SIGNAL (55° 20' 08'' North)2012 - 2013
SIGNAL was a site-specific public art project devised and directed by North-55. Following on from ILLUMINATE (2011) SIGNAL continued North-55’s work to mark the history of Inistrahull Island. Inistrahull Island, meaning "island of the distant shore’ is the most northerly island of Ireland, located 10 kilometres north-east of Malin Head, County Donegal. SIGNAL set out to reflect on Inistrahull’s history of displacement while at the same time reflecting on contemporary experiences of migration.
SIGNAL focused on Glengad, which is a small harbour village adjacent to Inistrahull Island. Glengad and Inistrahull are closely linked as the islands fishermen often migrated to the village on a temporary basis during the winter months and when they finally left Inistrahull island in 1923 many relocated in the area. The SIGNAL project included onsite visual exploration of the island and direct engagement with the local fishing community, many of them descendants of residents of Inistrahull Island.
A programme of multimedia workshops engaged local residents in visual mapping, filmwork, site specific installation and photographic documentary processes. This included the use of Lookout Post (81) at Glengad Head as a human-scale camera obscura for site-specific projections. This is one of 83 lookout posts constructed by the Irish Government during World War II, at strategic points around the Irish coast to monitor activity at sea and in the air.
These workshops, delivered by North-55 and supported by the Inishowen Development Partnership, were designed to facilitate a direct reconnection with Inistrahull through the investigation of contemporary issues facing the local fishing community. SIGNAL was developed within the wider context of the EU Common Fisheries Policy review, which took place in 2012. Given the cross-border location of this work issues also emerged around territorial waters. The programme also explored the sound, communication and navigation world of fishermen and divers and their past and present link to surveillance.
SIGNAL culminated, with the official opening by Sean Beattie, Local Historian and Author of The Book of Inistrahull, in the Glengad Community Centre.This work included the collective development of a series of large scale photographic works which were located in sites selected by project participants, such as Glengad pier and the premier screening of the film “Signal:3’ which reflects Inistrahull Islands lighthouse’s signature beam of three white flashes every 15 seconds.
This event also included a series of temporary site-specific installations. When decendants of the island community visit Inistrahull they have a cultural tradition of writing text on slate, their family names, connection to the island etc. These slates were temporarily transferred from the island to Lookout Post (81) as part of an installation event. Related large-scale text based work was also collaboratively created by participants. This work was located at Malin Head in an area adjacent to the ("EIRE") sign that formerly served as an ariel border navigational marker for pilots in World War II. SIGNAL reflected North-55’s continued interest in exploring the potential of site specific locations as a mechanism for developing non-traditional audiences for public arts in context.
Fascinating project possibilities emerged in ILLUMINATE and SIGNAL these are currently being developed through FATHOM (2014-2015) supported by the Arts Council’s Artist in the Community Scheme managed by Create - the national develoment agency for collaborative arts. FATHOM will exploit surveillance and underwater imaging technologies making visible what remains below the sea through a collaboration with divers from Dive North.
COLLABORATORS: Glengad Community Resource Centre, Inishowen Development Partnership, Glengad (C R C Programme), North Inishowen School Completion Programme, Carndonagh C.S, JAC Productions, Wall2Wall Music, Dive North, Inishowen Boating Company