Performances > Harness 2007- 2011


Access All Areas Screenings

Club Row Gallery London
4th & 5th March 2011

Hotel Ballymun, Dublin
as part of Ballymun Regeneration Project, Breaking Ground
6th April 2007

Performing Rights Vienna
Tanzquartier, Museum Quarter, Vienna
10th March 2007

Special Thanks to
Curators: Seamus Nolan (Hotel Ballymun), Live Art Development Agency London (Performing Rights & Access All Areas)

Harness is a narrative re-enactment of my experiences of growing up with a profoundly brain damaged brother. This boy who was beautiful and disturbed, was harnessed and helmeted in childhood to protect his face from falling in epileptic seizures.

Twenty years later I gave birth to a daughter with dislocated hips who was strapped into traction for her first half-year of life. My performance script speaks their embodiment and performs their modes of harness, translating constraint into tenderness, torture into rapture, helplessness into power.

In this work I want to show the vulnerability of wholeness, the purpose of love & union in extreme human experience and how the personal becomes political…

The duration of the piece is 20 minutes and I use a series of actions and gestures derived from my own life. I sit up on a 'potty' chair, a commode chair that is modified with an incandescent neon tube. I wash my eyes 'to clean what I have seen...', I strap myself into a harness, a replica of the one my daughter wore. A video piece plays for the duration, showing a climb I made in the summer of 2006 on the famous pilgrimage mountain Croagh Patrick the 'Reek' in Mayo. In this arduous assent I am accompanied by the same daughter (of the harness) and we both disappear into a white mist at the summit. A soft, haunting sound track is played behind my spoken delivery of the script, it is the very elongated, slowed down resonance of a glass shattering.