obviously had reductions, and that makes it difficult, but I find the very nature of working in the arts is to respond creatively to that challenge. If your ambition is high, you will find a way.

“We spend a lot of our time applying for funding. You really have to work with all sorts of organisations and sponsors, and it’s hard work, but very rewarding. We have a lot of funding that would come from local authority, the PEACE III programme (a cross-border initiative), and the International Fund for Ireland scheme.

“At the same time, for smaller amounts we can work with good cultural institutes like Alliance Francaise or Goethe Institut. We start with the ambition and then try match the funding to it.”

See www.themodel.ie. The public sleepover on May 1 requires advance registration.

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19 Apr. 2010

New Music and Volcanoes

Well, we have our first event under our belt at The Model and it was something of a baptism of fire, not least of all due to the Volcano in Iceland that erupted on Wednesday night and threatened to halt the festival all together.

The event was The Sligo New Music Festival, which is our annual festival of contemporary music, curated to great effect by composer Ian Wilson. While we were closed we held a music day offsite in 2008, but didn’t have a festival in 2009 so it was wonderful to be back. We had been planning the festival for 18months and Ian had chosen a wonderful programme of early Gavin Bryars work, some of which were Irish premieres, brand new work from Irish duo Morla and a new piece from northern Irish Composer Frank Lyons; created for the festival for The Smith Quartet and Simon Jermyn.

As it happens we were extremely luck to have the festival happen at all. Simon Jermyn and The Smiths were in London on Wednesday for rehearsals, with Simon having flown in directly from New York that morning. Sean Og was due to be there with them but had just had a little baby girl that day so he was back on Irish soil.

All of the others were due to fly to Knock on Thursday to start rehearsals in Sligo, but the volcano erupted on Wednesday night putting paid to those plans. A bit of frantic phoning first thing Thursday got the musicians rerouted to a train in the nick of time, and then on to a Ferry to Dublin. They had a whole day of travelling to undertake and we are indebted to them for their efforts in keeping the show on the road.

Having arrived into Dublin on Thursday night they were joined by Sean on Friday mornings train to Sligo and arrived safely for rehearsals on Friday, which were included in RTE’s 6 o’clock news as it was National Music Day.

Gavin Bryars was due to come to Sligo on Friday to hear his pieces and to participate in a public talk, but unfortunately by Friday we all knew how bad the travel situation was, and it was near impossible to get a spot on a ferry for him. Gavin gamely suggested a video link and, thanks to technology, Bernard Clarke was able to conduct a great live video interview with Gavin on Saturday afternoon.

Gavin Bryars on video link with Bernard Clarke in The Model

So the performances went ahead, and were wonderful. The building had a few teething problems, electronic doors conspired to lock me out for the first half of the opening concert in my efforts to keep them closed and quiet for the performance in the Atrium(!), and the heating on Saturday refused to be turned off giving a delay to the afternoon performance, but I hope it didn’t hamper people’s listening pleasure too much for Jesus Blood.

The new performance space sounds as good as we hoped, and the Sunday performance of Sacred Chants in the Atrium Space was just beautiful. Incidentally Sean plays the same programme for Bray Jazz festival next weekend I think.

The Smith Quartet had to take an overnight taxi at 3am on Saturday night/Sunday morning to Dublin Port to catch a Ferry and then a train back to London, and Simon Jermyn may not make it to New York as planned tomorrow, but they were all magnificent to deal with and so patient with all that was happening. Despite all of the chaos and an intense performance schedule they all played beautifully. The longer the volcano effect continues the more lucky we realise we were to have been able to keep the Festival on the road.

It was wonderful to welcome so many old friends back into The Model over the weekend and thanks to everyone who came to the performances. We can’t wait to see the rest of you on May 1st for the opening of Dorm, or anytime from there on in! It’s great to be back

16 Apr. 2010

Gavin Bryars unable to come to Sligo

It is with great regret that we announce that composer Gavin Bryars is unable to come to The Sligo New Music Festival this weekend as planned. Unfortunately the drift of volcanic ash from Iceland has caused the closure of UK airspace for the past two days, and looks set to continue to do so into Saturday.

Gavin was looking forward to hearing his works performed by The Smith Quartet(UK) and Morla (Irl) and was especially looking forward to visiting Sligo for the weekend. The performance of his ground-breaking work The Sinking of the Titanic takes place today, Friday 16th April; the day after the anniversary of the ship’s sinking in 1912, and several of his other works, including the magnificent Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, will be played over the weekend.

The planned public interview with Gavin Bryars will go ahead on Saturday at 3.30pm as planned, but with Bernard Clarke (Lyric FM) interviewing Gavin via a skype video conferencing system.

I was looking forward very much to my visit to Sligo and was honoured to have been asked to be a part of the first performances in the new performance space at The Model, and to meet other musicians for the first time. I know Ian Wilson’s work a little as we are on a couple of CDs together and we have many friends and colleagues in common.

As you may know I have been working more and more in Ireland and with Irish material over the last few years. Nevertheless this would have been my first visit to the west coast and I am really sorry and frustrated that massive natural forces have conspired against this – my wife and son were eagerly anticipating the visit too.

I’m sure that the performers will do a great job without me telling them what to do (!) and I know them well and trust them completely.

I will make every effort to find a way to work together with Sligo as soon as possible in the future and will look at this with some urgency.

I wish the festival every success and my best for the future of The Model.

Gavin Bryars

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