Absent History iii-iv

Absent History iii; Expectancy

Fragments of iPhone film footage during pregnancy 2016

Notes  for film;

14 Jan 2016; “Martha and Tommy’s  ear buds were opening the week that David Bowie died. The first music they heard was one of his tracks I think Ziggy Stardust or Life on Mars.” 12 April 2016; “Hand shake I-III; Sun, sparkles too close to see them ; Wind, Tolling bell and moving curtain ; Wind, swimming suit and line.”

Scenes 1-4 ; Snow, Wind, Believing. Watching

1/Snow hitting my window pane at home; tapping, happy signs. My first sighting of snow that winter. 2/Wind, tolling bell and moving curtain. Energy of a constrained, contained shadow the wind, billowing the speed of the wind, resisting the beat of the bell tolling the hour away. I resisted the wind buffeting my billowing body. 3/Believing in the certainty of the boat crossing the entirety my frame; sun sparkles too close to see, or believe, until the film was shot and replayed. Needing to record the inevitable outcome to prove (or simply see?) the certainty; The boat will sail to the edge of the frame. 4/Watching my pregnant cast shadow the day before due delivery, anxious watch for kicks… watching for them as shadows felt more calming than in my moving skin. A necessary distance. An expected separation?

Absent History iv; Remember

Fragments of stories from before my time {post in progress}

‘The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. <….> But what particularly frightened him was the sight of the brand-new baby carriage standing there on the porch, with the smug, encroaching air of a coffin; even that was empty, as if, in the reverse course of events, his very bones had disintegrated.” p1 Speak Memory, Vladimir Nabokov

Stories my Dad had told me, all containing elements that intrigued, saddened or amazed us both.  These are the hardest to complete now, with only a framework of fragments, filed as remembered conversations. With no material recordings, checked detail or exact locations, how to process a list of intangible, received memories?

Stories; Greetings, Messengers, Delivery, Burial Jacket

1)His childhood ghost story, shared with three friends, of being greeted by a man along the road home, who they later heard had died earlier that day.  2) The dogs howling at my Granny’s home place in Donegal the night she died in Omagh, so persistently that John her brother knew a soul must be leaving. 3) The same close call of a delivery issue I had with my daughter, my Granny’s namesake, the night she was giving birth to my Dad. My Grandad cycled from Trencha to a doctor in Letterkenny, via the local doctor who didn’t help, we were to re trace the route. 4) His cousin Jimmy, sent from the same home place to a psychiatric hospital. Always close to Martha, Jimmy’s words as they left him in the ward; “Marta – I don’t want to die here”… “He had to be buried wearing my jacket” Dad told me with his voice cracking. Quiet significance rang in my listening ears. The jacket of an alive man buried, there in the ground, a subdued shock held a significance I couldn’t reach and a sorrow I wanted to exorcise somehow.

By tracking these pathways, orientating their line between presence and absence. Following dead ends to what end? Balancing visible against invisible, material against immaterial, an active pursuit of absent clues. With a reluctant reliance on memory and imagination, tall pillars of hope on bereaved foundations.

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