Video Triptych of 3 Chapters - Part 3 of 3
"I gave them...my English translation of "Ariosto", which I got at Dublin; which their teachers took very thankfully, and soon after shewed it to the earl, who call'd to see it openly, and would needs hear some part of it read. I turn'd (as it had been by chance) to the beginning of the 45th Canto, and some other passages of the book, which he seemed to like so well, that he solemnly swore his boys should read all the book over to him".
REPORT OF A JOURNEY INTO THE NORTH OF IRELAND, Written to Justice Carey, by Sir John Harington, 1599.
The final film in the CRYPTOGRAPH trilogy brings historical obsession into the awkward present, and illustrates the power of transcending history alongside the knowledge and understanding of it.
Feat. Ol' Man River Raw Remix by OISHI
Video Triptych of 3 Chapters - Part 2 of 3
"So, for each of them, this meeting by the river was a mysterious turn, a hiatus, a frozen frame in a violent action, a moment when those on either bank could see what was happening but not hear what was being said."
Something to Write Home About, Seamus Heaney.
September 1599. O'Neill and Essex meet at the River Glyde to discuss a terms for possible truce. O'Neill, on horseback, brings his horse deep into the river. Essex faces him on the opposite bank. Both are alone. There is no record of their conversation. Two years later, Essex was dead, an apparent traitor. Many years later O'Neill had fled Ulster and was in exile in Rome.
Video Triptych of 3 Chapters - Part 1 of 3
A paean to synecdochism, the immersion of the "I" into nature.
Text emerging through recomposition of a sentence written by the most synecdochal figures of the English Renaissance, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, in a letter to Elizabeth I :
"I will not fall like a star, but be consumed like a vapour by the same sun that drew me up to such a height."
Developed as part of Film London FLAMIN Fellowship 2021/22
How They Have Performed Their Buildings (Property creates The Other)
1607, Ulster. Hugh O'Neill - de facto ruler of the region & chief irritant to the English in the Nine Years War - flees to Rome.While not without his own faults as a ruler, his absence creates a seismic power gap which the English forces ruthlessly exploit.
Developing on ideas of 'enclosure' + 'improvement' - key in encouraging the shift from feudalism to systemic capitalism in England - the English view Ulster as a laboratory for experimentation with forms of social & property relations for the production of profit and embark on one of their first colonies, the Ulster Plantation.
Developments from the Ulster experiments drive the English global colonial project + the development of global capitalism.
In Ulster, the new colonial settlements are defensive structures built to support the 'escheatment' of land from those living in the region + to sever land from historic modes of use. 'Property' - in the English legal sense - is created + enforced : "Land had to be free from customs and rights which interfered with the most productive use. Land had to become Property."
Other types of use and possession were outlawed and suppressed. A distinction is created amongst people between the included + the excluded and a troubling psychological legacy is created, a distinction between one and 'an other'.
Utilising textual abstractions from records of colonial construction of the time and visual references to the architecture and landscape of inclusion and exclusion (inc. London, Ireland and the Swiss Alps, where the excluded O'Neill meandered on his way to Rome), How They Have Performed Their Buildings evokes the ghosts of, and sense of exclusionary psychological dread emerging from, these old forms of colonial expansion, enclosure, inclusion + exclusion.
A visual and poetic archeology of spatial thought, the film explores the legacy of historic enclosure on spatial epistemology and feeling, a legacy we grapple with today in new forms of exclusion and fear of 'the other', such as nationalism, neo-colonial + corporate expansion into differentiated space + personal spatial distinctions & alienation.
Filmed on location in Ireland, Switzerland & London.
Available to watch here
Video & Text Work inspired by the important role of darkness in early Irish Literary technique :
"The deliberate use of enigmatic speech, too, is very well attested. In early Irish literature, the poetic rhetoric is described as having the qualities duibhe ('blackness' in the sense of obscurity), dorchatu ('darkness' in the sense of being mysterious) and dlúithe ('compactness'). The darkness of the poets' language is particularly stressed, and one early text poses the question 'where is poetry?' and then gives the answer 'in darkness' (i ndorchaidhéta)."
From, The Sacred Isle: Belief & Religion in Pre-Christian Ireland, Dáithí Ó hÓgáin
Available to view here