Are We There Yet?
 
A 16mm loop installation created for the Peace III Project (Leitrim/Fermanagh)
 
16mm    10 minutes    colour             music by Macdara Smith & the Bahh Band
   

When I arrived up in Manor to start the workshops, it was with great delight that I discovered the irrelevance of the border to the participating children; as one of their teachers put it Sure we don't use those words any more; I've a 20 year old who doesn't remember what the troubles were like; there's no border any more ... and sure enough, driving backwards and forwards between Leitrim and Fermanagh, there was no way of telling at which point the mysterious line had been passed; even my phone was undecided as to when exactly to welcome me to the UK.

It was on one such trip that the footage for the exhibition was shot - an afternoon in January, with one of the celebrated local mists hanging heavy on the hills and the road disappearing into itself around every bend. When the film came back from the lab there seemed to be something interesting about it - enough anyway to provoke me to blow it up to 16mm, with a view to making a loop for the exhibition. The optic printer broke down, repeatedly. It stuttered, it jumped, it stuck; I rewound, started again, reloaded ...

In the end I kept it all in - the jumps and the flares as well as the conventionally well-behaved footage; for me it represents the apparent paradox of the border and the struggle one faces when attempting to describe something that slippery - landscape? political imposition? colonial hangover? to be avoided in polite conversation? fact of fiction? comedy, tragedy or farce? to which the only answer I could find is another question: are we there yet?

The loop has three alternating soundtracks; I was interested in the parallax effect and the influence of sound on image, especially in the context of the Irish border, where the film was shot. The first was recorded live by Macdara Smith on trumpet; the second is silent; the third is a track from the Bahh Band's latest album, courtesy of Brian Fleming

 
MORE STILLS 32 PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE LEITRIM/FERMANAGH BORDER
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