Category Archives: Performance

Reading to the empty space; a story about home and belonging, 3rd iteration – proposition for a living archive

Cross Arts + Books: Future Feminist Archive exhibition, 2015




Reading to the empty space; 1st iteration: This work began with a reading to the empty space from Alexandria ­­– El Iskandariya, a story about the search for home and the nature of belonging. This was done with the knowledge that those who would hear this reading would be some distance away, in another city, another country, or another time. Fragments from the story were read at particular points in the space. This was done as a first gesture, a way ofbreaking the anonymity of the space. Each place was then marked with a white square which signalled the site for a work to be installed. (Articulate Project Space 2012)

2nd iteration was a video and accompanying documentation of the performance which was sent to Lodz where the video of the readings was played and heard by and audience for the first time. (Lodz, Poland 2013)

3rd iteration (2015) is an archive in which photographs of the performance are exhibited in Future Feminist Archives show but small interventions in the form of collages have been added to the photographs in order to give another order of information about the feeling or association that the space contained during the readings.

The proposition here is that an archive can contain not only reference material that was not included in the original work but also an added element. In this case collaged photos infer something that was not physically present in the performance but suggest instead the psychological and emotional feeling in the space at the time. The archive becomes then, not a static revisiting of the past but, an open invitation for renewal.

At regular intervals the photograph on the top shelf will be replaced with another from the pile below.


1. Alexandria

1. Alexandria






3. Photo with colage of sea



4. Sitting facing wall



5.walking out of the kitchen with woman above stairwell






7. with text



8. with text



Acknowledgements: Peter De Lorenzo, Sue Callanan, Articulate Project Space, Laine Hogarty, Private Bill White and my family, the Zacaropoulos family.




History of the work:


This work began with something I saw and shocked me, in Paris, in the autumn of 1989.

… a woman lies on a stone step in the shadows of an arched doorway. Everything that surrounds her is stone. She is wrapped in a blanket with an orange and a baguette at her feet. It is a scene in greys and browns except for the piece of fruit which is bright yellow. The woman does not move yet her body rests in a state more of repose than of death. The whole thing has the appearance of an altar.

It was an image that haunted me and produced several bodies of work. I came to understand that it was not only the individual woman who was at risk but also her feminine voice that was ‘unhoused’. At the same time I came across a Sumerian poem of 4,000BC which echoed the same feelings. My own family’s story is one of continual migration and in an age where large numbers of people are fleeing their countries of origin the question of home, on more than one level seems to be a fundamental question.



Me the woman he has filled with


Has filled me the queen of heaven with


Tell me where is the city in which I may live.

I, who am your daughter, the hierodule, who as

         your bridesmaid –


Tell me, where is my house.


The bird has its nesting place, but I – my young

         are dispersed

The fish lies in calm waters, but I – my resting

        place exists not.

The dog kneels at the threshold, but I, I have no


                         Inanna- Sumer,4000BC

Points of Departure

Points of departure

Points of departure

The installation begins with a reading to the empty space from El Iskandariya — Alexandria, a story about the search for home and the nature of belonging. This is done with the knowledge that those who will hear this reading will be some distance away, in another city, another country (the work was made in the knowledge that a video and other material would be sent to the Documentation Festival in Lodz). It then becomes a kind of displaced reading – so the emptiness of the space isn’t emptiness, it contains a voice that seeks to connect to the space around it and there is a listener, but the listener is distanced just as we are when we leave home or are dispersed, then the voices that we carry within us seem themselves far away. Fragments from the novel are read at particular points in the space. This is the first gesture, a way of breaking the anonymity of the place, which has its own character and feeling. And so a relationship begins.

installing sites

installing sites

Each place where a reading occurs is then marked with a white square, which in turn signals the site for a work to be installed. In this way the act of reading gives the writing physicality as well as providing a structure for installing the works which now have a specific location. This installation seeks to extend the concept of mapping from the two-dimensional wall to three-dimensional space – the space through which we walk and in which we exist